Sunday, July 29, 2007

All Hallowed Out

Oi, Potter fans! We've had a full week since the release the of the book. Plenty of time for those of you who plan on reading it right away to have done so. As promised, it's now time to discuss. (Don't worry, no spoilers ahead. But there are likely to be spoilers in the comments so tread carefully, you muggle lovers).

My favorite things about the book were:
  1. I sobbed my EYEBALLS out. I'm not talking about just a lot of tears. I'm talking about vocal, shuddering, heart-wrenching sobs. It was fantastic. I love having a good cry while reading a book.
  2. Even though I hadn't re-read the other books in preparation, I was still able to remember and keep track of most of the minor characters and magical objects that have appeared along the way. (v. clever to see most of them pop up again! At times, it felt like a curtain call. But in a good way.) J.K. did a nice job of reminding us what all of that stuff was without beating it over our heads.
  3. I did not finish the book feeling traumatized. I felt good.

If you'd like to discuss it or tell me your favorite parts, please leave a comment below. I'm looking forward to hearing what everyone thinks!


Nik said...

I'm not accustomed to shuddering sobs while reading so perhaps that, coupled with the sleep depravation led to my feelings of trauma. At one point, I seriously had to put it down and just cry about it, then pick it up later to finish it. I thought the book was a fitting end to a great series, but it was heart wrenchingly sad!
I apologize ahead of time for the length of this comment--none of my friends have read the book, so I'm left to wallow alone in my thoughts. Nasty spoilers ahead:
I think the Snape/Lilly Potter connection was the most unsettling. I couldn't get over the whole unrequited love thing, and the way he paid for his mistake for the rest of his miserable life, only to have it end in a violent, thankless death. I guess I just wanted some acknowledgement from Harry to Snape before it was too late. I guess it bothers me that it seems he died thinking the worst of Harry when they were both doing everything in their power to oust Voldemort. I loved that scene where he says "look at me" to Harry. Powerful. And the scene at the end where he tells his son "the bravest man I knew was in Slitherin." Maybe I need to cry about it for awhile.
Better now.
I knew Snape wasn't a bad guy, but I didn't realize the extent of his goodness. I wish there was a scene where, maybe years later, Harry has a conversation with Snape's picture in the Headmaster's Office...just a thought.
I really thought Rowling would bring Dumbledore back--I could tell she was trying to work that angle with the blue eye in the mirror, which would usually cause me to abandon my theory, but I just wanted it so badly that I held onto it until the end. What a great twist to find out he knew he would die even before he saw Harry at the start of the previous school year. It makes him seem even more noble for carrying on like normal. I love Dumbledore. In fact, I didn't like how Harry was willing to think the worst about him after hearing a few facts that didn't quite match up to the man he knew. He spent too much time feeling irritated by Dumbledore in the book.

The majority of the book was spent running and hiding. it was necessary for the story, but I couldn't help but miss some of the whimsical happiness of the wizarding world in the earlier books.
I also enjoyed the curtain call. It was fun to have so many flashbacks and see how many I could remember.
I could go on, but I'll spare you. :)
Good book.

Gretchen said...

Dude - I LOVED the Lily/Snape connection! I definitely didn't see that coming, and it explained so much. The "look at me" scene was awesome. Before everything got explained I couldn't figure out why Snape would want Harry to look at him ... but then I figured it out. He wanted Lily's eyes to be the last thing he saw. (the romantic in me ate that up!)

The Dumbledore thing didn't bother me. Harry always gets freaked out about stuff that he shouldn't worry about. It's sort of his thing.

I WAS a little annoyed that there wasn't any "rushing into Ginny's arms" at the end. I thought she deserved a special scene after all of the waiting around she did for Harry to be the hero. But I did really like the epilogue (although I couldn't keep Ron & Hermione's kids straight). I thought it tied things up quite nicely.

Overall - I was completely floored by the complexity of the entire series. I can't imagine that the whole story wasn't completely planned out from the beginning. And that is one motha-long story to create. I'm in the throws of writer envy!

Nik said...

