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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - SPOILERS

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THREAD CONTAINS SPOILERS - DO NOT READ IF YOU DO NOT WISH TO KNOW DETAILS OF THE PLOT.

 

I don't think it's reasonable to conduct this discussion with the use of spoiler tags. The whole business of the book's final secrets is just too all-enveloping for that to work, so I suggest we make this an open discussion thread.

 

I have still to finish so I won't comment yet, but I've started this since cherylp has begun a thread in the adult sections which I'll ask her to re-post here, then we all know where we stand. (I can't just merge threads because hers will go first and I think the warning needs to be at the top!)

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Literally just finished it. A superb finale!

I will wait, before posting more, to give myself some digestion time.

I think this series of books shows a mastery of plotting. A truly satisfying conclusion. All of the fears I held magically disappeared leaving behind contentment and closure.

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I've finished too. I won't post any thoughts until later in case someone strays in and see me making some obvious comment near the top of this thread!

 

But I think I want to debate with Krey! Off to find Cheryl's post and see if I agree with her!

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Oops...have reposted my original comment below:

 

I bought the book at midnight last night and stayed up all night reading it...it did not disappoint!

 

'The Deathy Hallows' is, I think, the most skilfully written book in the series. The characters have reached the peak of their development - which is not to say they've also reached their shelf life; far from it. For the first time, I didn't feel distanced from the main child-characters by age or by their obvious precocity, and instead found myself wholly immersed in their traumas and decisions. I think in this book, more than any of the others, Rowling impresses upon the reader the difficulty of making the right choices, and of the inevitability of certain paths.

 

It's beautifully written...possibly a bit long-winded in places, but fans of the series will be used to the substantial depth from previous novels. 'The Deathy Hallows' is all about tying up loose ends and drawing things to a close. I have no doubt that the book will have its critics (the ending is maybe a little too pat, the plot is sometimes hurried along) but I thought it was brilliant - a magical end to a magical series.

 

Go read it!!!!

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I think Cheryl's post has moved this far enough down the page, so here goes.

 

A truly satisfying conclusion.

It was...but...?

the ending is maybe a little too pat

That was my complaint - that last section seemed a little too perfect! I didn't really see a need for it - except for Rowling trying to avoid someone else writing another book - but I can see it now - people are going to want to find out what else happened in those missing years.

 

Other than that though, I didn't think there was quite as much suspense in this one as there has been in previous books, there were no really "eeek" moments (compare to the inferi scene in HBP and the babies head in OotP).

 

I enjoyed it though, and am sure I will be calling on Stephen to keep me company on a long car journey with it in the not too distant future.

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The BBC has a review which may be of interest here, and they summarise some of the national newspapers reviews here.

 

Those who wait feverishly for the last pages to see who meets a grisly end will find themselves surprised at how often - and how soon - they receive bad news.

Was it that bad?!

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Yeah...the end felt almost like it had been pasted on. I think she could have ended it with the previous chapter.

 

I did like the fact that Rowling finally divulged Snape's mysterious motives...I think his redemptive path has been one of the most interesting in the series. Especially since he was the only character whose alliance was always in question.

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This is a thread without spoilers. So spill the beans! Don't be coy! What happened in the end? Did Harry die? Did he kill Voldemort?

 

I gave up after Book 3 but I would like to know, and for you kind people to save me the trouble of reading the remaining books.

 

Oh and how the hell did you manage to read it so quickly? Did you skim read or just not do anything else (eg eat)?

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What a beautiful book!

Snape's whole story arc from Book 1 was explained so well. I was crying buckets during that scene when Harry was looking at his memories. That faithful long held unrequited love. The sentences that did it for me in that scene were when Dumbledore hinted that Snape could have been in GRyffindor and when he said to DD "Always" after casting his doe Patronus. And then reading back on his death scene, I cried fresh tears when he told Harry to look at him.

 

I cried when Fred died. I cied when Percy was re-united with his family. I think anyone could tell from a mile off that Tonks and Lupin were going to die. The whole Weasley family story arc was a pleasure to read from Book One.

 

The whole books were about friendship, loyalty, sacrifice, taking the hard choices over the easy ones.

