July 21, 2007

a sort of homecoming

Posted in books tagged , at 3:03 pm by placeinthestars

highlight of waiting on line for the book:

We had three bracelets, so my sister, my niece and I wore them, but my nephew was without. When we finally got into the store, we were like, A, stay with us in case they ask to see your bracelet, which you do not have. And he pulls his arms out of his sleeves and into his t-shirt and says, “If they ask me about a bracelet, I’m just going to say, ‘Are you kidding me?'” We were pretty much in stitches over that.

Anyway. The book. I started reading at around 2am, went to sleep around 6, woke up at 11, and finished a little before 1.

I liked it a lot. I might even say I loved it a lot. No, I really did love it a lot. It was certainly everything I wanted in terms of Harry’s story, and the backstory, and all my questions answered.

I’m doing this without having been spoiled ahead of time, and without having read anyone else’s responses, so I am all tabula rasa here.

Let’s just split it this way, it’s easiest:

Things I liked (in no particular order)

* FLYING MOTORBIKE! That will NEVER not be COOL. In a book seriously (sorry) lacking any real appreciation of Sirius Black, the fact that they finally brought out his motorbike made me very happy. Then I was sad that they wrecked it. Sigh. I am totally onboard with Arthur and Harry and Ron rebuilding her. They have the technology!

* Speaking of the Brothers Black, get down with your bad self, Regulus! For once, I’m really pleased that everyone’s spec was so on the mark, even including Kreacher’s involvement. Speaking of whom,

* Kreacher! My god, she rehabbed him (and yeah, that was a poke at Sirius, wasn’t it? I just… what. ever.) and I felt bad for the little bastard. I was very pleased to see the house elves take part in the final battle, as well. And of course, I can’t mention Kreacher without mentioning

* Dobby. Man, I never thought I would cry over Dobby’s death, but I really did. And Harry, grieving, hand-digging the grave.

* Speaking of rehabbing characters, Percy! Came back! Not because he was always Dumbledore’s man, but because he finally realized he fucked up, and he was sorry, and yeah, it took him a long while, but sometimes it does. I really thought both he and one of the twins would die. I guess I was half right.

* Oh, Weasleys… *sniff* ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ x eleventy million. I figured one of the twins would die but it was still sad, but oh, he died laughing, at least, like Sirius did.

* The mirror. I’m glad to see it was useful, and that it came back in an unexpected way, and man, Aberforth. Wait, no, he gets his own point.

* Aberforth! SO AWESOME! Aiding the underground via the Hog’s Head, helping Harry out when he could, brawling with his brother at his sister’s funeral (I feel someone has probably already done the post on brothers [or bff as brothers], yes? Because we have Sirius and Regulus, Albus and Aberforth, Percy and the rest of the family, Sirius and James, Ron and Harry, even in a way Dudley and Harry and Dumbledore and Grindelwald, over and over, disappointments and reconciliations and surprises; or maybe I should say siblings, because there was also Lily and Petunia, Bella and Cissy – I was actually sad that there wasn’t more about Andromeda, given what we saw of Bellatrix and Narcissa, and if I really stretch it here by including best friends as I’ve done above, Snape and Lily). Anyway, I really liked finally getting to meet Aberforth, and getting the skinny on Dumbledore from someone who knew him before he was the ‘great’ Dumbledore.

* Neville! ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ x eleventy million! I cried so hard every time he showed up! SO AWESOME HIS AWESOMENESS CANNOT BE TEXTUALLY RENDERED! Even Augusta Longbottom recognizes! He pulls the sword out of the hat and kills Nagini! He leads the resistance! He’s Harry at Hogwarts when Harry isn’t there, with Luna and Ginny filling in for Hermione and Ron. *hearts*

* Luna, also, was awesome. I loved getting to see the Ravenclaw common room, finally, and also the Grey Lady and the Bloody Baron. I love how the story wasn’t some heroic tale but was really sad and kind of sordid, the way a lot of family business often is.

