July 26, 2007
On the Fourth night, Stephen was finished. Stephen looked around, and he was pleased. For JK Rowling had once again put together a stunning, compelling, engrossing novel about the intersection of the worlds of wizards, witches and wizards. About the horrors of warfare. About growing up, about enduring friendship, about dedication and follow-through. But who really knew what a hallow is? Here I was, thinking until the answer was revealed, about a wide shallow wooded area... but that's a hollow (or copse), not a hallow.
I think we're all agreed that Dobby's death was the saddest of them all. Some people feel like there were too many deaths. Those people haven't been paying attention to the war in Iraq: people die in a war. And yes, like Lupin & Tonks, many of those deaths come with out explanation, they are "senseless." I suspect Rowling wanted us to really appreciate how much Voldemort's evil really impacted the world.
I was pleased that there were a number of good light moments, where you could see that life continues much as normal, if only for a few moments, even in terrible circumstances. I didn't laugh too much after the first 100 pages, but there was Percy's return and Molly's anger at Bellatrix, among other things. The wonderful symmetry, subtly played, of Harry swooping down on the broom to rescue Malfoy. Ron asking about the house elves...
One comment I've heard is that there wasn't enough dénouement. Others thought what we got was cheesy. I felt neither — in fact, I was actively pleased with the way she wrapped things up. Yes, there is something to be said about seeing how the wizard and muggle communities deal with the aftermath. Tolkien did that with the return to the Shire. And yes, maybe some avenues for future fiction are ruled out (but not really) when we see the two families years later.
But after all, this was a story about Harry and his friends. We can imagine the repercussions. They can be filled in with encyclopedia entries or short stories. After all that darkness, after the kids not knowing if they would reach adulthood even, it felt satisfying to know that they were able to live their lives, staying together and close. And I must say, I really appreciated that even Draco Malfoy could look at Harry with a respectable nod. For this reader, the ending was just right.
Having finished Hallows and having recently watched Order of the Phoenix, I'm interested in hearing your take: what will be cut? Clearly some things will have to be cut. This might be the most difficult of the longer books to whittle down; almost everything has significance later down the line. To get things started: I believe the opening scene with the Dursleys will be cut; indeed, it may make sense to open with Harry's wand & Voldo outside the safe haven.