Thoughts on the Book

What book, you say? If you have to ask, you clearly haven’t been paying attention. My thoughts — and hopefully lots of discussion — can be found on the other side of the jump, in case anyone hasn’t finished yet.

I started writing this in response to a comment about the epilogue on an earlier post, so everything is a bit out of order.

  • As for the epilogue, I could have done without it entirely. I didn’t have any need to know what their futures held; once they defeated Voldemort it seemed clear that, more or less, it was “happily ever after” from that point forward. That they all married their Hogwarts sweethearts and made lots of babies named after their beloved lost relatives/mentors seemed both obvious and a cop out.
  • When the Sorting Hat gave Neville the sword to destroy the final Horcrux, I did have a brief moment of thinking there was going to be a very daring twist — that he, and not Harry, was going to be the one who had to kill Voldemort. Such a big deal was made at the end of Order of the Phoenix that the prophesy could have been about either of them, since they shared the same birth date, so I’ve been harboring a secret hope that Voldemort had gotten it wrong and that Neville was his true nemesis.
  • It felt like a missed opportunity that Harry only learned of Snape’s loyalty — and love for Lily — after Snape’s death. It would have been so much more interesting to see Harry having to learn to deal with him with all of that extra information.
  • Until the action shifted back to Hogwarts at the end, I hadn’t realized how much I missed it. I knew that I was finding the Harry-Hermione-Ron dynamic a bit boring, and once we got back to the school I realized it was because I was so much more used to them interacting with all the supporting characters.
  • I loved that seemingly-mousy Mrs. Weasley killed Bellatrix, though I wouldn’t want to have to be the parent who has to explain the ins-and-outs of when it is the appropriate time to call someone a bitch after reading that passage.

Well, I should get back to work, so I’ll leave it there for now. I look forward to seeing everyone else’s thoughts…

14 thoughts on “Thoughts on the Book

  1. Joanne July 24, 2007 / 5:29 pm

    Yay, I’m commenting.

    I loved everything up to the epilogue. I have a thousand questions that weren’t answered:

    What happened to Luna?

    Did George go on with his business without Fred?

    What exactly did Harry, Hermione, and Ron DO for a living? After defeating the evilest wizard ever at the age of 17, everything else has to be a letdown. And if you expect me to accept that Hermione ISN’T the youngest headmaster at Hogwarts, you better tell me exactly what she IS doing. (and don’t get em started on the unlikeliness of Hermione and Ron’s marriage working long term…)

    Mr and Mrs. Weasley don’t come to the train station to see their grandkids off? Please. I felt gypped we didn’t see them.

    Lucius and Narcissa, burning in Azkaban? I’d like to know, dammit. Draco isn’t, so maybe they pulled off the same trick as last time.

    There were more, but I’m standing in the kitchen writing this on the fly.

    I’ll come back, I’m sure.

  2. Joanne July 24, 2007 / 5:31 pm

    Oh, and about Snape, when you go back and reread the final scene, its heartbreaking to realize that he wants Harry to look at him so he can see Lily’s eyes as he dies. I felt sorry for him.

  3. Sweetpea July 24, 2007 / 5:32 pm

    And that’s the other reason the epilogue didn’t work. There is no way to give a tiny snippet of the future that doesn’t raise more questions than it answers. Better to just leave it alone and let us assume everything is fine. It’s like she wanted to point the fanfic writers in the correct direction.

  4. Shannon July 24, 2007 / 6:33 pm

    My take on the epilogue is that she is giving Harry exactly what he has been wanting since book 2 or 3. Complete normalcy.

    While I did think it was a tad contrived, I think it was fitting since she chose not to kill him. Give him a perfectly boring life complete with wife, kids and white-picket fence.

    Personally, I think she wanted to cut the fanfic writers off at the knees. I suppose you could examine the unaccounted-for 19 years but it wouldn’t be that interesting.

    Yes, I did miss the Hogwarts interaction. That’s probably my only real complaint with the book. I would have liked to have seen at least a few pages devoted to him finishing is seventh year.

    Snape. Hmmmm…personally I think it’s best that he only found out after death. Too much had happened between him and Harry for them to explore what could have been their relationship. It was sad though and I did a “I KNEW IT!!!” after reading that. I didn’t think that Snape had really turn-coated Dumbledore.

