Harry Potter 7: They All Die In The End, And It Turns Out Voldemort Was His Mum

Wednesday, July 25, 2007 18:44 | Filed in Books

I’ve just been reading the final Harry Potter book: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Given that Harry is such a publishing phenomenon, I wanted to talk about it here (and ideally get there before Stephen Lang does).

However, I don’t think it’s fair to include plot spoilers or to talk too much about what actually happens in the book, because I don’t want to spoil the enjoyment of people who haven’t read it yet. Therefore I’ll be trying very hard not to give anything away. Anyway, this is more of a retrospective of the series.

So, I bought it yesterday, and read it in about three and a half hours. Yes, I do read quickly. No, it wasn’t skim reading.

I hadn’t been bothered too much about the speculation about what was going to happen to Harry — I enjoy the books, but I can accept that he’s a fictional character, and therefore I was prepared to see him bumped off, providing that it was a rattling good yarn, as indeed it was. As for Harry, well…

…why not read the book?

No, one of the things that I think is particularly good about the Harry Potter series is the way J.K. introduces difficult “adult” concepts and provides a framework for kids to deal with them. There’s Harry’s sense of isolation (the whole “no-parents” thing, and the bits when no-one believes him); there’s the way the books deal with the issues of loss and grieving; there’s also the way that the fringe characters develop from stereotypical caricatures into much more rounded, human individuals as the series progresses.

Of particular interest to me is the way J.K. deals with racism. Of course, she doesn’t call it racism per se, but it’s not too difficult to draw parralels when the term “Mudblood” (implying mixed magical/non-magical heritage) is used as a term of abuse, and when the Baddies don’t want to see witches and wizards consorting with Muggles (non-magical people). When people’s family trees are being checked to attempt to prove their magical ancestry.

If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and walks like a duck, it probably is a parralel with racism.

What’s particularly good about J.K’s little bit of politics there is that it’s not ladled on: it’s subtly done, in threads throughout the series. Very nice.

What is also interesting is how much — despite having read the first two books before seeing any of the films — my mental pictures of Harry, Ron, Hermione, Hagrid, Kreacher et al — look exactly like they do in the films. It reminds me of Lord Of The Rings in that respect: because the casting, costumes etc just fitted, it pushed out whatever mental images I’d had before and replaced them with those. I’m not saying that’s Harry or Frodo looked exactly as I would have had them, but that the cast as a whole were close enough for me to accept those images en masse, and I don’t think this would have occurred had the cast not been a good enough fit.

Who were my favourite characters? Well, surprisingly enough my personal favourite ever since The Philosopher’s Stone has been Hogwarts answer to Simon Cowell: step forward Professor Severus Snape (cue pantomime hissing). And my second favourite being another long time baddie, the ever sneering Draco Malfoy. Take a bow, you two. Then probably Kreacher next. And maybe… well, I’ve always had a soft spot for werewolves, so Lupin.

Talking of my favourite characters, that reminds me of something I need to say to a few people:

Ha ha! I was right and you were wrong! Na na na na na!Me

Unfortunately, while those of you who have read the book will probably know what I’m talking about, I can’t tell the rest of you what I was right about without including a spoiler, so I won’t. Oh, all right then…

Well, it turns out that ‘Deathly Hallows’ was simply Harry mis-hearing Ron Weasley saying “would you like some marshmallows” when he was just dozing off on the train to Hogwarts as an 11-year old, and the rest of it was just a bad dream.

Naaah, I’m just joshing with yer…

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7 Comments to Harry Potter 7: They All Die In The End, And It Turns Out Voldemort Was His Mum

  1. Steve says:

    July 25th, 2007 at 7:53 pm

    Three and a half hours? It took me that long to unwrap the Amazon packaging, make a cup of tea and sit down.

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  3. JackP says:

    July 25th, 2007 at 11:32 pm

    @Steve, you need a more powerful kettle mate. Or at least switch it on.

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