Harry Potter 7

I started (and finished) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows yesterday. It was good to read it all in one sitting... although not so good for my uni work. Without posting any spoilers, I'm still deciding what I think about it.

It was certainly a very dark book, although they've been getting darker as they go along so that's no real surprise. I feel they stopped being children's books about halfway through the third one, and they've been getting more 'mature' - and darker - ever since. Not necessarily a bad thing in itself, and a trend for which there is precedent - eg, Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House books, while not dark, did get more mature in language and subject matter as the character of Laura matured. The target audience seemed to change partway through the series, and I think it's the same with Harry Potter. I would be happy for an 11-year-old to read the first couple; I wouldn't want them to read the last few until they were a bit older. Or not without reading it with them and talking about it, anyway.

I think what I feel at the moment is relief that it's over! I started reading the Harry Potter series before they became popular, so I've been invested for what feels like a long time. I was happy with the way Rowling tied up the ends she'd left dangling in previous books - all in all, I've been quite impressed with her ability to misdirect without using anvils, and the level of continuity between books. The hints she drops in earlier books are never left hanging, and it's not always obvious they ARE hints, which suggests she had the whole thing planned out thoroughly (unlike some other authors who just keep writing and writing and make you feel like they have no clue what's going to happen... *cough*Wheel of Time series*cough*). There are some things that weren't neatly tied up, but I kind of like that. Life, after all, is not neat and sometimes we never know how things turn out in the end. The major plotlines were tied up acceptably, I thought.

Her writing style tended to waver between 'aimed at adults' and 'aimed at kids', but I think that's almost inevitable when you have teenaged characters involved in very serious and grown up situations. There was a section in the middle of the book that dragged frustratingly, but I'm willing to forgive it because other parts moved along nicely. And I'm happy that she de-sanctified one of the more 'perfect' characters and made them a bit more likably human.

As for the answers to the big questions... "Is Dumbledore really dead?" "Is Snape a baddie or a goodie?" "Does Harry live or die?"... you'll have to read it yourself! Or go on line to find spoilers, but that's a lazy way of doing it and it will wreck the experience of reading the book. Resist!

Anyway, now it's done, and I can confirm that there IS life after Harry Potter.


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