    I have more thoughts I’m sure, but I am re-reading and picking up things I missed. I’ll be back with more at some point.

  5. Joanne July 24, 2007 / 6:47 pm

    I liked getting away from the Hogwarts pattern, although I think it totally fitting that the last battle was there.

    I would like to think that after defeating Voldemort, Harry et. al. were granted their diplomas by acclaim. 🙂

    I want to know if Harry played professional Quidditch!

  6. Rudi July 24, 2007 / 8:53 pm

    The epilogue reads like it is: a bit of text that was written around the time of Philosopher’s Stone, where Rowling’s command of the pen wasn’t quite as sharp. Sure, she edited it a bit (after all, the last word in the book isn’t “scar”), but it’s stil an older bit of text that doesn’t completely gel with the rest of Hallows. C’est la vie.

    I think that the Snape bit was played out perfectly. I’m glad that Harry only knew after looking in the pensieve.

    And I am left wondering this: who is in charge at Hogwarts by the time of the epilogue? Is McGonagall still the top banana? She’d be ancient in 19 years’ time.

  7. Sweetpea July 25, 2007 / 2:54 pm

    I wasn’t bothered by the fact that the epilogue reflected Rowling’s earlier writing style — in fact, I didn’t notice that at all. And I can absolutely see the importance of her setting down what she saw as the future for the characters at the very beginning for her own purposes. It probably served very well in keeping her focused, because that scene on Platform 9 3/4 was the ultimate goal. However, I think including it in the final version of the book made for a frustrating ending. I mean, just look at the comments here — everyone was left wondering about something different. (Personally, I wanted to know who raised Tonks & Lupin’s son Teddy. Given his own desire to live with his godfather, I thought it would be Harry, but that certainly didn’t seem to be the case.)

    Hm. Now that I think about it, maybe it’s actually ingenious, to create an ending that leaves each reader guessing in a different way. I’ll have to contemplate that, but for now I still could have done without it.

  8. Marlene July 25, 2007 / 3:29 pm

    I think that the best books always leave us wanting more. I have no problems with Rowling ending the book the way she did. Leave it up to the readers to use their own imaginations to fill in the blanks rather than fill the epilouge with a bunch of boring exposition to answer all the un-answered questions. I feel that she got it just right and if you’re left wanting more (story, info, or whatever) then she’s done her job very well indeed.

  9. Chris July 25, 2007 / 4:13 pm

    Who else thinks JK Rowling and David Chase probably shared a dinner together sometime last year?

  10. Joanne July 25, 2007 / 4:39 pm

    Well, seeing as Harry was only 17 when Teddy lost his parents, I somehow think Tonk’s mom raised him.

  11. Eileen July 26, 2007 / 9:35 am

    JK has given an interview in which she reveals additional details left out of the epilogue. You can find it here:
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19959323/

    Happy reading all you Potterfiles.

  12. Chris July 26, 2007 / 11:14 am

    In the name of Merlin’s shaggy lefty in his baggiest, most tattered Y-fronts, there is NO WAY Ron could be an Auror.

  13. Joanne July 26, 2007 / 4:59 pm

    So, Ron continues to ride on Harry’s coattails. I suppose that makes sense, he never had the initiative on his own. One of the things that bug me about his character.

    Hermione as a lawyer. Hmmm. I don’t buy it. She’s a teacher.

    Luna works for me. And I suppose its just as well that not everybody hooks up with somebody from school. I hope Neville found SOMEONE, although teachers at Hogwarts seem to be a celibate bunch.

  14. Shannon July 27, 2007 / 8:36 pm

    I just saw Order of the Phoenix today. Did anyone else get to see it yet?

    Thoughts?

    I was just sad that I didn’t see it first because I kept thinking in my head, “Ok, you’re dying and you’re dying, and you’re dying…I got REALLY sad at this one beautiful shot of Hedwig flying around the Hogwarts castle. Sniff. I loved that owl.

    They did a decent job with the movie considering how much detail is packed into the book. They obviously had to cut out A LOT, but got the important stuff across and preserved the way for Deathly Hallows.

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