* Lily. Finally, finally, fucking finally we get the truth about Lily and Petunia and Snape, and since PoA, my mother and I have been on board that Snape was in love with Lily train, and that’s what you call foreshadowing, mark of quality literature. I really loved getting to see Lily, and seeing Harry get to see Lily, and that it was all through Snape’s eyes really worked for me. Which brings me to

* Snape. You magnificent bastard. I still don’t like you, but man, you are quite possibly Rowling’s greatest creation. I’ve known you were a goner since the moment you showed that Dark Mark in GoF, but what a wild ride. In the run up to the book, I wasn’t really enthusiastic about Snape getting his hero’s death (I kind of wanted him denied it) but I really liked the way it was done – the pensieve again, and Snape wanting Harry to know, and Harry getting it, finally, seeing the parallels between Snape and Riddle and himself, lonely unwanted black-haired boys who found a home at Hogwarts. Snape delivering the sword of Gryffindor, his patronus being a *doe* (so he must have had some happy memories of Lily left). I still can’t forgive his treatment of the children, but I’m glad he served a purpose, and got vindication as well as a kind of redemption out of his double life.

* Draco, otoh, I am ambivalent about. After the end of HBP, I wanted more from him, I wanted a change of heart like the one Regulus had undergone, not just a following along out of fear for his family (highly reasonable and relatable fear) and a native disgust of killing. on the other hand, I *am* glad that my feeling that for all the evil they were party to, Lucius and Narcissa do love their son, and he was their first priority. I really liked Narcissa’s deal with Harry there at the end – “Is Draco alive? Is he in the castle?”).

* And speaking of Narcissa, and Lily, mothers have a power all their own – Lily dying for Harry, Merope dying in spite of Tom – and then Molly, Molly, kicking Bellatrix’s scrawny evil ass to hell. I may have whooped and done this: \o/ when that happened.

* Lastly, and most importantly, the trio. Oh, my golden trio, on a horcrux hunting road trip, public enemies number one. ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ x eleventy million. There was no part of the main story that I did not like – Hermione’s ruthlessness, Ron’s jerkitude and then redemption (oh, I cried when he left, and when he came back), Harry’s determination and native genuineness and selflessness. my heart was full of love:

Ron: He must’ve known I’d run out on you.
Harry: No. He must’ve known you’d always want to come back.
vic: *cries*

Thank you, Jo Rowling, for hitting my BULLETPROOF KINK.

Harry’s relentless will, and the way Hermione was mostly able to corral him when he went off in the wrong direction. Just. so much LOVE for the three of them, together, brains, hand, and heart, each playing their part like the well-oiled machine they are together. SO MUCH LOVE!

Also, I really love how the Ron/Hermione played out.

Other things I liked

* So much continuity coming back around.

* The feeling of wartime, of desperation. This book was darker than OotP, and yet much less depressing to me. OotP is a book where despair is relentless and everybody’s caught in the tide of it, unable to really fight back, but DH is a book where it’s all about being proactive, moving against the crushing inevitability of darkness. I loved the parallels to WWII, the resistance, the underground wireless show, the kids fighting back at Hogwarts (and obviously, Snape letting them).

* I liked that it was an alliance of magical races that won – the centaurs, the house elves, even the goblins helped reluctantly.

* McGonagall continues to be awesome.

* I liked the deathly hallows mythos, I liked the bequests from Dumbledore and how they worked, I really liked getting all that backstory.

* I am … okay with the hokey Harry wakes up in between life and death and has a long talk with Dumbledore. I am amused that she still got to have her Dumbledore explains it all chapter even with him dead and gone.

Things I am meh about

* I could have done without the epilogue, and I still don’t really care about Harry and Ginny (she was going to give him hot sexin’ for his birthday before Ron interrupted though. Heh.)

Things I didn’t like

* Obviously, the one thing I really didn’t like was the Tonks storyline. It’s not even that I dislike Remus/Tonks, though I do, it’s that it’s so badly done that I think the whole story could be removed from the books (including Tonks’s story in HBP; there IS no Remus/Tonks in OotP to remove), and it would not be missed. I mean, what the fuck, JK? Seriously? You create this kickass chick, and then you make her lose her powers over a love affair gone wrong (and in a book rife with love potions – all administered by lovelorn women – and Merope Gaunt, not exactly a trope I am comfortable with), you marry her off, knock her up, and kill her off? Ugh. I just gave this whole rant to my parents, and I have to say of all the things in the books I didn’t like, this is probably the biggest. As for Remus, well, whatever, way to make me not care about one of my favorite characters. I’m glad he was part of the group at the end with Sirius, James and Lily.

* My other main nitpick is I would have liked a little more about how AWESOME Sirius is, since he never got a memorial or the reparation/recognition due him.

***

Wow, that took me a long time to write and I’m sure I missed out stuff I meant to mention. Now I have a ton of reaction posts open in tabs, so I’m gonna go read.

***

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