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Guest Colyngbourne

I thought it was slow and all over the place: dozens of pages where the Trio are hanging out in the countryside, putting up their tent, etc. What exactly did they do all day? - sit and wonder "could it be in Godric's Hollow?" for about ten hours, and decide 'no'.

 

Remus had a total personality transplant from Book 3 - his little outburst with Harry was good but totally OOC, even if he was worried about his Tonks+baby. I was relieved both he and Tonks died at the end and didn't cry a bit.

 

What made me cry? Petunia wanting to say more to Harry before they departed Privet Drive; Luna's picture of her friends on her bedroom ceiling; that rather manipulated 'moving moment' when Harry opens the Snitch and his dead loved ones accompany him to his death.

 

The Battles were too many and went on and on and felt messy (in an authorial way, not in a "this is a mess 'cos battles are messy" way).

 

What I hated: the lack of time given to Snape - his chapter was excellent. Would that the rest of the book had kept to that standard.

Molly Weasley: the mother-figure killing off the barren-type Bellatrix in such a Ripley-from-Aliens fashion - "That's my daughter, YOU BITCH!" (I laughed, I'm afraid.)

The Happy Families ending: all married with ickle-babykins all grown up, and all named after dead people. Great! No idea what any of them are doing as jobs - just baby factories. I value parenting greatly, and the point was obviously to show that Harry got the thing he always wanted - a family - but the epilogue is still dire. Scorpius?????

 

The complete and utter failure to reconcile Houses: what did the Sorting Hat's song mean? Oh, I'll forget that and see how JKR doesn't let a single Slytherin apart from Snape have any virtue at all: McGonagall shoves all of them out of Hogwarts so they can't even choose to fight against V if they wanted. Draco is still 'other' and his offspring not to be trusted/a rival in the epilogue. Even Dumbledore affirms the importance of Sorting into personality types - "Maybe we Sort too soon" - but how about "Maybe we should never sort at all" would be better. Because obviously in JKR's magical world, once you're a black hat, you stay black. That is a terrible failure in a children's book that has had as many pages and as much time to develop a more complex view of morality. She gave some of that complexity to Dumbledore by the end, and Snape was right to be revulsed. Snape had that complexity in spades but she never gave enough time to it in Deathly Hallows: we never even got to see Harry's remorse for all that hate and misunderstanding. He names his second son after him, yes, but that's inadequate in story-telling terms: Harry sees his death and says nothing, thinks nothing, reports nothing until that bit of a line near the end of the battle with Voldemort.

 

Luna - fabulous! A complex girl who had miles of story in her: rather her than personality-less Ginny.

 

Hermione: did all the hard work for Harry (as usual) with all those preparations. Glad she got with Ron (and how good was he too!) but I would have been happier with one of the Trio dying. It's all too cosy by the end, and it is principally the older generation who end up dying and suffering. Of the young ones, only Fred W dies (and Crabbe).

 

Voldemort was pretty stupid after all, like most evil overlords.

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I forgot about the paintings on Luna's bedroom ceiling...I welled up at that bit. (Seriously, give the girl her own story).

 

I managed to read it so quickly because I stayed up all night - which I'm glad I did, because the internet is absolutely cluttered with spoilers. I saw one yesterday, accidentally - I'd have been so mad had I not finished the book already.

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I finished at about 5pm and I thought I was quick! I really enjoyed it, it seemed much more mature than the last two or three and much darker. I think that on the whole the pace was well maintained throughout, the periods of enforced inactivity illustrating the frustration of the trio's lack of inspiration.

 

Rowling did a good job of tying up the loose-ends, especially with Snape as already mentioned and although the final chapter was a bit cheesy, so what, people like closure. Above all the Potter books are about good vs. evil so there has to be a certain amount of reward and comeuppance.

 

For Bill - no Harry didn't die, yes Voldemort did. Harry was prepared to die once he understood that part of Voldemort was within him (a result of their original encounter) but his willingness to sacrifice himself was his salvation, handily.

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Just finished this minute. I really liked the 19 years later section, though I agree it would have been less sickly-sweet to end it without that. I only welled up once - at the most obvious bit sadly, when Lily/James/Lupus/Tonks/Sirius all accompanied Harry to meet his death.

 

I loved Snape's redemption and too, wish a little more time had been given to that rather than endless days in a tent.

