RetroReading: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

In preparation for seeing the movie tonight, I re-read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows earlier this week. Yes, I know the movie is only half the story. Yes, I know the movies never have everything the books do, but even so, I felt it important to refresh my memory of the story.

I noticed a few details in this reading that I don’t remember reading when I first read the book the day it was released, and it was nice to re-visit the original version of the characters, but I’m also left wondering if Harry stayed small-ish in the books because Dan Radcliffe is not particularly tall.

As the daughter of a fashion designer, one thing I’m intrigued by is what Hermione’s beaded bag will look like. I mean, I know there are custom drawstring bags that have beadwork, but I also know that most beaded bags are tiny little clutch purses. I think my mother has one, I know my grandmother had a couple that I used to play with.

Mostly though, I’m looking forward to the experience of seeing a fun movie in an opening night crowd.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

by J. K. Rowling

And so it ends – the series that has gripped children and adults alike for ten years now has come to a close. I read it overnight, after having to put it aside for several hours and leave the house (actually, I took it with me, but there was no opportunity to read). I was expecting to either love it or hate it. Instead, while there are a few elements I would change, if I could, I left the book feeling satisfied.

As I discussed with a friend, the Harry Potter books are not high art, but that’s okay, because we need mind candy. We need to sometimes read things just for the pleasure of falling into the story. These books are great for that, because whether it’s Hermione, the ultimate geek girl, Harry, the orphan who overcomes his upbringing, Ron the perfectly normal kid, or even Tonks, who hates her “normal” image, or silky, snarky Severus Snape, we find someone to identify with. For me, it was a blend, for others it’s one character, but the identification is there.

With this book, there is no more tossing it off as kiddie lit, though. This book is bloody, and violent. Our heros are fighting a war, and while they may use wands and magic instead of guns and bombs, people are still getting hurt and killed.

Spoilers Abound:
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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Book 6)

J. K. Rowling

After waiting two years for this installment, the second to last in the Harry Potter series, it seems a shame that I finished it in about four hours, not including the nap I took around page 204, and the ninety minutes I was out of the house for dinner with my husband.

I think at this point people need to get beyond the “children’s book” label for this series. EVERYONE is reading them, not just children. This book was both more and less dark than it’s immediate predessor (less CapsLock!Harry, but with a major character death, and many many shades of grey) , but it still was heavy on exposition, as seems to be typical with the middle books in ANY series.

I can’t write any more about it without giving away the details. It’s enough to say that the next two years (the minimum duration we must wait for book seven) will crawl by, at least in the Potterverse, and many of us who dabble in fanfic have to restructure our versions of Rowling’s sandbox.