I’m man enough to admit that I teared up a bit at the end*. In my view all the magical froofaraw matters less than the author’s real gift for engaging characters. Although J.K. Rowling wrapped up the contours of the leading triangle by book three or so, leaving a chunk of the book focused on them feeling dramatically thin, the fun when she sets loose the huge supporting cast is more than worth it.
On the whole it grabbed me as a reader more than most recent fiction. Take that with a grain of salt since I don’t read much fiction these days.
NOTE: I can’t police the comments all night, so you can count on spoilers.
(*) This has nothing to do with who did or didn’t die, Rowling just sets a couple of very touching scenes)
If I had one semi-quibble, it kind of annoys me how Potter became the official MacGuffin sink of the wizarding world. There seems no point making supremely powerful artifacts if they’re all going to end up on Harry Potter’s mantle.
i thought it was much better than the past two or three – a lot less focus on Quiddich and politics – and there was lots of action. she does have a talent for convoluted plots; and the whole time i was wondering how long ago she had this whole thing mapped out – so much of it comes together in this book.
The Other Steve
What’s this business about bird flue in Virginia?
You know, Tim, he seems to be more the MacGuyver of the wizarding world — people make supremely powerful wizarding artifacts, only to see them blow up/stabbed/lost in the dark woods/heheaded/killed by Lord Voldemort, but later resurrected…
Snape kills Dumbledore.
It’s not the best book I’ve ever read, but it is the best ending to a series that I ever read. I think Hermione might be grounded for the summer, though.
since my first post, i’ve read that she’s had the final chapter basically finished since at least 1991 – as incentive to finish the series. that’s pretty impressive, IMO.
Dude. The whole point is that he ditches one and forgets where he laid it. Another is left conveniently away from him, so when he dies its power dies with him. The last is a family heirloom that he had since the beginning. The rest of them he destroys, one by one. MacGuffin Graveyard indeed.
Harry goes into an irreversible coma. Hermione gets an abortion.
The Ministry of Magic passes legislation to keep Harry alive even though there is no hope that he’l ever make it because his brain is mush (the Minister saw Harry’s eyes follow the path of a snitch or something in a photo he received.)
Calling Doctor Frist!
All the spoiler talk reminds me of this classic review of Star Wars: Episode II.
Tim F.: “There seems no point making supremely powerful artifacts if they’re all going to end up on Harry Potter’s mantle.”
You’re over-generalizing. The Elder Wand ended up back in… well, if you read it, you know where it ended up.
And then there’s the time-turner, which didn’t even make an appearance (surprisingly), Gryffindor’s sword – which ended up with someone else, The Mirror of Erised – still apparently hidden, the Resurrection Stone – lost, the Pensieve – still in the headmaster’s office, and so on.
And having said that, I suddenly realize that that may be the geekiest sentence I have ever written in my life…
My favorite part, actually, was when Hagrid explained to Harry about how James wasn’t really his father and ended sadly with, “Harry, you’re a bastard.”
Well, that, and when Hermione got tarted up in the wet t-shirt that said “Mudbloods like it dirty.”
Michael: “The Ministry of Magic passes legislation to keep Harry alive even though there is no hope that he’l ever make it because his brain is mush…”
You forgot the part where Dumbledore decides, because Albania is a magic country too, to declare war on France, to keep them from selling nuclear wands to the terrorists.
Hey, you forgot the part where Disney buys Hogwarts and converts it into a giant, overpriced amusement park. The giant squid is forced to don a tutu and perform tricks every two hours.
The house elves are rounded up and forced to breed like bunnies so their off-spring can be stuffed and sold as souvenirs in Minerva McGonnagal’s Magik Shoppe.
They try having the centaurs give the kiddies rides but they (the centaurs) complain about the smell. So Dis sells them off to Bush as Ponies of DemocracynFredum (TM).
Dumbledore takes the profits and retires to Bimini with Madame Rosemerta.
