Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows


Credited with actually introducing the pleasures of reading to a whole new generation of kids with her Harry Potter series, author J.K.Rowling had almost the entire reading world waiting in anticipation for the final chapter in the saga, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Happily, she has met the sky-high expectations that accompanied the book. The book is a fitting finale to Harry Potter's journey and proves to be a fully satisfying conclusion to the series.

With the secret to destroying Voldemort finally revealed in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Deathly Hallows follows Harry's journey as he seeks and destroys the remaining Horcruxes. The book is a masterpiece of plotting. Rowling does a masterful job tying up loose ends and in the process, answering lingering questions from the 6 previous books. There are a few coincidences and unexplained leaps of intuition in Harry's search for the Horcruxes but for the most part, the story is pretty tight. Many of the revelations, even if they are not the knock-your-socks-off kinda twists like the ones in the first and third novels, are surprising and more importantly, make sense once explained. The definitive big twist about the true nature of one of the characters, though rumored for long, is probably the best example of the wonderfully intricate plotting of the book.

Every book has had a central concept driving it and here it is, ofcourse, the Deathly Hallows. The book takes a while to get to it but when it does, it is completely satisfying. What it stands for is suitably magical and with the myth behind it and the stories associated with it, it has the kind of grandness befitting the final chapter in the series.

But more than the fantastic imagination, more than the grand set pieces, more than the breathtaking action, Rowling's biggest achievement has been giving us characters that we could care about deeply. Over the course of six books, we came to love Harry, Ron and Hermione and that gave the books a special touch. Each of them has their own unique character and we have been with them as they grew from gawky kids simply enthralled by magic to mature youngsters who realized the enormity of the tasks that lay ahead of them but weren't sure if they were upto it. That continues in this book. So when Ron goes his own way or Hermione goes missing for a while, we keep hoping that the three get re-united very soon. In the same way, there are several action sequences where they have some close shaves and these gain an urgency because of our history with the three of them.

Its almost as if Rowling decided that she had had enough of set up since Deathly Hallows is packed with action right from the word 'go'. Harry's first trip to Grimmauld Place, the trio's break-in and subsequent escape from the Ministry, the duel with Nagini at Bagshot Bathilda's home and the trio's escape from the Bank are all marvels of imagination and adventure. The final confrontation between Harry and Voldemort is also deservedly spectacular. We all know its coming and yet, helped partly by a low-key sequence in the Forest preceding it that serves almost as a red-herring, it manages to be spectacular with goosebump-inducing scenes and lines.

I had mixed feelings about the epilogue. While it did provide a finality to some things that were never really confirmed earlier, it offered too little considering the amount of time that had lapsed.

Overall, Deathly Hallows is a fitting send-off for Harry Potter. The 'Boy Who Lived' will certainly live on in our hearts...

11 Comments:

At 11:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Probably the Epilouge, was meant as a direction in which the Harry Potter series might have a sequel (if at all it has one) and an introduction to its would be hero in Albus Severus.

The Initial parts of 7 were slow in taking off, but once it did it was a fitting end.

Of course some of the lines did not have an end, maybe another cue that something might be brewing at the back of JK Rowlings head for a sequel.
Whatever be the critics saying about her writing skills or whatever, no one can deny her story telling abilities nor her ability to audience gasping for more. I for one truly enjoyed the entire series, probably because it brought a lot of memories of books that I read and enjoyed.

-KP

 
At 11:52 PM, Anonymous vidhya said...

My 2 cents. SPOILER WARNING -

1. JKR said trace is on harry till 17 for magic, yet when Dobby performed magic at dursley’s harry was reprimanded.

2. Horcruxes are still 7. The one inside V has gone to reside inside potter…Am i right? If not the number becomes 8 which is not the magical no and Voldy's preference.

3. Mad Eye moody’s body was not found - how did the eye end up with that silly umbridge? (I love moody…why did moody have to go? Why not dung?)

4. Accio hagrid - That was a big blooper. The Accio charm is supposed to work only on objects. Isnt it? When did it start working on half giants? Can you imagine saying Accio Hagrid and he zooming to the bike.

5. I personally thought JKR was overdoing the love part with Harry fantasising about Ginny at every possible free moment. Loser/mike Murali madri aakitangapa Harrya.

6. I almost gagged when i read the line about the sister thingy. Here i thought only chennai girls are expert in the “naan ungalai annan madri ninaichen” dialogue - I wasnt prepared for the other way round dialogue from Harry. "Tangachi madri Hermy" Oh Cmon.

7.I always thought that JKR was a master porukki(picker). She picks amazing information from mythology/folklore across the world and puts it all together for one spicy potluck.
Eg:
Horcrux/nagini - Indian mythology/folklore
Basilisk - Irish tales
Fluffy/Pixies/Grindylows and most other creatures - Greek mythology

8. Why did she have to leave Krum without a girlfriend? Thats so sad. No Hermy/No Ginny…well..I think i just might shift to Siberia. :)

9. Why did RAB choose to drink the potion himself and die when he had kreacher? Why suicidal? Kreacher’s story was a surprise turning point.