 

How about Rowling's claim that 2 people meet their end? By the time Hedwig and Dobby died, I thought that must be it. Then the body count just kept racking up. Poor Fred, Lupus and Tonks. And of course there had to be a new orphan (Teddy) since Harry got his own family.

 

Fantastic stuff though. I feel strangely deflated now.

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I managed to read it so quickly because I stayed up all night - which I'm glad I did, because the internet is absolutely cluttered with spoilers. I saw one yesterday, accidentally - I'd have been so mad had I not finished the book already.

 

Amazon already have reviews of it with spoilers. I hope those still reading keep away from the internet.

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As with Test Card Girl (welcome, btw!), I have a very understanding partner who brought me food and drinks all day while I read the book! In return, I have been trying to do the same today!

 

As His Lordship is working his way through, I suspect I'm being very annoying ("Where are you at now?" "What's just happened?" "So who's dead already?"), but it's been giving myself time to think about it. For example I'd forgotten about Moody's death at the start, and I'm sure there are going to be more moments of remembrance as he reads on!

 

24 hours on from finishing, I'm feeling more devastated than I thought I would! I've been pondering over the characters and their actions (helped by comments in the thread and in other reviews). I think there is much more that I will come to realise in the next few days. And there are going to be certain scenes that have packed more of a punch than I suspected!

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When I started on the book, it was like meeting some old friends and now I feel like I'm not going to see them again. I feel a bit glum. :(

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I clock my time-card off at 11.00pm. A 600 page novel for me in two days is pretty damned quick, actually - I'm a savourer by nature.

 

I'm going to come back and post in more detail tomorrow, but naturally wanted to see what you all thought.

 

My overall assessment is that it was good and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I think it's certainly a lot better than the entries since Azkhaban (which is still at the top of my pile - tighter, better structured, more satisfying).

 

Sadly I have to agree with a lot of Colyngbourne's objections, though perhaps not to the same degree and I think there are a lot of balancing points in its favour (watch this space!).

 

The one thing I will comment on now is emotionalism and death. Hazel notes Rowling's two major deaths claim, which is a little confusing, to be honest. She did note in another interview that this didn't mean only two people die, but I'm unsure who her two were. Snape and Voldemort? There are quite a few significant deaths, but in a sense if they are the two big deaths then there's something a little cheaty about that. We were expecting more heart-wrenching losses, I think, though obviously Snape's takes on a new twist and poignancy with everything we learn (though we'd rather suspected that all along, hadn't we...?).

 

The deaths we did have of old characters I felt little emotion for. Moody we hear of second hand and Dobby's barely had time to apparate before he's impaled by Bellatrix's dagger. It was so blink-and-you'll-miss-it that I didn't feel much of a welling there. I was reading so quickly through the aftermath of the great battle that I actually missed the fact that Lupin and Tonks' bodies were amongst the casualties!

 

Whilst I suppose it would have been a tempting target to slate J.K. for over-milking the welter of deaths, I could have done without the fully skimmed version too. Harry walking to his 'death' surrounded by the spirits of those who have died is the only part that really brought a lump to my throat and I didn't actually go watery for any of it. I can be quite a sucker for these things, too! So I don't think she got the narrative quite right there.

 

Anyway, I'll say a lot more in a bit, including all the things I liked!

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The ending was cheesy but necessary in my opinion. She started the series as children's books and appropriately finished with a happy ending. A good decision. If the book finished before the "nineteen years later" would you have really felt satisfied? Everything that is described in the end bit are all hinted at and suggested but the confirmation is important.

The only thing that wasn't covered for me was the absence of closure with George. What did he do after losing his brother? There was hardly enough time for reaction. Rowling seemed to concentrate on how Harry reacted to the death.

 

The Snape portion of the story grows with poignancy each time I think about it but I still feel a little cheated. Harry has spend almost seven books hating him and not trusting him only to find out that he was loved by him (in a strange way). There wasn't enough of a reaction to the revelation, if you don't count naming his cild after him.

 

I though t the comment about the sorting hat were interesting, but felt that issue was resolved well in the last few pages when Harry tells his son that he ultimately has a choice about who and what he wants to be regardless of how he might be labelled.

 

Overall, nearly two days later I'm still very happy. It's rare that I read a story with a neat ending. As much as that may annoy many. In this case it is justified.

