So, I’ve had the book all day now (living in the future has its benefits). Unfortunately, I’ve also been painting all day, so I’m only sitting down with it now. Anyway, I’m sure those of you who can read quickly/have already read the downloaded copy might like a place to discuss it. As for me, I’m going to go read the book and not come back until I’m done.
I was at the grocery store earlier tonight and they had a half-filled stand right by the door. I opened it and flipped through the back pages.
At the end, Potter has children. He evidently impregnated Ginny, I don’t know if they were married or she was his wizardly consort. I was skimming. I saw that coming from book one, so I don’t think that counts as much of a spoiler.
I read the first three books, and I was going to read the fourth book before I saw the film and then that plan was rent asunder. I haven’t read any of the books since. Thinking about reading books four through seven makes me think that I could be reading The Dark Tower again, or sunbathing.
I have no willpower. I had plenty of studying to do, but I could not resist. I picked up my reserved copy last night at midnight from the University bookstore. I managed to read three chapters before succumbing to tiredness, but woke up bright and early and just plowed through the rest today.
I just finished it. I really enjoyed it, though it certainly bogged down a bit in the middle as basically nothing happened while Harry, Ron and Hermione camped out in the woods a lot. Boy, that’s going to make for some boring movie scenes!
I thought Snapes’ death was a completely unexpected turn of events. It was totally out of the blue, I was certainly expecting far more significance to it. His memories confirmed my guesses pretty much completely, though I hadn’t figured out that his was the doe Patronus.
I’m also a little “meh” about the Dumbledore expository scene in the Purgatory/King’s Cross, but I guess it was needed. I just feel that it’s better to have explanations work themselves out through the plot instead of a long speech.
The very ending, the description of the Potter family 19 years in the future was cute, but hardly needed for me. I was more than satisfied to have things end after the fight with Voldemort, but I guess J.K. wanted to provide some fan-service.
Oh, and strangely enough, the various deaths just didn’t touch me very much. The only scene that stirred up an emotional reaction in me was when Harry used the Resurrection Stone to see his dearest loved ones in order to strengthen him for his sacrifice.
Final Impression: A very worthwhile read. I think these books are going to stand the test of time, and our grandchildren will be reading them, too.
Liked it. I appreciated the loophole that let Harry be both a Horcrux (as most of us already figured) AND survive at the end, that was a nice touch, and we all knew Dumbledore had been pulling strings all along, even when it came to his death, but the way that worked out was pretty good, and with way less deus ex machina than J.K. Rowling has used before (there was still a ton of it in the main meat of the book, but come on, it’s Harry Potter, we’re used to that by now). Awesome touch. Snape’s redemption went well, and the fact that the doe was his surprised me too
I won’t go over every part of the book, but overall, it was great, and the fact that (despite the deaths) it wasn’t the darkest book in the series was a nice surprise. Even though I started in more interested in how J.K. Rowling was going to resolve anything (I have a vain hobby of predicting events in future chapters of some books a early as possible) than the emotional impact of the characters, a lot of the events still affected me, and I’m sure a had a dopey grin on my face as it ended. That final confrontation was MADE for a movie.
There were a few minor, and forgivable, plotholes (I seem to remember Mad-Eye Moody’s Mad Eye seeing through the invisibility cloak, for instance, and the Maurader’s Map could detect them when they were using it, which would make it less than infallible).
I didn’t like how it ended, though (before the future scene). I suppose she wanted to leave it up to the imagination, and this is the same as all of the books thus far, but if this really IS the last Harry Potter-verse book, I could have done for a little more resolution in regard to how the community picked up after everything happened. Particularly when it comes to the relationships between the various magical races, the rebuilding of the government and Hogwarts, and things like that. I can understand that she wanted to leave Harry’s next step to the imagionation (hers or hours, only time will tell), though.
In other words, this didn’t feel like a “final book” in the series at all to me, aside from the fact that the bad guys are beaten.
I actually read this as a pretty blatant setup for a sequel, should she ever decide to write one, involving a middle-aged Harry Potter, his friends, and their kids running amok at Hogwarts. 19 years is long enough for new bad guys to hatch and begin concocting various schemes and whatnot, there are fresh characters to play with, Harry is now a middle-aged wizard who could surely step into a Dumbledore-esque role with all sorts of wonky new powers (though I don’t think he’d be the main character), and she could name the series something entirely new, thus not breaking her “this was the last Harry Potter book” promise. It all fits pretty well.
I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a prequel book about James Potter, Lily Evans, Sirius, and the rest during their times at Hogwarts.
