Archive for Friday, July 27, 2007

Hallowed ground

Lawrence readers reflect on final ‘Harry Potter’

July 27, 2007

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"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" was released just days ago, setting publishing records and satiating rabid fans of J.K. Rowling's bewitching series. Did the literary finale aggravate or delight local readers? Were they pleased with the fates of Harry, Snape and He Who Must Not Be Named? We asked readers to weigh in with their own opinions of the concluding novel. Warning: Reviews may contain spoilers, so read at your own discretion.

Benjamin Preheim, 16

J.K. Rowling's beloved book series comes to a dramatic conclusion in the seventh and final chapter, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows." "Deathly Hallows" is not like any other book Rowling has ever written. Many other books are full of wondrous strange devices and happenings, and always have a bit of comic relief - a visit to Diagon Alley, or Fred and George Weasley's constant antics, or even Hogwarts itself, which is consciously absent from the first two-thirds of the book. "Deathly Hallows" is far grittier and nastier, as death and destiny overshadow mirth and magic, as the eternal trio, Harry, Ron and Hermione, search for the Horcruxes of Lord Voldemort, and unravel the mystery of the mysterious initials R.A.B. Along the way, they find out whether or not Severus Snape is good, bad or toeing the line between. All the questions just make this an even better read as you race to find the answer to the many questions that Rowling leaves us with. All in all, two thumbs way, way up for "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows."

Zach Silvers, 14

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" is a stroke of genius! This book truly shows the growth of all the characters that we have grown to love. Harry is probably the character that shows the most development. In the first book, Harry was frightened of mounting a broom. But in this book, Harry knowingly not only faces Voldemort but also death itself. J.K. Rowling has once again proved herself as one of the greatest authors of our time.

By Paisley Martin, 13

I thought that "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" was, to tell you the truth, really intense. I think that J.K. Rowling did a wonderful job of closing the door, while at the same time, pleasing most of her readers. I was very impressed on how the book turned out, if not quite depressed, because it's just really sad that Fred dies, and Lupin and Tonks. Snape's past really surprised me a lot. It was kind of odd to find out that Harry's mortal enemy/mean teacher loved his mom. It's kind of weird, actually. Anyway, the part that I liked most was probably the epilogue. Rowling, I think, did a fantabulous job with, not just this book, but also books 1-6. Cheers for Harry and all his friends and family, loved and some lost, forever there, and always ready.

By Aaron Polson, 32

I have never approached reading a book with more anticipation and anxiety as I did "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows." The six previous books had been a wonderful adventure, one that I wanted to share with two my sons when they were old enough. Would J.K. Rowling end the series in a manner that would taint my experience of Harry's world?

Not for an instant.

As the climactic installment of a seven-book series, the book yields no respite. The book has moments full of fear and dread, loneliness, joy - it draws tears as well as laughter from the reader. Surely, the millions around the world that consumed its 700-plus pages in a day or two is a testament to the summons of this book to be read voraciously.

"Deathly Hallows" has a feeling of inevitability throughout. The beauty of Rowling's final installment (and a tribute to her skill as a writer) is that in Harry's world, the inevitable is never redundant, predictable or trite. Events that seemingly must occur do so with a magic that is fitting the fantastic world in which they happen.

Just as with any epic tale, the conclusion is not the real reason for telling the story. The importance of the tale is the journey. This is one journey that has left me pleasantly satisfied, and eager for my boys to appreciate the magic of "Harry Potter."

Molly Krishtalka, 19

And so the series ends. Harry, Ron, Ginny and Hermione live happily ever after - and procreate abundantly - in a world that stinks of Pleasantville. That makes sense, right? For the most part, I loved the seventh book. I "aww"ed over the budding romances between Ron and Hermione, and Ginny and Harry, and appreciated the humanization of the almost godlike Albus Dumbledore, who in many ways was the main character of the seventh book. His secrets, mistakes, dreams - essentially his life - determined the action of the seventh book and Harry's development. I was also fascinated by the comparisons of the Ministry under Voldemort to Nazi Germany.

But, even as I gleefully confirmed my suspicions that Snape was a "good guy" all along, I could not help but feel slightly gypped. Harry's miraculous survival of the death curse felt contrived, and the sudden deaths of Remus Lupin, Nymphadora Tonks and Fred Weasley were seemingly haphazard. Rowling tends to kill off characters whose deaths later impact the plot significantly, but these characters apparently die just to up the body count. As for Harry, it felt like Rowling intended to kill Harry but did not either because she could not or because of plans to continue the franchise. The forced, vague and entirely too-saccharine epilogue makes this more apparent. Although Rowling has once again proved her writing chops, the ending leaves much to be desired, and I personally would not be surprised if Rowling reappears in three years with a new addition to the "Harry Potter" franchise.

