Thursday, July 26, 2007

Harry Potter: the end or a beginning?

OK - I finished late last night. Time to discuss it. I'd love to hear your reflections and theories. Those who don't want spoilers can avoid the comments. This was certainly the most theological volume of the series.

15 comments:

Yanmato said...

......So who died?

Mind Pope's Lair- blog + Mind Pope = 27

byron said...

'Who didn't die?' is more like it. A Hamletesque blood bath.

Drew said...

Yeah, it was quite sad at points.

And Snape... Ahh.

I'm pretty sure that there was a point where Dumbledore says 'there are worse things than death' but when I tried to find it again, I couldn't.

Also, fascinating play on the idea of giving one's life in order to save it. In fact that verse - on what profit is it to gain the whole world if he loses his soul - could sum up quite a lot.

Moffitt the Prophet said...

Is this the only volume that quotes the bible? (despite not mentioning it).

Rob said...

It was amazing, Byron! I didn't think it a small coincidence that the chapter immediately after Harry's self-sacrifice is entitled 'King's Cross.' Rowling has provided an exemplary Christ figure in Potter, whose death protects his friends and who rises again for the sake of others.

Deathly Hallows was definitely the most riveting of all the novels, at least for me. One moment that will remain with me is when Harry is at King's Cross and Dumbledore greets him with, "You good boy. You brave, brave man." His journey to adulthood, and to the realization of what is most important, is finished, and it's one we can take with us.

Thank you Jo Rowling!

byron said...

Moffitt - yes. I am hoping to post on her use of the Bible.

Drew - I also intend to comment on her worse than death quote.

And Rob - I can't believe I missed that quote from Dumbledore. It would have been perfect for my thesis a few years ago (looking at the representation of children and childhood in Potter/Narnia).

Alastair said...

There were so many interesting things about this book that I really wouldn't know where to start. Three things that I thought were pretty cool:

1. The bells ring in Christmas Day and we immediately have a flashback of Voldemort seeking to kill the infant Harry, the one who is prophesied to bring his downfall. I knew that Rowling wanted to draw our attention to something by the reference to the bells ringing in Christmas Day, but it took a little while for me to see this.

2. Harry's temptation to pursue a 'crossless' victory by means of the Deathly Hallows. There seems to be some sort of allusion to the temptations of Christ. Christ must not presume upon the protection of His Father. While He faithfully pursued His mission He was protected and walked through the midst of His enemies on a number of occasions as if invisible. For the last battle, however, the cloak of His Father's protection was removed.

It is much the same with Harry. He is ministered to by the spirits as he approaches death — Peter (the impetuous Sirius), James (his father), John (Remus John Lupin) and his mother, but He must face the final enemy singlehanded. Also offered the Elder Wand, the rod of power, he must not grasp at it. It will be given into his hand at the appropriate time, after he has laid down his life.

3. The disarming of Voldemort.

"I’ve done what my mother did. They’re protected from you. Haven’t you noticed how none of the spells you put on them are binding? You can’t torture them. You can’t touch them. You don’t learn from your mistakes, Riddle, do you?"

Brilliant!

psychodougie said...

i thought him changing from harry to harold and becoming an investment banker, giving away all that magic-tomfoolery, was quite a turn for the better, however unexpected...

h. goldsmith said...

a few days after finishing it, i ran across a blurb in time magazine in which lev grossman says:

"If you want to know who dies in Harry Potter, the answer is easy: God." (full text here.

he either hadn't read it yet, or wasn't paying attention.

h. goldsmith said...

man, that missing close parenthesis is going to bug me ...

Anonymous said...

sorry to gatecrash your blog like this -- I saw the discussion of the increased Christian stuff all through the last Harry Potter book and couldn't help myself. So many biblical references on top of the long-standing resurrection motif - and the 'King's Cross' touch was brilliant. One thing though -- carrying on from Alistair's point #2 -- is Rowling making some sort of etymological wink & nudge with the word 'horcrux'. Crux = cross of course, but does 'hor' signify anything, in French or anything?

[adam -- came to this site by following a couple blog links - sister's blog to jubilee man to here. Great blog by the way Byron -- I can tell I'll be reading lots of stuff on your blog]

Hecta said...

'hors' is 'out of' and 'outside' in French as in hors d'oevre and hors concours

remylow said...

i liked Harry's use of a nonviolent spell (expellairmus) versus the full force of Voldy's deadly Avada Kedavra. Good to see Harry not sink to the level of using the killing curse.

It bugs me though, how liberally he used the Imperius curse and the Cruciatus curse. Do the ends justify the means? (torture?! even if it was a death eater...)

And Molly Weasley killing Bellatrix? Hmmmm...

byron said...

Alastair - Yes, I hadn't noticed the bells.

Doug - that surprised me too.

h. goldsmith - thanks for the link to a disappointing article.

Thanks Adam and Hecta for the suggestions about horcruxes. I think I was confused because I remembered that seven had been mentioned in Half-Blood Prince, but it was seven pieces of soul, only six horcruxes (the 7th piece was in Voldy himself). Thus, the revelation was actually that there were 8 pieces of soul.

remylow - this really bugged me too, esp since they are 'unforgivable' curses, which land the user in Azkaban. A little like telling a story of killing Osama with suicide-bombers.

remylow said...

An interesting postscript by J.K. Rowling filling in the period between the end and the [cheesy] epilogue.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,291432,00.html