That said, I thought it was a pretty good book. Several parts were very ham-handed (we’re in the middle of an unknown forest in a large country of 25 million people on the run, and oh look there’s several plot-central characters that decided to walk up to a stream near us and start talking about essential plot points!). Overall, though, the story was done very well. I noticed that, as usual, the series matured as the characters did, and there was some brief amounts of innuendo between the Ron and Hermione. The times spent in the forest were interesting, but of course won’t ever be seen in a movie.
Clearly the reason that Voldemort chose Harry to be The Boy That Lived was because Neville and his grandma woulda kicked his ass in like 10 minutes. He’s also the only one who gets an actual occupation outside of creating babies in the epilogue. Neville rules.
I didn’t like the Remus/Tonks drama and felt like it was tacked on. I think Fred’s fate was just a “Take that!” shot at the pervier side of fandom. Albus Severus is a goddamn stupid name. Like all of the books past PoA, it had to much focus on Ron, Harry, and Hermoine bickering constantly. I really hate that everyone ended up with their high school sweetheart. And Snape’s “look at me” moment was CREEPY.
But Neville was awesome, Luna was awesome, plenty of good stuff happened around the stuff I didn’t like. Can’t complain.
Look, we all know the ship sinks.
Heh, very true, but that’s made up so much of the previous books that I was hardly surprised by it. This is Harry Potter, afterall. ;-)
Right on. He was so badass (and beat up) at the end that I was half-expecting him to be running around with a swivelling eye hunting down dark wizards in the future.
I can’t disagree with any of this, but found it easy enough to gloss over as standard Harry Potter fare. Okay, the “ending up with their high-school sweethearts” thing irked me more, but happens in pretty much every piece of escapist fiction, especially when a time-skip in concerned. The series is what it is. Well, except the Snape part. Dude’s supposed to be creepy. You’re supposed to forgive him, not identify with him.
I don’t know if it was done in previous books, but this one did date the series. Harry’s parent’s tombstones said they died in 81, so that would mean he was born on July 30th, 1980, and the events in the book take place between 1990 and 1998. I think '98 would’ve been around the time the first books were released, right?
Anyway, yeah, JKR has never been one for entirely sane books, there are always lots of “coincidences” that happen, but they are usually explained later (doe in the woods leads to sword - oh, that’s Snape). This one was pure coincidence. Usually the books aren’t that ham-handed, although they certainly approach it at times.
While I liked it overall, especially seeing Voldemort as really not all that all-powerful, a couple of things irk me about #7:
Snape’s motivation seems really weak. He turns double agent because Voldemort killed his childhood crush? His childhood crush that not only dumped him, but dumped him for his worst enemy? He wasn’t brave, he was whipped. Also, I would’ve liked to have seen a real explanation for his assholish tendencies towards Harry throughout the rest of the series.
Lupin/Tonks. The Lupin wanting to run out on his family bit didn’t bother me much at the time, although I did think it was a bit out of character, but now that Angie reminded me about it, it does get under my skin. But the part that I really disliked about those two was how gallantly Rowling tossed them both under the bus. Sure there’s the whole “they left a kid parent-less” angle which is a downer, but it was the whole “…and over there were the bodies of Lupin and Tonks, and we shan’t mention them again” glibness that really threw me for a loop. We got 438 pages of closure on Dobby’s death (“As Harry drove the spade into the soft earth for the seventy-eighth time, a bead of sweat crossed his parched lips. ‘Taste the sad, Harry,’ Harry muttered to himself as he continued to open the earth to receive his dear friend, ‘this effort shall gird you for the fight ahead.’”), but just a few sentences on them ("‘Oops, almost tripped over Lupin. Or was it Tonks? Ah well, ever onward!’ said Harry doing the real job of preparing for the final showdown, trimming his nails.")
I’m pretty sure they’ve been dated before 7. I don’t know the specifics, but long before this one, I saw chronologies that had that same timeline. One detail that I recall that gave a rough idea of time was a reference in either 3 or 4 to a Playstation.
Wow, how fast do you people read? Hehe.
I just finished the book in one five hour marathon session. My initial impression is very good, at the moment it’s my favorite of the whole series but that might be the afterglow talking.
Plus I won a Jamaican $50 off of my wife because Dumbledore really was dead She was in serious denial over that ever since Half Blood Prince.
I’m glad Rowling left things open for a Barry Potter series, while still keeping true to her word about Harry’s saga ending.
Four point five hours for me (8 pm to 12:30 am tonight).
