July 21, 2007

759 Pages, No Waiting

I just finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Book 7), which took me several hours while my Internet connection to my website refused to work properly, in any case. For fans of the series, it's a brilliant and definite ending. There is no Sopranos-style artistic ambiguity here; J K Rowling has brought the series to an excellent conclusion.

How did it end? Hah! No spoilers here, at least not for the moment. I'll have more this week, after I'm certain people will have had the opportunity to read it for themselves.

UPDATE: The site had its issues this morning, so my apologies for anyone who had difficulty hitting CQ today. As far as the book review goes, I'll probably have it tomorrow night or Monday morning, with the appropriate protections on spoilers. If you want to find out the fate of Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Snape, Voldemort, or others before then -- you should read the book!


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Comments (22)

Posted by Jason | July 21, 2007 2:51 PM

Spoiler: Voldemort wins!!! MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

(Of course, that's a joke.)

Posted by Scott | July 21, 2007 3:33 PM

I just bought the first six books in paperbook in a set from Amazon for $30. A great deal!

I read on the way home on the commuter train everyday. I have never read any of the Potter books, but I am looking forward these books. Of course I've seen the movies, but reading is a different dimension from movies and almost always a deeper and more personal experience, as you can imagine scenes and characters yourself.

Posted by PK | July 21, 2007 5:00 PM

got one at cosco for $19 on 7-21-07 at 1400.


Posted by Bleepless | July 21, 2007 6:02 PM

The butler did it.

Posted by KendraWilder | July 21, 2007 6:33 PM

Never read the Harry Potter books, haven't seen the movies. For that matter, never read The Lord of the Rings all those years ago when it was all the rage, and haven't seen those movies either.

One thing that irks the heck out of me is when an author leaves things hanging and unresolved to try to ensure that the reader will purchase the next book in what, surprise surprise, is turning into a series, and the next book after that and the next still.

Granted some stories go on forever, and to limit them to 500 pages +/- might seem savage. But unless the author is committed and motivated, one can wait years and years for the story to be picked up again and continued....as happened with Jean Auel's Earth Children series.

It actually started out as one book: Clan of the Cave Bear. But then she found that she couldn't finish the story, so it led to a sequel. It wasn't until much later that it was dubbed as the Earth Children saga. But then, writer's block hit, or life interfered, or some such thing, and there was a gap of several years between the publishing dates of a couple of books in the series. In the meantime, we're left hanging.

I also have a problem with the latest marketing hook being used by writers and/or publishers: Previewing a chapter from an upcoming book at the back of an existing book.

When I designate time to read a book, and with vision problems it takes weeks rather than days to read one for me anymore, or watch a movie, I expect resolution of the story by the ending. To suddenly learn that things are left hanging is maddening to me, to say the least. Part of that is my own fault, granted, because I don't believe in reading all the "reviews" rating books and movies. Even the most careful critique has spoilers of some kind, and I prefer the magic of letting the story unfold without knowing in advance the storyline or theme.

Perhaps this winter, and winters here are six months long, I'll get all the paperbacks available and make it a winter project to read the whole saga from beginning to end. A relative had picked up the last in the series, and I'll borrow that one for closure. Should fill many wonderful hours for several months, and I won't be left hanging for a year or more at a time waiting for the story to continue. :)

Posted by G Charles | July 21, 2007 6:35 PM

I agree with Ed's assessment. A fitting ending, my non-spoiler summation:
Harry and Voldemort? resolved (but not necessarily victorious)
Harry and Snape? all resolved (but not necessarily victorious)
Harry and Close Friends? resolved in each instance
Harry and Parents/life circumstance? resolved
Central Characters' Deaths? adequately clear
Central Characters' Destinies? adequately clear
Seven Horcruxes? resolved (but not necessarily completed)
Deathly Hallows? resolved
Griff's vs. Slyther's? unresolved, but not unsatisfactory

Regarding rumors: major characters die? yep, and many more.
Date Rape: Nope.
Last word "scar": Nope.
Snape turns from evil? Nope.
Harry turns from good? Nope.
Harry dies? Well...read the book.

Posted by Sara | July 21, 2007 8:10 PM

Last night I posted in a comment that my son was taking my Grandson to the Barnes and Noble Harry Potter party scheduled for the release of the book at 12:01 am. I am a proud Grandma today with the announcement that Grandson won the Harry Potter Look-alike Contest, got a free book and a $25 B&N gift certificate, lots of stick on tattoos, a Harry Potter graduation tassle, and lots of goodies to eat.

Posted by karra | July 21, 2007 8:43 PM

I haven't read a one - watched all the movies to date and loved every one of them - guess I'm off the opinion that anything at all that gets kids away from their monitors and reading is of immense value - I can say that because I read the entire Nancy Drew series and even most of the Hardy Boys.

Plus, it is so nice to read about kids lining up for something other than the funerals of their peers. . . .

Posted by Cindy | July 21, 2007 8:51 PM

We took the Junior Logician to get his copy of the book ($17.87 at Wal-Mart) and he would not let go of it! He let go of it long enough to pay for it and then as soon as we got in the car he was reading! This is a kid who last year I had to beg and bribe him to read.....

For that alone I am grateful to JK Rowling.