As someone who intends to buy the book I appreciate the lack of spoilers here. Now, where can I get a t-shirt that says “If you tell me how it ends I’ll fucking kill you”?
I thought it was unnecessary to keep the wand ensconced in Hermione’s vagina, but putting the Vibratus charm on it first was a nice touch.
Seriously, Jake, what adult would admit to having read the book end-to-end? (Except for me, of course. Yes, I’ve read it; no, I won’t tell you how it ends.)
I was simultaneously impressed and disappointed. I loved the build-up — what and where the various Horcruxes turned out to be, how Harry finds the last one, why one needs to wash ones hands before dinner at Twelve Grimmauld Place — but I was disappointed in the resolution of the final conflict, which seemed unmotivated to me. I *think* I know why it fell out the way it did, but I’d have appreciated a couple of sentences from Rowling directly foreshadowing it.
I ended up with the same sort of “Well, that’s the end of that. What now?” depression I got at the end of Star Trek VI.
The best thing about finishing the book is being able to end my Internet silence. It turned out that about 2/3 of the spoilers were fake though. I went back and googled for them.
Seriously, I thought the Potter / Malfoy make-out scene was a bit gratuitous though.
It seems to me like there is no “wizarding world;” the story is about Harry Potter growing up and is supposed to end with him. The epilogue (the original post was the only spoiler warning you’ll get, suckers!) could just as easily have been set 49 years later, on Harry’s deathbed, as when it was set.
This series was not Star Wars, where there’s the trilogy with the character arcs for Luke and Leia and Han and then the prequel trilogy with Anakin and Obi-Wan and Padme and then some just-as-valid novels set a few years after the trilogy and hundreds of years before the trilogy and… Harry Potter is (was!) not like that. There’s Voldemort, one of the worst Dark wizards ever, if not the very worst. There’s a magical world with its own versions of most of the problems of the real world, and it supplies a happy surrogate family for Harry. In the course of destroying Voldemort, Harry cuts a swath through most of the magical world, but that’s fine because that’s what it was there for in the first place.
Quidditch, despite how much everyone hated it, was kind of like a microcosm of the wizarding world. It was flashy and fun and magical and kinda dumb but really not as dumb as it looks, but in the end, it has a sole but central flaw: the rules of it were set up so that Harry would be the hero. To be clear, I really liked the books, but I expect to fully and completely loathe any fanfic about Albus Severus, for example, and this is why.
Rowling has successfully hurdled the That’s a Kid’s Book gap. Unless all of the adults reading that monster beside the swimming pool and toting it on the trains think they’re fooling anyone. “This book? Oh, I’m previewing it for my kid. Yeah.”
Quite so. Rowling finished and published her books on a regular schedule. She did not release four excellent books, bugger off for a couple of decades and then; after the sort of hype you’d associate with the end of the world, unleash three great steaming literary turds upon her fans.
For which we are eternally grateful. That said, its worth noting that Lucas’s original script for Star Wars was a steaming literary turd in its own right. However, he bumped into just the right directors and actors and audience members to turn a steaming turd into a steaming cultural phenomenon. The idea that Lucas was responsible for anything other than good business sense, however, is a logical phallicy – which is to say the assumption one makes when one thinks with one’s pants.
Harry Potter Loses A Hand
Yeah, well, I feel particularly stupid — I’m carrying a copy across the Atlantic tonight, so that I can reread it.
Sorry, re-review it for my kids.
Lucky blighter. I finished it for all of ten minutes before someone from my department spied my copy and borrowed it. Now I have to hunt her down and get my name on the inside cover before one of her finds visiting from kazakhstan gets his or her hands on it.
I haven’t read the potter books, though I have heard they are great and I do like the movies, I am after all a big fan of pretty much any fantasy tale involving wizards etc. and still play D&D so it kinda goes without saying. Right now I am still working my way through the wheel of time series which I’ve been reading since about the 7th grade (it’s past 11 books now).
I am just hoping to see this one made into a movie so I can find out what happens because to me, Order of the Phoenix was a great movie.