 

How tempted do you think she was to leave a massive unanswered question? :D

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Oh, I almost forgot!

 

I thought the Gringotts Heist was inspired. I loved that bit! :)

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The ending was cheesy but necessary in my opinion. She started the series as children's books and appropriately finished with a happy ending. A good decision.

 

I agree - it had to come full cycle really, and we had to be back at the Hogwart's train with Harry, Herm, and Ron packing their kids off. Although it would have made more sense if it was the first of their kids.

 

The only thing that wasn't covered for me was the absence of closure with George. What did he do after losing his brother? There was hardly enough time for reaction.

 

I agree with that too. The previous novel spend a lot of time emphasising how close the bond was between George and Fred, and quite frankly to not focus on George heavily after Fred's death was a glaring omission. She missed a great opportunity for some emotive drama.

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I think it's certainly a lot better than the entries since Azkhaban (which is still at the top of my pile - tighter, better structured, more satisfying).

 

That's why I gave it 4 stars - Azkhaban will always be the best out of the series for me.

 

Hazel notes Rowling's two major deaths claim, which is a little confusing, to be honest. She did note in another interview that this didn't mean only two people die, but I'm unsure who her two were. Snape and Voldemort? There are quite a few significant deaths, but in a sense if they are the two big deaths then there's something a little cheaty about that.

 

She did sell it as 2 major deaths and to be honest you could have picked out a number of duos to fill that criteria: Tonks and Remus, Fred and Hedwig, Dobby and Hedwig, all for various reasons. So in fact there are no major deaths then. 'Major' to me and I am guessing most of the HP fans would have been one of the trio, or even Hagrid (which is who I expected). But if we bear in mind that these books are primarily for kids - then it would have been very upsetting for the little 'uns if one of them had kicked the bucket.

 

 

Snape's takes on a new twist and poignancy with everything we learn (though we'd rather suspected that all along, hadn't we...?).

 

Absolutely. As we were hurtling to the end I kept thinking "70 pages to go...when is Snape going to come good?"

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Okay, a bit more detail!

 

There are both ups and downs to the position of this book at the end of the series. The whole thing started well with a charming tale of magical discovery and we were absorbed into the world of Hogwarts. The adventure failed to pack its punch in Chamber, but was on cracking form in Azkhaban. These were largely self-contained tales with the concept of a returning villain and lead characters turning over the next year of their lives.

 

The strengths of the self-contained adventures started to unravel seriously in Goblet because this is when J.K started to lose all narrative discipline, but the book was saved by the fantastic conclusion in which we really embarked on the full-blown arc story of the second half of the series. With the emphasis shifting from the single-book story to the bigger one the weaknesses of narrative control became far more pronounced and Phoenix was, to borrow from Henry James, rather a loose, baggy monster, whilst Prince was mostly back-story and preparations. So the book that was finally going to wrap all of that up was almost bound to feel more rounded and satisfying.

 

The downside to this is that Rowling has set up so many plotlines and introduced us to so many characters that you could never do them all justice in the final instalment, otherwise you have another sprawling beast and lose the all-important momentum (which happens anyway, in a few places).

 

So it actually felt quite satisfying to me that she decided to opt instead for a focus on the central relationship that started it all: Harry, Ron and Hermione. Instead of the large and unwieldy fabric provided by school, the Order, the Ministry, etc., we have our three friends and travel with them. This costs us in terms of the proper satisfaction we'd like with many of the other characters, but I think it's a question of the lesser of two evils that are inevitable choices given the situation she's built up over the series.

 

There was, following on from this, a clever invocation of everything we've passed through. All the old adventures are mentioned along the way, characters and incidents from the past are brought to mind in a way that hasn't happened in the latter books. For the reader, it became a little like Harry walking through the spirit-filled forest to his end: all the reassuring ghosts of the past gathering for the final moment. I rather liked that aspect.

 

Of course, another inheritance also worked against this book: the 'necessity' of running the action over a year. This means we have rather too much of the trio on a tenting tour of Britain. I'm really not sure what they're doing all this time, but when you suddenly get a reference to a change in season you're struck with a sudden Ronnish sense of, "Blimey...really?"

