Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Deathly Hallows

Well, I've just (finally!) finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I enjoyed it. I think I still prefer Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, though, as this latest one dragged a lot, seemed pointless in places, and had a plot that, frankly, felt stitched together at times. You were transported from scene to scene so quickly that the whole thing feels like it suffers from massive continuity errors (whether it actually does or not).

I'm agnostic about the series as a whole - in the camp who thinks of it as "enjoyable, but nothing really deserving of the massive fan base it has." So rather than muse on hidden meanings and such, for now let me just complain about the couple of things I didn't like:

Spoilers Begin Here!

One of the things I really liked about this final book was that it's written like a test of faith. Rowling deliberately paints Dumbledore in a bad light, and we're not told the truth about Snape until the very end. That is, I think, in keeping with the main theme of the book - which is the same as that of the Wind and the Sun: "Kindness effects more than severity." Harry's turning Kreacher around is this in microform - but it is also ultimately the reason he wins against Voldemort. Voldemort discounts love - and so isn't able to see where Snape's loyalty really lies.

The test of faith comes in whether we are willing to trust that Dumbledore was right or not. I guess very few people will have seen Snape's rehabilitation coming, though in retrospect it's obvious that this is the way things would have turned out. It's the only trick she really could've had up her sleeve.

I have always liked Snape - and I was immensely pleased that he turned out of have been betraying Voldermort and not Dumbledore. Had things not turned out this way, in fact, I would have simply rewritten the book in my head so that they had. Most of all, I feel vindicated for some of my earlier comments!

But I said I was going to complain - so enough of the encomium. One thing that undermines this whole thread, I think, is the fact that Snape's patronus is a silver doe - just like Lily Evans'. Such an outward sign of Snape's love for Harry's mom sort of ruins it for me - because it makes Dumbledore's task a little too easy. We the reader have to take a leap of faith about Dumbledore - and I get the impression that we're meant to be impressed with his perspicacity - but Dumbledore need make no such leap. He has literal, physical evidence that Snape is on his side. And, well, that lessens the whole thing for me. It's a bit like that stuff in the last book about the unbreakable oath. When you have a spell that guarantees someone will keep his word - you sort of have to wonder why there's any such thing as trust left at all in this world!

Spoilers End Here

But alright - getting that fairly minor complaint off my chest is all I wanted to write about it for tonight. I will have more to say on it later.


At 7:18 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I just finished "the book" this evening and I have to say.....I also like and have always liked Severus Snape. I was extremely relieved when he turned out to be good after all.
When the book ended I stood up and yelled, "Yaaay Harry", and that's what it's all about anyway, right? It's a kids book and though I couldn't have written the content of the Deathly Hallows, I sure could have predicted the was just how I wanted it to be, so thank you J.K Rowling, you are all right with me. No Complaints here execept that Snape had to spend all those months with a bad name.

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