Therein lies the basis for a fine, stimulating debate. Briefly, Lucas can write (after a rather bombastic fashion). Unfortunately he got too big to answer such trifling questions as “Don’t you think these should also have a plot, or something?”
If that’s a logical phallicy all I can say is that with Suck that hard, it’s no wonder I’m thinking with my pants.
I predict the passengers will fall into two groups:
1. People reading or re-reading their own copy.
2. People who don’t yet have their own copy. These will be trying to read over the shoulders of people who do have the book. Try not to let it annoy you.
Meh. That series jumped the shark kinda hard the moment they started throwing uber-powerful artifacts at people left and right. No one ever properly explains why the folks from the Age of Legends are so dwarfed in power by random smucks of the Third Age. The Eye of the World proves that someone clearly knew how to cleanse Guy Magic. The massive sanghrel prove they had the power to fix this shit way, way back. And the fact that the good guys kinda, sorta won proves they were bigger badasses than the Dark One’s minions. There’s no compelling reason to believe this problem shouldn’t have been fixed 1000 years ago if it got fixed so easily in the books.
Likewise, Robert Jordan needs to learn how to make a character stay the fuck dead. It’s like a freak’n game of Mario Brothers. I think every major character (and a few minor ones) in that series have at least three extra lives.
And I haven’t even started ranting on the fact that Jordan (or his wife, whom I understand helps him write a great deal) is a HUGE perv. I’m still waiting for someone to just up and fuck a goat, because I think they’ve exhausted almost every other sexual taboo on a chapter by chapter basis.
But other than that, it’s a good series.
Dreggas, I’m with Zifnab; dump Wheel of Time. I gave up at the end of book 3, having realized that after about 3000 pages, Jordan hadn’t yet resolved anything.
I’m generally a patient man, but really, if you can’t have some plotline come to a successful conclusion in a thousand pages then it’s time to go back to school and learn how to effin write.
The Potter books have satisfying conclusions every few hundred pages.
Actually I like the fact that Jordan is a big ol’ perv. Then again so am I.
Actually I like the series and have enjoyed it, then again I like intricate details like those in the books, and while I do agree that there are some issues in the series it’s been a good one overall. Hell even when they cleansed the male half of the source it was climactic for me. I dunno maybe I just get into epics like this.
I think there’s a definite divide in WoT fans if you discover it early or late. If I remember correctly, I was given the first three books as a present right around the time that book seven was released. By the latest book, I was getting tired of it (but enjoyed that they finally tied up several plot lines). If I had started reading when those first three books were published, with years between each subsequent one, I could totally understand being pissed off by now. And on the other hand, when I lent my complete collection to my girlfriend at the time — this was around book 10, if I remember correctly — she read it and loved it.
Shorter me: appreciating the Wheel of Time is strongly inversely proportional to how long you’ve had to wait between books. Dreggas apparently gets even better mileage than me, though.
I started reading them about the time the third one came out and I agree the wait for each subsequent one has been annoying. Fortunately I can easily pick up where I left off and remember enough to not be lost in each new book. It’s now in book 11 or 12 and from what I have heard the whole thing is finally going to end. Of course I still haven’t read book 11. LOL.
B4B revealed the ending last week. Always on the cutting edge.
Harry Potter: The Real Ending Revealed!
But who cares about Harry Potter? Morons!
Why am I not suprised
Worst. Finale. Ever.
Nah, j/k. Loved every word of it. The entire Hogwarts sequence was amazing, and I almost stood up and cheered when Mrs. Weasley went all Ripley on Bellatrix LeSkank.
I’ll bet there are some Warner Bros. execs who spent the weekend cackling wildly and lighting cigars with $1,000 bills as they paddled around in their cash-filled swimming pools. The movie should be an absolute monster.
Jordan has to start wrapping things up pretty soon. He’s got some obscure genetic condition, and an estimate of only four years to live.
I wonder if Stephen King’s ears were actually burning when you wrote that.
Damn tooting. That was awesome.