Don't get me wrong: I loved the Snape/Lilly connection. Didn't see it coming AT ALL. I just found it unbearably sad that he was pining for her the rest of his life. When Snape told Harry to look at him, I thought at first he was telling Harry to see him as he really was--you know, he had just given him the memory, and it was almost like he was telling him to REALLY look at him. Later I realized it was the green eyes he wanted to see. Either way, they were sad last words.
I can't believe Rowling didn't have the series planned out--I hadn't heard that anywhere. Amazing.
I saw on your E 41st St Bookshelf you're a fan of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series. Are you eagerly anticipating the release of Eclipse?
What did you think of Austenland?
I have tried and tried to get that bookshelf to show up on my blog, but all I can get is the link. I'm somewhat technologically challenged. How did you do it?

Gretchen said...

I think the series was "heavily outlined" from the beginning ... but still. It's quite a feat.

YES! I am desperate for Eclipse to come out. I tried to get an advanced readers copy at that library conf I had to go to - but of course they didn't have any. But I'll be in line at Borders/B&N on August 7th. I can not wait!

I loved Austenland. It's probably my favorite book of the summer. It was one of those that you read. Put down for about 2 hours, and then just have to pick it back up and read again. I HIGHLY recommend it!

As for my E41 bookshelf - I'm not nearly as fancy as you might think. I just took a screenshot, and hyperlinked it. Now I have no more secrets. ;-) PS - where is your blog? I'd love to check it out.

Nik said...

I have no idea what screenshot and hyperlink mean. But I'm going to look into it and I'll be so much smarter after I'm done.
As far as my blog goes, it's so boring compared to yours. I'm intimidated to give you the link! I know, pitiful.

erin said...

what the heck were you crying about? i finished yesterday and not a tear was shed...and i'm even a crier. a book crier too. i think the book would have been better without the epilogue. none of this "happily ever after" crap. let ME imagine what i think will happen to them (and it woudn't have included a child named albus severus). i'm just glad it's all over.

Gretchen said...

e- are you serious? The part where Harry decides to die and his parents and Sirius show up? I was bawling my eyes out! I admit that I cry easily - but that was seriously sad!

nckuhn said...

I have to say that I mostly agree with Erin on this one. I don’t get the crying thing?!? Katie didn’t cry and I didn’t even think about it. I got all that crap about “look at me….” But I think that J.K. could have done more to explain some of Snapes past transgressions. Maybe I’m just picky about Snape. I’ve been on his side the whole time and no one ever agreed with me that he was good. Example: when he killed Dumbledore, Dumbledore never once said “don’t do it.” He pleaded with him, bit he (obvious now) could have just as easily been pleading with Snape to do it. I thought that it was because D knew that S’s cover was more important than his life would be. I guessed that it was predetermined and mutually agreed upon that S would have to kill him when the time came. Remember as well that when S was escaping from the castle just after doing the deed, he was in a sense trying to teach Harry a lesson, no trying to hurt him. He deflected spell after spell and kept telling Harry that he was never going to beat V because he hasn’t learned to close his mind. Occlumency? Or something like that. So, she explained it all, I just thought that it could have been a little better. I would have liked it if there was more of a conversation with H and S before S died.
Now, as for the epilogue, I liked it…. But, I thought that the “Albus Severus” thin was so far beyond ridiculous. I thought that it was too much that the kids all had secondhand names then she went and doubled that one up. Suddenly I was having intelligence ripped from my skull as I instantly became dumber for having read that small piece. Also, I’m going from memory (bad for me to do) but, it was nineteen years later and the son of Lupin and Tonks was on the train? Did he fail a few years? Don’t they graduate at 17? Maybe I’m remembering wrong and it was only 16 years later. Whatever. I really liked the books but I’m glad that it’s over too.

emily said...

huh, there is an epilogue???? i better go and fetch the book and see what happened "happily ever after." crazy. i'm a fool.

erin said...

i guess there's a reason that daniel and chuck are friends: chuck always believed snape was good. and nope, g, no crying. i guess i can kinda half-way sorta see that moment, but nothing. just a "go get 'em 'arry" sort of feeling.