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23 July 2007 @ 10:28 am
Deathly Hallows!!  
I tore through Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows this weekend -- no, I didn't do a straight-through shot, since I started it around 23:00 or so. I read a dozen chapters, crashed for a few hours, then got up early to dive right in again.

You know how, sometimes, a bad final installment can ruin a terrific series, ragging the rest of the saga down so that you can't even remember the parts you liked without a sour taste in your mouth?

Deathly Hallows does the reverse. It wraps the whole thing into one unified, coherent whole that actually does rate the much-abused term "epic", and manages to redeem the weaker volumes of the Potter saga in the process.

As an aside, I confess that having it come out so soon after the movie version of Order of the Phoenix might help in that redemption. The fifth movie is an improvement on the fifth book, in no small part because the writer, the director, and most the actor conveyed a Harry whose moodiness seemed far more due to Post-Traumatic Stress than Emo Teenage Wangst.

Sometimes, I think that Daniel Radcliffe understands Harry better than Rowling does.

Back to Book 7, though. I just can't help sharing some of my favorite lines... but I'll be good, and put them behind a cut tag.

I loved the way that Rowling made it clear that the reason Wizards went underground in the first place, after the Inquisition, was that Muggles are dangerous -- and three or four centuries has only made them more dangerous.

This scene, in particular, will always stand out:

Harry opened the door carefully. The Room of Requirement was stark white this time, and featureless. He entered, and closed the door behind him. "I need guns," he said, and a rack of guns whooshed in from nowhere. "Lots of guns," he added, and the room filled with rack after rack of the deadliest firearms known to Muggle science.

But, oh, the climax:

Wracked with pain, Harry raised himself to one knee, and growled, "Mom always liked me best, you son of a bitch!" In one smooth motion, he drew the Muggle-made revolver from beneath his robe and shot Voldemort through the heart.

True brilliance.

(Cookies for anyone who gets the second reference.)
I feel: jubilantjubilant
ArchTeryxarchteryx on July 23rd, 2007 05:35 pm (UTC)
Harry Potter vs. Neo! The Chosen One vs. The One! Cage match at 10pm Eastern!
Pyatpyat on July 23rd, 2007 05:41 pm (UTC)
Sheer brilliance, I agree! :)
scarfman on July 23rd, 2007 05:47 pm (UTC)

Your cut code is screwed.

scarfman on July 23rd, 2007 05:48 pm (UTC)
Ah, you corrected as I commented.
Your Obedient Serpentathelind on July 23rd, 2007 05:49 pm (UTC)
That WAS part of the joke, but after someone screeched at me on FurryMUCK about it, I changed it.
Araquan Skytraceraraquan on July 23rd, 2007 07:01 pm (UTC)
*screech screech screech*
scarfman on July 24th, 2007 01:44 am (UTC)

It restores my opinion of you to learn you'd done it on purpose.

Pakapaka on July 23rd, 2007 05:58 pm (UTC)
Of course I get the second reference. I actually like Bakshi films.
Your Obedient Serpent: hoard potatoathelind on July 23rd, 2007 06:17 pm (UTC)
I like that one.

'Course, I was 13 when it came out, and it was my first real exposure to Sword & Sorcery. I'd read Lewis and some TOlkien, but I didn't start playing D&D for another year.

When I did, between Wizards and Kamandi, my settings tended to be post-apocalyptic wastelands instead of distant-past fantasy forests.
ebony14 on July 23rd, 2007 07:54 pm (UTC)
Wow. I never dreamed anyone would ever credit both Bakshi and Kirby as inspiration. Nice.

Personally, I liked the book version of OotP, because of the teenage wangst. It seemed quite appropriate to me that Harry, at 16 and facing all the bullshit that came of the Tri-Wizard Cup, would turn into a pissy, angry young man. God knows that teenagers have done it for less.
Your Obedient Serpentathelind on July 26th, 2007 06:46 pm (UTC)
Oh, I agree that Harry had every RIGHT to be a pissy, angry 15-year-old in the book AND the movie. It's just that the MOVIE does a rather better job of CONNECTING that pissiness to the events of Goblet of Fire. Rowling's Harry JUST comes off as pissy; Radcliffe's comes off as traumatized and struggling to recover himself.
doc_mysterydoc_mystery on July 23rd, 2007 07:22 pm (UTC)
Nod, the final book does neatly wrap up a lot of loose ends.

While had a good chuckles at your faux quotes, the gamer in me is puzzled why Muggle-constructed weapon's weren't used in the final battle of the Second Wizarding War against Voldemort.

Your Obedient Serpentathelind on July 23rd, 2007 07:35 pm (UTC)
Me, too, honestly. I mean, my comments AREN'T entirely tongue-in-cheek: Rowling makes it clear more than once IN THIS BOOK that the reason the Wizarding world went underground is because Muggles are dangerous when they know what's going on.

I'm almost tempted to lock this up as REAL spoilers, because making that line of thought into a JOKE reveals that Rowling DIDN'T go that way.

She could have done so without really undercutting the theme and tone of the series -- namely, that folks like Voldemort both underestimate and secretly fear the mundane world.
velvetpage on July 23rd, 2007 07:44 pm (UTC)
So, do you want on my filter then?

Never mind, you're added. :)
atomicdumbass on July 23rd, 2007 09:19 pm (UTC)
Muggle Pride!
I read it too. And yeah, where's the Muggle tech? Give Harry a broomstick, night-vision goggles, an invisibility cloak and a sniper rifle. Tell Harry he's using tranquilizer darts if he gets all moral.

I'm glad Rowling made it clear that Muggles are trouble. Otherwise one takes the wizarding world at face value: snottily proud of their 15th-century lifestyle with its secretive magical flourishes.

Ever build a nuclear submarine, Merlin? How about infrastructures that feed billions? I'm sure the magical squabbles that pass for wars are entertaining...how about taking down a real villain, like Hitler? How about killing off smallpox, or vaccinating against polio?

Ever go the MOON?

It was disappointing that the Muggles didn't have more of a showing in the series as a whole; they seem to exist as objects of ridicule or faceless body count. It has to be that way, though; a platoon of marines would have cooked Voldemort's goose quite effectively. I'm betting "Protego" doesn't work against assault rifles. "Expelliarmus" either.

Uh...but I liked it...
(Deleted comment)
Your Obedient Serpent: clobberin' timeathelind on July 23rd, 2007 09:39 pm (UTC)
Re: Muggle Pride!
That makes him a Terrist, which means we can unleash Kiefer Sutherland on him.
Hafochafoc on July 24th, 2007 04:55 am (UTC)
Y'know, references to the movie _Wizards_ aside, I have to wonder why HP and Co. were unable to come up with one marksman armed with a Barrett sniper rifle. To mangle a quote, no matter how powerful the magician, he will be seriously inconvenienced by a .50 caliber FMJ spire-pointed bullet passing through his head at about 2700 feet per second.

As I said in my own review, I found the book a little disappointing. Without spoilers, I guess I can say it isn't the characters or the action that bother me so much as the world. I don't see how JKW could have done other than she did, though, except maybe to cut 100, 150 pages or so out of the middle of the book. Heh. I'm SO BLASTED GOOD at telling the billionaires where they went wrong, sayeth Mr. Negative Net Worth... :D