Just want to say thanks for the excellent comments to my last post. I still didn’t cover everything, but I think I hit my main points.
While I took a broad view of the story, Amanda, who posted below, put together a really nice list of the best details: http://ohamanda.wordpress.com/. I’m glad she got all the scenes I didn’t cover 🙂 And yes, I can’t help but see Rupert and Dan and Emma and the others in my head as I’m reading. The exception is Dumbledore. I always go back to Richard Harris because Michael Gambon is so horrid in the role. Last night I caught part of X-Men and had the brilliant idea that Patrick Stewart would make a perfect Dumbledore. Not old enough maybe, but he has the right, wise, calm voice.
Kerry – I can see where you felt the deaths were too sudden, but hey, war is hell. In the last couple of books the deaths were poignant and meaningful, almost like Rowling was easing Harry, and us, into it. Sirius and Dumbledore each got time for mourning and reflection, but I think these final deaths were meant to be more like Cedric’s, quick and clinical, with no rhyme or reason, like most deaths are. There was no time to cry or feel sorry, because the survivors just had to keep fighting for their lives. The exception was Dobby, and maybe it was most fitting that a creature who was treated so lowly all his life was given the most care in death.
I was sad when Dobby died, but I didn’t lose it until Ron, without any prompting, sat down and pulled off his shoes and socks to dress Dobby. I think that’s when it hit me that, aside from the fact that it would have been boring to have Ron and Hermione get together early on and just be a happy couple (as we all learned from Moonlighting, Who’s the Boss? and other classic tv romances), he also had to grow up and become the man she needed before it could work. See my previous comments on the Silver Doe chapter.
But I was suprised that a Weasley died, and I cried plenty, not so much for Fred, but for George. I just don’t think he’ll know what to do without his other half. Considering Ginny had been possessed and kidnapped, Mr. Weasley was attacked by Nagini, Ron was poisoned, Bill was mangled by a warewolf, and George lost an ear, I figured the family had already suffered enough and were all safe. But I can respect that “safe” doesn’t exist in Rowling’s world. Tonks and Lupin seem to be the two deaths people are most upset about, and those two did hit hard, especially as we don’t see it happen, but just find out their bodies are lined up with the other dead. All I can say is that when they named Harry as godfather, and he compared himself to Sirius, they sort of destined Teddy to become an orphan. But at least we know he was well cared for, and not shoved under the stairs.
Regarding your earlier comment about the slow start, you’re right. It did drag on a bit. But I think that worked too, because at the end of the last book they made this plan to go off and find the horcruxes and we all thought, how? Where will they even start? Harry never asked Dumbledore anything that might help him. So I think we had to see them all hit bottom, get really desparate, get angry, and almost fall apart, before they could pull it together and start to make progress. If they’d hit the ground running, it would have looked way too easy.
I loved the Dudley scene too. Actually, I think I did way more crying in the beginning than at the end, maybe just because there was so much nostalgia, with Harry thinking about all the “last times” that were going on around him. But I thought having Dudley show care and concern for Harry was a great way to start a story that was going to center on trust and loyalty and friendship. So we may never know what Dudley saw when the Dementors attacked, but I think there’s hope that he and Harry may someday become friends, and I’ll accept that as a fair trade.
Whenever someone dismisses Harry Potter as kid stuff or asks me how I can read them, the best counter-argument I can give is that in children’s books there is good and evil, and there is a very big gap between them. Telling one from the other is simple. Snow White: Good. Evil witch: Bad. Little Red Riding Hood: Good, alhtough a thief. Big Bad Wolf: Bad.
In Harry Potter though, almost nobody is pure good or pure evil, and there are huge areas of grey overlap as characters move back and forth along the scale. In a kids’ book, Dudley would have stuck his tongue out at Harry, or punched him in the stomach, always the bully, as he walked out the door. The fact that he stepped out of his comfort zone is proof that Rowling is a great writer, and not just a good children’s author.
That’s enough for now. Keep the comments coming. More tomorrow!