10. Hogwarts battle - Why on earth did Voldy not apparate and had to fly from whereever he was to Hogwarts? I mean - he can apparate outside the grounds of course - Why such a dramatic entry just cos he can fly?

11. Why Why Kill Fred? The humour with fred and george was so beautiful in all the books…they have never failed to make me laugh. It was not the wry brit humour..it was a full blown in your face wonderful humour. U NO POO Dobby, Tonks, Lupin, Creevey - most of my fav characters gone.

12. Whats with the Epilogue? Anyways…theres already too much said about it.

13. The best part was Snape’s story. I always loved Snape…but this was soooo cute.

14. Loved the part where Harry uses the Cruciatus on Carrow brothers and remarks about the need to use it. (Makes me think i shd be in slytherin)

Oh well…Why nitpick? I love the world she has created for us. The last book was a fitting finale. Nalla South indian full meals sapta madri…lots of mushy love, anger, fights between friends, Sentimental reunions, deaths, tears, mother sentiment, tangachi sentiment, thali sorry molly sentiment, Hogwarts battle, Villain death.

Take a bow Ms.Rowling. You have given us ten glorious years.

 
At 1:37 AM, Blogger Robin said...

Yeah.. Epilogue is also a personal disappointment for me... But in her recent interviews, J.K. Rowling justified it by saying that she wanted poetic beauty and revealed a lots of information After Voldermort.. For e.g. what Hermione, Harry, Ron, etc.. are doing.. Also came with a promise to come up with an encyclopaedia which containts lot more information...

- A Harry Potter fan...

 
At 1:38 AM, Blogger Robin said...

Link of the transcript of the first interview with NBC..
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20001720/

 
At 4:11 AM, Anonymous Prin said...

Yeh, I've seen her webchat thing....

Nice to hear stuff bout' Teddy Lupin...

 
At 8:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

loved the book as well balaji. but dont you think JKR was a tad bit too cruel in finishing off some of characters?

*The definitive big twist about the true nature of one of the characters*.... the whole section brought tears to my eyes, in a public train at that too. JKR is just a master story teller!

gayatri

 
At 1:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suppose she thought that killing off several characters makes up for not killing characters that mean much more. Besides Snape, whom we all knew from the 4th book would die eventually and Fred. Otherwise, the major deaths would have to McGonagall and the 3 main characters, besides Neville.

I was happy about the epilogue. Simply because, at least, it does give a direction, and I think she was wary of people writing sequels and ruining the stories.

-kajan

 
At 2:35 PM, Blogger Munimma said...

mudichiya, oru vazhiya? :-)

Yeah, the epilogue was disappointing in a way. chappunu ayuduchu. At least the encyclopedia should help. Another 2 years to wait for that probably. But, I have my eyes open for anything more from her, like that chat transcript that answered a lot of questions.

 
At 7:13 PM, Blogger kalai said...

Really nice one Balaji.

I enjoyed every comments, especially vidhya's.

I too felt very sad about the characters, who are killed in the final book. They are my favourite characters.

Actually I hated Snape. But after reading 6th book, I guessed he would be in the right side. His final regret and glance of Harry's eyes are awesome and touchy. Now I too had gratitude towards Snape, just like Harry.

I too can't bear the loss of Fred. My thought is, atleast JK would have make him alive in the final especially for his twin.

I think we have lots of points to discuss about this....

 
At 10:51 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

kp, like kajan says, i actually think the epilogue was meant to shut off the possibility of sequels, especially by writers other than rowling :)

vidhya, that was amazing. i did have a few questions at some point but not to the kinda detail u've written about. but some of ur questions - like why voldemort didn't apparate to wherever he wanted to go - made me wonder why i didn't have the same question! i guess thats the power of JKR! i was simply pulled along on 1 helluva ride :)

robin, thanx for the link :)

gayatri, yes i think she killed off a few too many characters. then again, the fact that we're feeling that way shows how much even the supporting characters meant to us!

munimma, over a week since i finished. post panna dhaan ivlo naalaachu :)

kalai, thanx :) yes, snape's section was easily the best part of the book.

 
At 11:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

'kp, like kajan says, i actually think the epilogue was meant to shut off the possibility of sequels, especially by writers other than rowling :)'

Probably she is trying to shut out sequels, but who knows what the future holds couple of bad books and voila she might be forced to return. Don't we know how Sherlock came back??
If you read her interview she says Harry and others became aurors why when Voldemort is gone have they become aurors:)? Nothings decided but i wont be surprised if there is a sequel.

-KP

 

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