It’s the 5th day since the publishing event of 2007 and there are already hundreds of reviews on the web. As my reading experience seems to have followed the general trend, I shall content myself with naming 5 things that irritated me and 5 things that I particularly enjoyed.
***** Mild Spoilers to follow . If this bothers you, read no further *****
5 things that irritated ( in addition to that artwork ….)
1) The middle section. Too long, too repetitive, too obvious in places; a section in which Rowling and her publishers (through lack of editing) repeat the mistakes made since Goblet of Fire. Why say something in 20 pages when you can take 200 ……
2) and then commit the cardinal sin of leaving out the really interesting stuff. Why was Snape’s role almost a cameo? Neville’s too. Why miss the golden opportunity of portraying the pain George must have felt, Harry’s remorse with regard to Snape. Obviously JKR made the decision to portray events only through HP’s eyes and while this pays off in the final scenes, it forces her to bring news to Harry. I lost count of the times Kreacher visited or Lupin visited or A N Other visited. It would have been more exciting to have read parallel streams showing the action rather than listening to accounts narrated after the event. 3) The predictability of the trio’s characterisation. Ron’s stupidity, Harry pigheadedness (why use the V-word?), the fact that clever-clogs Hermione still possesses the only pair of clever clogs for 3/4 of the novel. 4) The deaths of not one, not two but of my three favourite characters.5) That epilogue. Twee and completely unnecessary (for adults, at least.)
5 things that I enjoyed (in addition to the dedication …..)
1) The excellent tension-building opening scenes – Snape’s betrayal and Harry’s dramatic escape from the Dursley’s.
2) Rowling’s side-swipe at celebrity biography: “The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbeldore”. The introduction of moral ambiguity and Harry’s confusion when it appears that Dumbeldore was maybe not a haloed saint after all!
3) The deviation from the normal HP format – a good move ensuring that the final installment stands out from the others. The transformation from Harry’s year at Hogwarts to Harry’s odyssey to Hogwarts places us in the perfect setting for the final battle.
4) Snape’s memories – oh, how I cried!
5) The twists introduced by the elder wand – fabulous!
I’d agree that JKR got it right. Most loose ends are sewn up nicely – surely a requirement for children’s literature – though there are a few that aren’t. A bonus no doubt for fan fiction writing HP addicts – they have something to work with.
In the overall HP canon I’d place it second – Azkaban remains the superior offering. It’s the point where the story darkens but remains tightly written. And if memory serves me right, it’s the one that turned HP into a phenomenon.