[DWJ] Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - (spoiler warning)

Aimee Smith aimees001 at gmail.com
Tue Aug 14 03:01:49 EDT 2007

Melissa -


> My first guess is that plot and structure are more closely  
> intertwined here
> than in any of the earlier books; in fact, I'd even say that  
> structure has
> been sacrificed for plot in some cases.  ....  this scene is extremely
> intense--so intense that what comes after is literally anti- 
> climactic, a
> long flat moment in which it's difficult to take any other dangers  
> seriously
> by comparison to what's just happened.

(snip, also your comments about the wedding preparations)

I thought the wedding preparations added to the tension just because  
of it's comparative 'flatness' - I was aware while reading it that it  
was just a place to draw breath, and that the action would be very  
abruptly kicking off again, at any minute... which is what happened.  
The 'big bit in the middle' where nothing seems to happen was a bit  
flat, and it's here it would have been nice to see some of the  
Hogwarts Resistance, or for Harry to have a bit of a dodge-and-run  
with the squads roaming the countryside. But again, I thought that it  
cleverly communicated Harry's isolation and the trio's feelings of  
powerlessness, and allowed for a bit of introspection/relationship  
exploration for the kids. It was a 'show, don't tell' about the  
waiting time that gets cut out of adventure stories but would happen  
in real life... Which is why I am reluctant to write it off, as some  
have, as simply 'bad plotting'. Perhaps it was a bit long, or a bit  
flat. But I can see why it's there. (And if not, perhaps she was  
filling time - books 1-6 detail a year's worth of action).

> And, of course, I was right about Snape.  Mwahahaha.  (You can  
> picture the
> little dance now if you want.)  Initially, I was disappointed that  
> Harry
> learned all about Snape's true motivations after it was too late  
> for him to
> come face to face with him, but on reflection I like it better this  
> way.
> Snape, that overly proud, arrogant, self-contained man, would never  
> have
> stooped to telling Harry the truth that would exonerate him,  
> because it
> would have been too much like opening himself up to James Potter.   
> I can't
> say I think Snape was a truly good person; his personal feelings  
> interfered
> with his teaching Harry Occlumency and thus put Harry (and by  
> extension the
> rest of the Order) in great danger, and he always saw Harry as  
> James's son
> when he could have as easily treated him as Lily's.  But I have  
> tremendous
> respect for him.  I have a soft spot for people or characters who  
> have to
> atone for past behavior--especially if that behavior had irreversible
> effects on someone else--and I feel sympathy for young Severus even  
> as I'm
> frustrated by older Snape's choices.

Just so.
> I'm also a sucker for this kind of thing no matter how cheesy it
> is, but I like seeing Life going on for all these people.

Two words: "Albus Severus". I think I went a bit gooey when I read that.
I am so glad Harry forgave Snape in the end. I knew that would have  
to be one of the things that he would have to do - I thought his  
success would hinge on it, actually. But to name his child after him!  
Snape is such an awesomely drawn character.

His character - and also, surprisingly, Dumbledore's - became so much  
more 3D in this book. The revelations about both of them illustrated  
what I would identify as the central theme of the series (more than,  
or equal to, self-sacrifice), which is that people are not 'all good'  
or 'all bad' - it is, as the latest movie says, our choices that make  
us 'good' or 'bad'. As (forgive me) someone said, Harry's major  
journey in these books is this realisation, tied in with the  
realisation that 'not all people are as they seem to you personally'.  
Or was it, 'not everyone you like is good, and not everyone you hate/ 
hates you is evil'? I was surprised when I saw this theme coming  
through in the series (centering around Snape's complexity, mostly,  
but widening to include Dumbledore during book 7, traveling in the  
other direction, from all-good to flawed). It didn't occur to me  
early on that the series was headed towards the level of maturity and  
sophistication it reached. Even Voldemort, Kathleen pointed out to  
me, turns out to be much more an arrogant, twisted human who made  
wrong choices, rather than the personification of evil itself  
incarnate in human form (Evil Overlord, TM).

I wonder why JKR decided to grow the style she was writing in at the  
same time as she grew the characters - I guess because she wanted to  
reveal growing self/world-awareness as it is revealed to Harry. I  
sure enjoyed the journey, though!

> There are so many other things
> I could talk about, particularly the behavior of Mrs. Weasley at the
> beginning of the book (my husband and I went on and on about this  
> one) or
> the false redemption of Draco Malfoy.

Please do!

> Regardless, I was captivated by the final battle at Hogwarts  
> because so many
> things were going on at once, so many plotlines resolved while the  
> great
> battle was raging.  I mean, Neville became a hero right in front of  
> our
> eyes, and I don't think he even realized it!  (If there was one  
> thing I
> wished we could have seen, even though I knew we couldn't, it was  
> the inside
> of Hogwarts while Harry & Co. were off questing for Horcruxes, when  
> Neville
> and Ginny and Luna and all the others had to become the leaders of  
> that
> fight.)

Oh, yes. Me too!

Thank you so much for the essays, Melissa. Are they online anywhere,  
so that I can link to them on my blog?


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