I read the New York Times review (or the first part anyway), and “Good old fashioned closure” was their take on it. Sounds about right. I was glad to get the conversation with Dumbledore at the end, yeah it really made no sense (King’s Cross? Limbo? THAT came out of nowhere), but who cares, it helped tie up the Loose Ends. And let’s face it, the more Loose Ends got tied up, the better.
I agree Remus/Tonks was underplayed. Also agree that the Resurrection Stone usage at the end was the most stirring moment, though I had a similar rush of feeling when turning the page and seeing NINETEEN YEARS LATER. “Fucking PHEW,” I thought, “would have ended a little TOO abruptly otherwise.”
I also agree it’s a bit farfetched that they just happened to come across the guys in the woods, but hey, they HAD been camping out for who the fuck knows how long, so whatever, I’m willing to give that one a pass.
Yeah, Albus Severus is a stupid name, but I like the thought that Harry was honoring Severus. And it was good to see that all the suspicions of Severus’s actual loyalties were true. I think that Rowling overplayed the “it was all for Lily” thing a bit; it rings truer to me that Severus was motivated partly by love for Lily and partly by plain loathing of Voldemort, Lily’s killer. Snape was a cold fish, and when Lily died his torch for her went out and was replaced by the cold black water of hatred, virtually the equal of Voldemort’s.
I liked the image of Voldemort’s warped weeping fetal soul lying crippled on the floor of the afterlife, too. Surprisingly sadistic for Rowling. I was half expecting Voldemort to actually feel some remorse at the end, not sure whether I’m glad he didn’t or not.
I KNEW that mirror would come in handy, though I actually thought it was going to let Harry somehow communicate with Sirius in the afterlife. Dumbledore’s family backstory definitely deepened his character in a way the rest of the series never had, so good closure there also. And the big set pieces were completely satisfying – I also look forward to seeing Hogwarts get the shit beaten out of it by an army of giants, and seeing Maggie Smith kicking ass is going to be excellent also, I hope she lives long enough to film movie number seven!
Maybe it’s that my wife and I are expecting our second child in a matter of days, but I was perfectly happy with the sappy high school sweethearts ending.
I would expect this to be the last Potter book by Rowling. Maybe spinoffs by other authors, but really, how do you follow this? Nineteen years in the future? James Potter Jr.? I STRONGLY doubt it. She’s going to go out on a high note, which I would definitely say this last book is.
+1, would read ten-year seven-volume series again. (Well, probably won’t literally reread the whole thing, but let me know the next time a series like this comes along, won’t you?)
Blah. That ending was awful. Do we really need every little tiny detail in the future explained to us?
Ending read like fanfic. Significant off-putting things which have been mentioned previously.
Other than that, most excellent. A++, would read again. Especially loved the huge setpiece battle at the end, which is what I’d been rooting for the whole time (c’mon guys, you’re the good guys, mass battle, crush them under your superiorly-skilled heels!).
Also, I wanted the final moment to be Harry doing something to cause him and Voldemort to lose their magical powers, thus rendering them both Muggles; that’d have been perfect.
I quite enjoyed the book, which is a surprise for how much I expected out of it. I do agree the 19 years later ending was a bit too “cute”, but I feel it put a clear ending to Harry’s adventures while showing his acceptance and admiration of Severus. (Other than that, and a few choice lines from Ron, I didn’t like it.)
I agree about the dismissal of Lupin and Tonks. I re-read the line where they were against the wall (“like they were sleeping”) and I was like, uh, dead? Alive? I really liked Lupin throughout the book, and his initial abandonment of his child made him a more conflicted (and enjoyable) character. The death of those two was sad in that I wanted them to have more mourning.
The Harry’s march to death sequence I found to be deeply touching. I gotta admit that a few tears fell with the “I wish you didn’t die” bit, because all of them died protecting him.
I loved Neville and “Gran”. I felt that Rowling set him up to do “great justice” and he did so in a satisfying, valorous manner. Having Gran running around Hogwarts fighting as well was a brilliant touch.
I haven’t enjoyed any of the Potter movies except the third, but I think I’ll go see this one. There’s too many chances for fantastic scenes (the initial multiple Harry escape, the old lady that turns into the snake, the dragon crashing out of Gringnotts, the final battle) that I won’t really care how they wreck the rest of the novel as long as I get to see those scenes well imagined. :)
I’m still mad about Hedwig…just killed off for no reason. And Harry had completely forgotten about her in, like, two pages.
I think he briefly recalls Hedwig one last time, possibly after Dobby died and he’s making his big list of people he’s lost. Still, yeah. He didn’t have much of a reaction to his beloved pet’s death.