Sunday, August 05, 2007

Harry Potter Spoilers- Seriously

It's time for some real Harry Potter talk. If you haven't finished it- hello! It's been 2 weeks, how slow do you read?? Just bookmark this page and come back later.
Now I will make happy little marks to give you spoiler room...

h= is for harry

It's Harry Potter time!

When the last book ended I think most people (or at least those in my group of friends that discussed it) knew the original locket was going to be with Regulus Black. I have to admit I was just a bit disappointed when it was with him. I was hoping JKR had a trick up her sleeve on that one.

Actually, as much as I loved the book, I kept hoping JKR had more tricks up her sleeve. But most of the twists and turns were "formattable" - or typical of her style. And in several cases, completely predictable.

I had to admit about 500 pages into the book (or for my Mormon friends "while they were dwelling in a tent in the wilderness") I started to get bored and annoyed. I wanted more to happen than just Harry and Hermione picking their noses. But by the time I finished the book I started to realize that one of JKR's finest talents is her ability to make the reader feel like the hero. Without telling us to feel like Harry, we did feel like him, whether we knew it or not. We were tired of being in a tent with nothing happening. We wanted a big duel. We wanted the big hero moment. Which is exactly what Harry (and Hermione) was feeling at that time.

I thought it was interesting that Umbridge was back and played a significant part. We always knew she was Ministry-centric, but it was never 100% clear if she was a Death Eater or just Fudge-obsessed. I liked that it was made clear she was in cahoots with the Death Eaters (by having Mad Eye's mad eye). But a Death Eater that doesn't recognize Slytherin's symbol? A little hard to believe.

Did anyone else catch during the wedding scene when Aunt Muriel makes a few comments about Ginevra? She tells Ron his hair is too long and that she thought he was Ginevra. And then says that Ginevra's dress is too low cut. The first time I read it I just figured Ginevra was a Weasley cousin and otherwise unmentioned cousin. Now that I'm re-reading it, i just realized Ginevra is Ginny's real name.

Sometimes I love JKR's subtle details. Also at the wedding they boys talk about their Uncle Bilius. Did anyone catch that just prior to the wedding when Scrimgeour reads them the will that Bilius is Ron's middle name?

I thought having Mad-Eye die was a bit of a stretch. He's the least likely Auror to ever make a mistake, you know? But I suppose someone had to die early on and it set up an even stronger dislike of Mundungus, so it worked. I predicted one of the twins would die, and I predicted Dobby would die. I was surprised to be right on both counts. By the end of the book I inevitably realized Lupin was going to have to die as well. That effectively took out all of Harry's parent-like figures. Except it bothered me that she didn't kill off Mrs. Weasley. Mrs. Weasley has over and over again proven to be the most parent-like figure in Harry's life, without a strong connection to his parents. It seemed it was crucial that his parent's inner circle had to be killed off. Why? I'm not so sure.

I liked that Ron and Hermione were not necessarily a couple throughout the book. And I was a little disappointed in the last chapter when they were married. It was just too simple and obvious. I would have liked Hermione to go on single and accomplish more things.

Did anyone else read JKR's interview with the Today Show all the spoilers and post-story details? Harry goes on to be an Auror. Hermione works in Magical Law Enforcement. But it is only implied that Ron works at the Ministry as well. In another interview that I can't find the source of, it says Ron goes on to work with his brother at the magic shop. Somehow I like that better.

If you ever doubt the amazing detail of JKR, you have to look into true name definitions--
Albus- Latin for white. According to it also means wise protector.
Bellatrix- female warrior
Harry/Harold- army ruler
Hermione- earthly messenger
Draco- serpent
Lucius- light, bringer of light. In this case not a spiritual light, but his hair qualifies! As does his peacock.
Ronald- Ruler's counselor
Minerva- goddess of wisdom. Sounds like Prof. McGonagall to me!
Sirius- dog star
Alastor- defender of mankind
Aragog- giant spider
Hedwig- refuge in battle
Godric- God's power

Just a few of the names that she picked for their meanings.

I'd love some feedback!


  1. jules4:58 PM

    I read the transcript of a live chat she did, where she talks about how everyone ends up. I thought she said Ron and Harry work together in the Auror office--Ron worked in the joke shop for a bit but he and Harry ended up revitalizing the ministry.

    An interesting point brought up, which indicates how well plotted her novels were from the very beginning, is that the ministry had long been corrupt, and their working with dementors to begin with was one of the signs.

    I tried not to think too much about my own predictions as I read. I was reminded that she's not a brilliant wordsmith, and she was writing for young adults, but she is a master plotsmith. She tied up the loose ends that needed to be tied, and she gave Harry the family and mundane life he always wanted. And I love the name Ginevra!

  2. Perry6:19 PM

    Great list of names - the meanings you list agree with what I've read elsewhere. I thought there was a great new name used in the last book. You'll recall that we met Luna Lovegood's father, Xenophilius Lovegood. Xeno- is Latin for "foreign" or "strange", and phil- is Greek for "love of". I worked out that his name means Strangelove Lovegood. Since he is a rather eccentric person that ended up having his house destroyed by an explosive that he brought home himself, I couldn't help but think that it was a reference to the movie _Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb_.

    As to the story, I also kind of found some of the story points to be predictable. I expected Wormtail to die in some fashion because of his debt to our heroes. I expected Neville Longbottom to emerge as an "unexpected hero", a la Samwise Gamgee (Neville's last name was even borrowed from Tolkien). I expected a major revelation about Snape and Dumbledore's complicated relationship. I expected a long and twisting journey to find and destroy the Horcruxes. All of that said, however, I didn't expect to be blinking back the tears at the end. I don't know how she did it. I've read quite a bit about storytelling techniques, and I recognize her using well known patterns and character archetypes. I thought I should have been able to dispassionately observe the mostly expected end of a very well-told story for children or young adults, which I told myself I was reading so I'd know whether or not to recommend it to young people in my life, maybe even my future kids. But instead, I found myself quite moved and even uplifted at the end. Hats off to JKR!

  3. I also read that JKR was planning to kill Mr. Weasley in the snake attack in OotP, but she couldn't take away another father figure from Harry. She kept the Weasley parents alive just to keep those parental figures in his life.

    And totally, I agree with everything Perry said.

  4. I'm re-reading the book right now. I just went too fast the first time. I'm enjoying catching little things, like Ginevra and Ottery St Catchpole. But one main reason I am re-reading it is because I was so distracted the first time that I didn't find the end that emotional. I feel left out. So I'm going back so I can feel the sadness like everyone else.


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