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

Dorian E. Gray israfel at eircom.net
Tue Aug 14 15:19:48 EDT 2007

Aimee replied to Melissa...
> 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).

Yes, I thought that part was actually quite well done.  It communicated very 
clearly what your average quest fantasy doesn't - the boredom, the 
discomfort, the irregular and badly cooked meals, the 
getting-on-each-other-nerves that you really would have with a small group 
of people travelling the country on foot with a tent (though their tent is 
at least a bit more comfortable than the average quest-fantasy-character's 

Also, just when I was muttering "quit with the stravaging around the 
country; it's time something happened!" - something did!  So I think she 
actually paced that very well, too.
>> 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.

My disappointment there was that I wanted Snape to die heroically, 
sacrificing himself to get Harry a clear shot at Voldemort, or something of 
that order, and instead his death was this sort of casual, "nothing 
personal, I just need to kill you so I can be the boss of this wand" thing. 
It felt very wasteful.

But then I thought yes, but that's Voldemort all over.  He *does* casually 
kill people, and it makes sense that he would do this to Snape.  And Snape 
did still get to help save the day by giving Harry his memories before he 

>> I can't
>> say I think Snape was a truly good person;

He wasn't.  But he wasn't a truly bad person either.  That's one of the 
reasons I love him as a character more than any of the others; he has so 
much more complexity (at least in the earlier books) than most of them.

> 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'?

Elizabeth Moon looks at this idea in "The Deed of Paksenarrion", and I have 
to say that I think Rowling handles it better.  I do like Moon's work, but I 
don't think characterisation is her greatest strength.  The ambiguity I 
think she's trying to present in the character of Barra just doesn't come 
across to me, and the other characters' lectures to Paks on the theme of 
"just because you like someone doesn't mean they're good" fall completely 
flat because of this.

Rowling, on the other hand, gives us a character who behaves in a thoroughly 
nasty way a lot of the time, but also does good things, and leaves us 
scratching our heads and going "so is he a good guy or not?", which works 
much better.

>> or
>> the false redemption of Draco Malfoy.

That's something I'd like to hear your thoughts on.

Until the sky falls on our heads...

Dorian E. Gray
israfel at eircom.net

"Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake."
- Napoleon Bonaparte 

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