Sunday, November 04, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Rant

First off, I'll say *SPOILERS* ahead because a friend posted some general comments on his blog a few weeks ago that I claimed constituted a major spoiler and he said did not. Well, having finished the novel, I'll just say, yes, it was a spoiler. You didn't give away the precise details of the end of the novel, but the substance of the ending was as I anticipated from your comments both in terms of the nature of the action you mentioned and the character who made it.

Okay, on with my comments, which have nothing to do with Dumbledore's newly revealed sexual orientation.

Unlike the object of some of my recent rants, I didn't hate this book or the series. I did think it was overdone. I'll also qualify this by saying my wife and I read this book aloud, an experience of which is always different from speed reading.

3) Deux-ex-machidobbyscar. The Dobby thing just turned into a too convenient Deux-ex-Machina. How many times did Rowling write the heroes into a corner only to use the house elves to get them out? At least twice in this book. The scar (which is forever throbbing, screaming, burning, leaving him in pain, agony, and sweats) also became an overused device to bring in offstage action and tie a plot together.

2) Magic and monologues. When Harry and You-Know-Who-Riddle are circling, circling, circling, circling, circling, I kept waiting for the jet from the Incredibles to come and suck him up by his invisibility cloak into the Island of Lost Batman Villains. Yeah, we get it, he was a Horcrux. The idea was on the Internet before the book became out and we had the entire idea set out in the dream sequence. Yet we have to have Harry go over and over to Riddle with a "There's one thing you don't know" speech. Which raises another point...this whole magic thing doesn't make sense to me. If the Death Eaters can put a curse on a particular word that alerts them to whenever anyone speaks it why limit it just to "Voldemort"? Going all the way back to the last book...if you've got time to freeze Harry under a cloak, you've got time to freeze Draco coming after you. Why is nobody watching these guys circling, circling, circling, throwing in a spell. Oh, I konw, there are shield charms over them or whatever. It's all just sort of convoluted to avoid the question of why Harry can't just use the invisibility cloak to get the drop on Voldemort and why whoever gets first spell doesn't always win.

1) Stylistics. Not since Stephen King wrote his valentine to Hannibal has he given a more preposterous review than when he said Rowling had turned herself into one of the preeminent stylists of her generation. The books are imaginative and characters memorable. As a plotter, she is first rate. As a stylist? Repeated phrases and whole sections. The books are increasingly bloated and the last one with all Dumbledore's "You are the better man" move from the over-ripe to the mushy. I've had more than one person suggest to me that the overwrought quality of the prose is an echo of the overwrought emotional quality of teens who are the protagonists. Maybe. Though the ending seems to portray Harry as having arrived at manhood and doesn't leave me suggesting that she is writing for teens about teens.

I suppose I should follow up on the last and the post in general by saying there is a difference between being horrible and being average and being exceptional. The books are mostly satisfying and I'm glad I read them and all, but...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

hello! i just came across your blog and i just had a couple things to say to your blog.

first of all i would have to agree with you in that J.K. Rowling is not a stylist. she is just a really good story teller.

the death eaters jinx the word "Voldemort" because anyone who is afraid of him or his death eaters will not use his name defiantly and will refer to him as "you-know-who" or "he-who-must-not-be-named." the death eaters know that only the true rebels against voldemort will say his name in defiance of the fear it has always had. this way they would always be able to locate those who are against the dark lord and capture or kill them.

also, going back to the sixth book. harry potter was frozen because he was not meant to be a part of the plan in the first place. this way frozen and under the invisibility cloak, he is unable to participate in the dispute. if dumbledore had in fact frozen draco malfoy, his plan with snape would have not taken place. he knew that draco would not have the guts to kill him, so freezing him was unnecessary.

Harry could not attack Voldemort under his invisibility cloak because he was a horcrux. he had to voluntarily allow voldemort to kill him without fighting back in order for that part of voldemort's spirit to die. attacking him unknowingly would defeat that purpose.