Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (no spoilers)

Given my last post on how much there is to learn from Harry Potter, I feel like I need to mention some of the things I particularly loved about Deathly Hallows. (This is largely my post from Verla Kay's board, with the spoilers removed and some more writing-specific commentary added, in case it looks familiar.)

Was it satisyfing? It was very satisfying. Rowling has laid in so many plots and subplots in her books that it's amazing she was able to bring them to a satisfying conclusion. I know that there is always advertising hype like "this book/series is the next Harry Potter!" but I don't think such a thing is possible. (And I hope not, since I'd rather be a great writer of my own, instead of just a next Somebody Else, wouldn't you?) But seriously, this...series, or story, is different. And I don't mean because of hype and advertising. I doubt anyone will achieve such a complicated yet satisfying story for a long, looooong time to come. What I continue to find astounding is that it's all there in book 1. The whole story, sort of in zip form. Even all the way down to the last book, there were so-called background details from the very first book that ended up being very significant to the entire plot. It's more than just keeping a list of what color eyes different characters have, or what houses they're in or whatever; it's keeping track of motivations, backstories, interactions that is something that JKR does extremely well. I love her ability to surprise (and since she's able to pull it off for more than one book, she's rather good at it). She's very good at giving you what you think is the truth--and it is, only it's not the whole truth, and time and again, she's able to surprise the reader by giving more of the truth at the right moment, and suddenly you find yourself restructuring the story into something completely different. She's created so many characters to care about, and she cares about them, too, following up all of their little stories. Millions of people have fallen in love with her characters. Why? I think it's because although she exposes their weaknesses, she's not afraid to show us the characters at their most heroic. So many are so flawed, yet at the same time are able to recognize the challenges that really matter, and give their all to get them right. We feel for the characters because we recognize our own weaknesses in them, and we long to be the heroes they are.

Something else I enjoyed--sometimes the myth or thematic overtones of a one-of-a-kind book can get a little too big. I'm sorry, throw tomatoes at me, but at some point in Lord of the Rings, i couldn't really relate to Frodo anymore. His experiences and ultimate challenge were so exalted and so far removed from me that just couldn't keep the connection. Instead, it was Sam who was Everyman, Sam who I found I could hang out with. All of which made the LOTR reading experience a little strange to me. Despite all the climactic events of HP, though, I never lost touch with Harry. He's heroic in so many ways, yet he's always human and imperfect and vulnerable, and so we can still relate to him.

Themes I loved:
miracles and magic
second chances
gifts, and yet the importance of our choices--such a very big theme

In the days since reading Deathly Hallows, I haven't done very much reading or writing. And that's okay. Sometimes you need to take the time to enjoy the awe.

Cheers to Harry Potter--the Boy Who Lived!


Natalie said...

Hi Rose!

I love your insights on HP...I've only read the first 3 books (gasp! I know--I need to get with the program) but your posts inspire me to pick up the last three and start reading.

I hope you don't mind that I've tagged you with a meme...if you're up for it, the directions are on my blog. :-)

Nomadica said...

Hey Rose!

firstly, I love your name-Ive loved it since I first heard the name in Titanic. Secondly, I loved the fact that the things you love about HP-th themes-are a a summary of teh ideas jo MEANt to propogate through the books. harry's real. And everytime I read about someone else who loves him for that, I cant help but cheer!


Rose Green said...

Thank you, Nomadica! I'm cheering right along with you (and a little sad that it's all over).