 

We also have the 'necessary' fallings-out and makings-up. In themselves, I suppose, they had their logic, but J.K. isn't great at handling changing feelings, which tend to come out of nowhere and therfore lack full credibility. It's as though she has the necessary feelings worked out in her planning book - and when you reason it through it all certainly works - but it fails in the actual realisation on the page. I think this is partly, at least, an explanation of what you found dissatisfying, Col.

 

Many of the set pieces were great, though - I'd agree, Krey, I loved the Gringotts heist. There were good doses of action throughout, which helped to lift the plodding tone that some of the previous entries had fallen into.

 

I would agree that it would have been interesting to hear much more about Snape, who is indeed a fascinating character. However, to do so would have greatly compromised the book. This is Harry's story and the revelation about his (other!) great enemy's true nature had to come at the end. For it to emerge after Snape's death made it all the more poignant, and for Harry to witness it all 'first-hand' was appropriate too. There simply couldn't be more without compromising the narrative thrust towards the end. What we should certainly have seen, though, is more of Harry's reaction to that. A weakness indeed.

 

Whilst the exact line she uttered was, I'd agree, not all that it might have been, I liked the fact that Molly Weasley took on Bellatrix. She has been the traditional mother-figure throughout. Sometimes this has been made deliberately annoying, as clucking mothers can be, but otherwise that's been an important part of the novels' construction. Harry lacks a proper, warm family and that is offered at The Burrow. That's why we get all the action and the slightly cloying wedding at the start here - the moments in the haven before the great storm. For her to turn at the end into a full-blown battling witch is both surprising and satisfying, giving us just the emotional kick we want as Bellatrix loses her complacent sneer. The Aliens throwback is unfortunate (though most kids won't get that), but of course she's no warrior like Ripley - she's our picture of domesticity, and the way the war has ripped open the wizarding world is amply demonstrated by that. Rowling chooses the moments to use her stonger words (bitch and bastard) with care. The sort of kids who'll be reading this will be well-enough attuned to get the necessary jolt.

 

I didn't find any problem with the fact that sorting still happens. It's a boarding school. Boarding schools have houses (of course, if someone doesn't agree with that system that's another question). The message in many ways is that an idea can lead many people astray, rather like Nazism, and Slytherin became a focus for that. To have had any Slytherins in the battle would have been foolish, so that was never an option (not least because many of their parents would have been in the opposition). As well as Snape there's also Phineas Nigellus who assists in the end.

 

That Draco is still a marginal figure in the epilogue is again natural. He tried to kill Harry more than once - they're simply on a human level unlikely to lose mistrust. J.K. also gave him scruples - after all, we saw all his unease with the reality of killing Dumbledore and the fact that he was clearly scared and had been coerced into this position.

 

Ultimately, though, let's not forget that this is a children's book and as such needs clear-cut good and evil. We need baddies to boo and in a school context a House at which to hiss (sorry!). The complexity given to Snape, as well as the interesting back-story revealed for Dumbledore (another excellent component in this entry) I think gives a healthy exploration of the fact that there are indeed shades of grey out there, but to go much further takes it beyond the realms of the type of children's books these are.

 

Which is why I can also excuse the saccharine ending. Yes it was twee, but at the same time it fulfilled the journey and I agree that back on the platform with the new generation is the choice that was already ingrained in the fabric of the books. This can be nothing more than a sketch, a gesture to the happily-ever-after that the young readership would want.

 

It has a number of flaws (not least Rowling's prose, but that was a given before I'd even opened it - it wasn't about to change), but ultimately I enjoyed it for what it was, which has always been my attitude to the series. Everything came together in a satisfying manner and Rowling continued to do the thing that she has always excelled at: throwing in surprises and keeping me guessing.

 

In many places, though, I simply should have felt sadder. Maybe that was me, but I suspect it was the book.

 

Now we just pray she doesn't cave in and write another...

 

;)

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In many places, though, I simply should have felt sadder.

I've gone on to remember J.K. talking to Jonathan Ross and describing how when finishing a chapter close to the end she 'absolutely howled', was inconsolable and downed a half-bottle of champagne from the hotel room's mini-bar to drown the pain.

 

Obviously wasn't my experience. Was this Fred dying, do you suppose? Maybe that's why it was left rather inadequately on the page - it consumed her with misery so she didn't do enough in words to ensure the same happened to us.

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