Thomas Bollig, 14

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" is the last book in the critically acclaimed "Harry Potter" series. Sadly, the book is shorter than "Order of the Phoenix," but it's still a long book. If you look back at all of the other "Harry Potter" books, there's always a building point, and then at the end, things flip around in a way you'll never think of. This book is no different, which is a good thing, because all of the other "Harry Potter" books were good.

This book features lots of returning characters, but few new characters. The action is exciting and well-paced, so you're never bored. Because this is the last book, it ends things very well and also features an epilogue, which is 19 years after the last chapter. Even this leaves questions, which is another opportunity for another book. All that remains is for J.K. Rowling to write it.

Hannah M. Angelone, 14 Of the seven spectacular novels by J.K. Rowling, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" is surely her grandest yet. July 21, 2007 was the day the world held its breath in silent anticipation of the final piece of Rowling's master puzzle. And when all were able to breathe at last, they were certainly not disappointed. Rowling outdid herself yet again as she plunged readers into the epic wizarding world. With heightened action and danger, Rowling took her readers on an adventure they are sure never to forget. It was with all her beloved characters that readers journeyed into the amazing and perilous. With them, those readers laughed and cried, discovered and were awed. She again created a world that is magically written to captivate anyone and everyone who picked up the book and turned to the first page. The only flaw in Rowling's adventures is once they get going, you don't want then to end. But though all good things must eventually come to a close, readers will agree that "Deathly Hallows" makes sure the series goes out in style - Rowling Style. And so it is with the magic of Rowling's imagination and her characters' hearts of gold that readers worldwide step out of the cupboard once more, and laugh, cry, discover and awe, one last time.

Kim Carter, 14 The "Harry Potter" series has become, in many minds, one of the best series ever written. The "Harry Potter" books not only got me into reading but invited me into a completely different world. Yet when I picked up the last book I knew that I wouldn't be going back into the comforting halls of Hogwarts. The seventh and final book, filled with death, danger and dilemmas was on a completely different level. Not only was it by far the darkest book, it contained many mind-boggling twists and turns. "Harry Potter 7" was an exquisite book, but it was totally confusing at some points. The book, although put together very nicely, seemed to be packed full of information and overwhelming for one person to read. Jumping from problem to problem and place to place this book was a thriller for all ages. The book was written amazingly and kept the reader going but also gave the thought process a workout. And when I was finished, I had that great pride and was instantly in love with the book. Although the seventh "Harry Potter" book left many readers wanting more it was by far the best book in the series and I would recommend it. But although the series came to a close, Harry still remains with each and every one of his readers in their hearts.

Dravid Joseph, 15

Often, sequels of any series are weaker than the original. One has to look no further than Lemony Snicket's "A Series of Unfortunate Events," or Eoin Colfer's "Artemis Fowl" series to prove this point. However, J.K Rowling avoids the curse of sequels throughout this series, and "Deathly Hallows" is again no exception. In fact, this is definitely the strongest book in the series due to its darker tone and dramatic finish.

Prior to the book being released, I made the prediction that Voldemort would die (can you imagine how Rowling would end the book otherwise?) and that Harry would die as well. I was right -- sort of! Although Harry does survive in the end, he goes through a series of events that help Rowling semi-avoid the cliche of the hero surviving and the antagonist dying, although she didn't avoid it entirely. The epilogue, though, was rather weak. I believe this was more of a device for Rowling to prevent her from writing any more Harry Potter books more than anything else. Leaving the ending to the reader's imagination would have sufficed.

On a more positive note, I do like how Rowling erased characters that were integral throughout the series, since this gives the book a much deeper feel and properly ends the story.

By avoiding the usual traps that authors face when writing a series, "Deathly Hallows" is amazingly the strongest novel of the various "Harry Potter" sequels.

Comments

Christian Hinton 8 years ago

Hahaha.

The opinions of the under-15 crowd were extremely varied and enlightening.

Like, OMG! It's totally the best thing ever!

lbsteffen 8 years ago

Wow, thanks Molly for ruining the ending for those people who haven't read it yet. Great Job, I am sure my room mate who hasn't read it yet will be OH SO HAPPY to know the ending that I wouldn't give her! Bravo!

bastet 8 years ago

Ibsteffen,

There was a spoiler alert, and besides that, any article that offers a review of people's opinions is naturally going to have spoilers. If you don't want to know, don't take the chance of reading the article in the first place. Lighten up. Molly was pretty articulate in her assessment and spot on with the epilogue.

mom_of_three 8 years ago

So i must be one of the few people in the world who were disappointed with this book. i thought it was one of the worst ones of the series. Parts of it were great, but overall.....it was okay.

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