Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Hallows, Revisited

Recently I finished rereading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I have been reading it as before-bed reading for the past several months. This often resulted in no more than 3 pages being reading before I passed out, but it was always a fun endeavor. I remember talking to a good friend of mine 6 months after the book was released, and though she'd gotten it when it first came out, she was had yet to finish it. I couldn't believe it. It seemed like madness, Even at my snail's pace on the re-read, I finished it in less time than she did - and I already knew what was gonna happen! I told her she was kicked out of Hogwarts for lack of dedication. She was sad.

I have reread all the Harry Potter books several times over the past few years (before books 5, 6, and 7 came out, i went through the entire series again to get back up to speed on the plot details) but I had only read Deathly Hallows the one time, the day it came out, in less than 24 hours. I did so not solely because I was a rabid fan, but also because I could not handle the constant threat of spoilers and did not trust myself to avoid the internet for any extended period of time.

I love Deathly Hallows. I think it's a fantastic novel and an amazing conclusion to a story so deeply thoughtout and well constructed over 7 books and 7 years consecutive years of these characters' lives. I frankly don't understand anyone who won't pick these books up. I get the initial resistance of pop-culture phenomenon, but this is one of those rare cases where great art is easily accessible without diminshing it's worth. And please don't tell me you prefer watching your fantasy instead of reading about it. Grow an imagination and appreciate the craft of language and storytelling. The draw isn't just weird names and magic spells. Don't think you're to good for Rowling's prose. You ain't.

The book still held many surprises the second time through. The Gringotts chapter especially made a lot more sense to me this time. And Neville was even more of a bad-ass than I'd remembered. (Woohoo!) The deaths were still all very upsetting, and I got very emotional at key places as I had the first time through. Another benefit to reading more slowly was that the introduction and explanation of the Hallows made more sense when not blasting through those key chapters in a matter of hours. "NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU BITCH!" managed to still send a good shiver of excitement and grief and fear up and down my spine. It's really a beautiful tale of love and not succumbing to fear on both a personal and societal level. And it's got some great spells. If you were like me and powered your way through 700 pages of the Potterverse at an ungodly pace, I suggest you go back and it read it at your leisure. It's worth it. Aii is well.

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