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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

July 26, 2007
I'm not planning on spoiling a thing for anyone still reading, about to read, or just waiting for the movie.
My copy arrived from Amazon Saturday morning. It was waiting for me when I woke up. I don't have a secretary or appointments, but if I did, I'd have told her to cancel all my appointments and sent Pam home. I had some reading to do. Now, I'm notoriously not a fast reader, I usually take my sweet time and can take weeks to finish a book, but by Sunday night, I'd read 690 pages, including the pivotal reveals that not just this book but the events of the whole series hinged upon. (And I was happy at how I right my guesses were, made two years ago in a head to head with Rob.)
Only 69 pages left. The most important 69 pages of the saga. The big finish. I put the book down Sunday night. Waited three days and finally dived back in.
Having concluded the saga of Harry Potter, it's taking effort to wipe the smile from my face. The ending is everything it needed to be. It's wonderful.
Honestly, for much of the first half of the book, I wasn't digging it. I was impatient and growing annoyed with J.K. Rowling's storytelling choices. What I expected to see happen as set up in Half-Blood Prince wasn't what she was giving us. The answers I was looking for weren't there. I felt strung along, even bamboozled. I began to wonder if I was going to be betrayed. I still feel there are flaws and problems, but then how could there not be? One person was crafting an intricately complex web, tying together myriad characters and events. Human error was to be expected. But did Rowling know what she was doing? Did she know where she was taking us? Did she still have the magic?
Yes. She was just warming up.
I said to someone recently in defense of the Harry Potter films that I prefer Harry in the movies as played by Daniel Radcliffe to the Harry in the novels as written by Rowling. I always felt the movie Harry was less whiny, more heroic, a superior portrayal. I went onto to say that I couldn't give a fuck if the Harry in the book died but I'd be ripshit if the Harry in the movie died.
Rowling astounded me. In my mind's eye, she gradually and deftly in the course of Deathly Hallows merged her Harry with the Harry in the movie so by the end the end, Harry was the best of both mediums. The Harry I enjoyed watching in the movies was the Harry at the end of the book facing Voldemort for the last time (that's not a spoiler.)
And then she laid all the cards on the table. All the mysteries solved. All the answers revealed. She had to deliver and she delivered. She delivered it all.
Now that it's over, I'm satisfied. Totally satisfied. Like I just ate a great meal. I was told a great, epic story and it was worth the years and thousands of pages read and re-read. It's not the greatest story ever told, or the most original, or one that will shape the rest of my life in any way. It was simply excellent. Most importantly, like every great story must, it had a great ending worthy of what came before.
Harry Potter is over, but the best part is, it still isn't. Two more movies to go, and I can't wait to see the Deathly Hallows movie. I can't wait to see those actors play these parts, to see the battles brought to life and the answers to all the questions dramatized, to see the end of the circle on the silver screen. Lots of the book will likely have to be excised, nothing new there, but the parts that matter, the sequences that beg to be filmed, will have to be there. I can't wait to see that finish play out.
I'm happy. "All is well."