Saturday, September 01, 2007

Deathly Hallows

A solid, if turgid and overwrought novel. But nothing really lasting or deep, I think. The characters and their magical abilities are charming, often to the point of cute, so we like them. But there is a scene about a third of the way into it that's just unforgivable: the three heroes, while teleporting randomly all over England, land right next to some people who just happen to be having just the conversation at that very moment that they need to overhear in order to get the information that they need to continue. That's disappointing and lazy writing. And more importantly, there is something very flat and stilted about Harry's emotional (never mind romantic or sexual) life. Ron and Hermione fulfill their roles as Helpers on the Quest (barely, since Harry still makes nearly all the decisions), but they seem to have little pull or attraction for Harry, or he for them, constant protestations of undying loyalty notwithstanding. The only moment of sexual/romantic tension is one manufactured by the evil Voldemort, when I feel fairly sure that 17-year-olds can be counted on to provide more drama than Days of Our Lives on their own. And after page upon page of pensieve-induced flashback to fill us in on all the secrets (which were a combination of predictable and unnecessary), the resolution seems completely unreal and fake. If you had found out everything that Harry just had, could you just say, "Oh, thanks! That's great! I'll get on with saving the world now!" - ? I really was hoping that maybe there'd be some real questions and problems raised, some real pain and sacrifice, hurt and resentment, but instead it was just "True love conquers all! Aww, look how cute they look!" all over again, like every other installment. (The epilogue is so treacly it'll give you diabetes. I'd recommend skipping it.) And look at how absurdly Oedipal the whole thing is - everything bad that Harry ever finds out is about MEN, and father-figures in particular, while his mother remains only the purest sacrifice and perfect mother. I'm starting to like it less, the more I think about it.


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