Saturday, August 25, 2007

Harry Potter & The Sub-Prime Mortgage

Suffice it to say, there's going to be spoilers in this post.

I finished reading the final Harry Potter book recently and, though I believe it was about as good a send-off as we could hope for, there are a few discussion points to be had IMHO.

First - Death
For a book that takes its title from a mythical group of three items that together make the wearer the "master of death", there sure is a lot of dying in this book. And a lot of seemingly random, needless, senseless dying.

Sure, it's a product of our times, but there are a few "rules" out there, especially in Hollywood, such as "The Dog Never Dies". Show me a movie other than Old Yeller (or any other movie where an animal is the lead character) where a dog bites it. Even that lame Stallone movie where everyone's trapped in the tunnel under the east river... that darn dog lives.

But what character is the first to go? Hedwig the Owl. C'mon. Cute white snowy owl that we've come to know and love over the course of 6 books as Harry's trusty messenger and only summer friend... BAM hit by a killing curse and then unceremoniously blown up BY HARRY in a falling motorcycle side-car.

Beyond that, there's the death of a minor, death of parents resulting in the orphaning of a child, extraction of trophies from the dead... you get the picture.

Second - Deus Ex Machina
Something I've always loved about Rowling's writing was that she'd sneak something into a story that seemed trivial, yet proved to be a useful bit of information a book or two later.

Sorcerer's Stone opens with Harry speaking to a snake, a trait that seems merely magical to us unknowing muggles, yet this plays a very important role in Chamber of Secrets and future books that delve into the connection between Harry and Voldemort.

Later in the same book, it's revealed that Fred & George Weasley seem to know their way around the school better than anyone else but it's not until much later in Prisoner of Azkaban, that it is revealed they've been using the Marauder's Map to find their way around and learn about all the secret passages in and out of Hogwarts.

The twins' joke shop, the Room of Requirement, the list goes on of items and themes alluded to and later revealed.

So was I the only one that was competely broadsided by the Hallows?

With the possible exception of Harry's Cloak, there's really no mention of them at all throughout the entire series. Maybe I just need to read it over again from start to finish. Yeah, that's what I'll do. (evil laugh)

Finally - "19 Years Later"
For a guy who evolved from "the boy who lived" to the boy who killed Voldemort, you'd expect he'd be a bit more celebrated and swarmed by fans. Further, you'd expect that any evil or crazy wizard out there looking to make a name for themselves would be itching to challenge him to prove they are more powerful.

Not that I'd want him to be eternally haunted by his past or paranoid in the epilogue, but it just feels a bit too suburban the way she's written it. It's almost as if he's settled into a happy, safe muggle-like lifestyle with 3 kids and a mortgage.

But I really did like it...
Besides all that, I really liked the book and thoroughly enjoyed the series. Frankly, I can't wait to see this particular book on the big screen. The battles at the end should be quite a treat to see with all the giants, acromantulas, wizards, thestrals, centaurs and furniture in the mix. With any luck, they'll leave enough time over to do justice to the rest of the story.

So what did you think of the book and series?

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