Posted by Jan | July 22, 2007 9:12 AM

My daughter arrived home from her job at Barnes & Noble at 3 a.m. Saturday after the last customer had (finally!) gone home. The mood in the store was festive, with all of the B&N employees and many customers in costume. The only negative was that someone had printed out spoilers from the internet and scattered them throughout the store - she and several of her co-workers searched the store for them before too many unsuspecting customers got hold of them. Our own "Potter Party" started around 8 a.m. with several of her college-age friends arriving for breakfast, books in hand. By 9 we had kids draped on the furniture and sprawled on the floor, reading. The only sounds you heard were pages turning, along with an occasional gasp, "Nooooo!", chuckle, or (rarely) quiet tears.
Thank you, JK Rowling, for your wonderful gift.

Posted by viking01 | July 22, 2007 9:50 AM

Agreement that Rowling has inspired many to read which is a welcome departure from the listless television / video game culture. Of the Potter books I've read I appreciate there are distinctions of right from wrong while illustrating how things which appear good or bad are not always what they seem to be.

I did think the high speed car chase at the end was a bit predictable after Voldemort becomes an anchor for CBS. (I haven't read the new book yet either.)

Posted by rqballjohn | July 22, 2007 10:45 AM

It ends with all the main characters sitting around a table eating and talking and then the last page is a blank-
signed - Tony Soprano

Posted by Russ | July 22, 2007 11:12 AM

G Charles,

Good analysis, but I think you got one of your final things wrong. The bit with the Penseive and why one young boy received the middle name he did questions the veracity of your conclusion on that one.

Posted by Ray | July 22, 2007 11:38 AM

I am not much of a Harry Potter fan as my interest in magic died out about the same time the Dungeon and Dragons BBS I use to participate in closed two decades ago.

Posted by Bonnie_ | July 22, 2007 2:25 PM

I've been smiling since I finished the book, and wept in church this morning. (I was supposed to be thinking of the sermon, but was thinking of the amazing Christianity of the series, and the beautiful ending.)

I alternately wept and cheered. There is a part (NOT at the end) where I was so numb with grief I had to stop reading for a while. That's a great author for you!

Posted by Russ | July 22, 2007 6:19 PM


Here's a hell of an idea - if you don't want to read the book, then don't. You really have no idea how snobby and elitist you sound, do you?

"I am not much of a Harry Potter fan as my interest in magic died out about the same time the Dungeon and Dragons BBS I use to participate in closed two decades ago."
Yup, died about the same time as your imagination. Go back to reading your legalese pamphlets and whatever other dry materiel you enjoy. The rest of us like a good story.

Posted by unclesmrgol | July 22, 2007 6:53 PM


For the same reason you saw the movies, the books are worth a look. They are richer; it's very hard to cram a 500-800 page book into a screenplay, so something has to be left out. Sometimes, what is left out isn't minor.

They are also different. I read the books and found definite differences in the universe I constructed in my mind and the one later presented by the movie director. Of course, the movies influenced my interpretation of the later books -- it's hard to (re)construct a Hagrid or Ron or Hermione after having them placed before my very eyes.

My spoiler: Severus Snape had six fingers on his left hand, but he isn't called Severus for nothing.

Posted by Ray | July 22, 2007 7:30 PM


Your ad hominid attack on me is unwarranted. I have no interest in the magic genre, and haven't for several years, but I fail to see how that makes me snobby or an elitist. Why are you so insulted by my statement?

Posted by MICHAEL DOOLEY | July 23, 2007 7:18 AM

I love literiture so much I sometimes think I should have majored in English Lit instead of psychology in college. Still I would never stand in line to purchase a book. No matter what it was, any book can be easily bought soon afterward. As it was, I was casually able to get a copy at Wal-Mart late Saturday morning during our weekly grocery shopping. Hundreds of copies were right there by near the front of the store stacked four feet high on wooden pallets.

If the end is leaked, I wouldn't bother me. The Irish simply love the storytelling and the art is in how the story is told and all the elements visited from the first page to the last.

I don't quite understand the knock against the Lord of the Rings trilogy some have delivered. The trilogy has had its own intense following since its publication in the 1950's. (Have you noted how conservative and Catholic The Lord of the Rings is in its essense?) But everything in moderation. Even I didn't spend hours of my time learning Elvish.

The same with the Potter series. Just enjoy the story as it is. Sure. All the hoopla is enough for any decent man or woman to suspect mass hysteria. But the story is the thing. If every other news report is "Harry Potter" and the televised picures of long lines of folk dressed like characters in the Harry Potter books put you off, wait a couple of years and read it then. Its a good read.

Posted by Jan | July 23, 2007 11:46 AM

Ever since my children were little we have chosen to celebrate small things that others might consider to be minor events - whether its the first watermelon of the season (chosen with care at the local Farmer's market and served with great fanfare after dinner), report cards, drivers licenses, first jobs, the release of an eagerly anticipated movie or book, etc. Now that my children are older, many of their happiest memories recall these small celebrations of the everyday. Some would say that we've bought into the Potter hype - but I'll bet in ten years, my kids will still fondly remember their "Potter Party". With all the negative stuff out there, why not have some fun?

Posted by William Tanksley | July 23, 2007 2:19 PM

Ray -- "ad hominid"? I like that. I hope it was deliberate.

The Potter books are fun. They get a little less lighthearted and more dark as the series progresses -- but that was planned from the very start. So was the number of books.

LOTR was planned to be either one book or 7, but got split into 3. Neither story (LOTR nor Potter) is a "never ending story". Read them as they are; it's OVER now.


Posted by malclave | July 24, 2007 12:13 AM

I was most intrigued when Dumbledore's ghost appeared and told Harry that Hermione was his twin sister. Then, the revelation during Harry's duel with Snape that the latter is the former's father!

Towards the end, though, when Voldemort was killing Harry, and Snape just picked up the Dark Lord and threw him down the shaft, blowing up the Death Star...