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So. Wow, and... holy fuck.

Okay, for the non-spoily portion, I will say that this is an intense, and dark, book. I can imagine it'll disturb a lot of kids, but what do I know?

As for whether I like it or not? That's hard to say. I'm definitely glad I read it, and totally devoured it hungrily like Slughorn on a bag of candied pineapple after a week-long hunger strike, but at the same time I predict it's going to be hard as hell to read through again, because... well. I'll cover more in the spoiler section I guess. But it's... intense.

Okay, enough for the attempts at non-spoily stuff...

Spoilers! Be warned!

And... I now cast a silencing charm to defend myself against the agonized and angry screams from auronsgirl among others, after seeing some of the body count... well, if I weren't so busy being pissed myself!

Rowling Rowling Rowling, what'd you do to us? On the one hand, at least we didn't get a "everyone lives happily ever after and there was no real threat" ending, but at the same time, holy CRAP. Lupin dead. Snape dead. Even freaking Hedwig, dead. And Fred, dead! And Tonks! Did I mention, Lupin and Snape, dead? Oh, and Dobby, but for a lot of readers I guess that's pretty much like killing Jar-Jar. (Although the way the death was handled affected me...)

There was some stuff handled well, and stuff handled badly. I liked seeing more of the wizarding world, seeing Harry and Ron and Hermione all coming into their own, along with some of the other side characters. It was good to see that Snape was on the side of good after all, even though by the time that was revealed, I'd pretty much given up hope of it. We didn't get some of the more minor characters forgotten, and got to see what went on with them, and the final showdown being at Hogwarts was surprisingly satisfying. (Even if Ron getting into the chamber by hissing how he heard Harry his was weak).

And damn, how cool was Neville, when it came down to it? I also liked seeing how things turned out ninteen years later, though I don't always like that sort of thing in stories, because it did let us know how things turned out when there wasn't really much space left to do it in, and it felt satisfactorily like coming full circle, in this particular case.

At the same time... it all feels less worth it somehow, when my very favorite characters in the series have all bought it. Lupin, Sirius, and yes, even Snape. Although at least Bill is still alive, but we still don't see as much of him as I'd like. And I know a lot of people are gnashing their teeth over the actual veracity of the "Harry is a horcrux" theory, even if it turned out differently than expected in the end (myself included, to some extent). And frankly I always get really turned off by the happy hand-wavey "and they're all dead, but I get to see their ghosts and they're all happy and it's okay then!" bit, like happened in this book with the resurrection stone. And it was nice that Percy got reunited with his family, but it seemed slightly heavy-handed to me, somehow, in its treatment. Like she realized "oh, this hasn't been resolved yet, so let's stick him in there and have everything be resolved!" or something.

Oh and... HOW BLOODY STUPID would Harry have to be to actually say Voldemort's name when they're on the run, only being kept safe by their protective spells, after being explicitly TOLD that his name was, more or less, jinxed and would strip away all protection! Gah, you stupid git! He was mostly better in this book in many ways, less emo, but some things (like that) still made me deeply want to slap the living hell out of him.

And I do wonder, despite myself, what ended up happening to Winky. And how Neville ended up with the sword, again. And if Teddy ended up showing werewolf signs, and same with Bill (other than liking rawer meat). And I'm assuming that the "Victoire" that he's snogging is Bill and Fleur's kid, but we don't know for sure. And I wish we knew just what Harry did now and... bah. Who am I kidding? I want more loose ends neatly tied, damnit!

But even more than that, I'm wondering how many kids threw the book down in horror less than 100 pages in, when Hedwig's killed without even any preamble or ceremony? And how many who didn't, make it through to the end? Dark. Damn. Book.

Edit: Forgot to mention that one of the other things I found very dark was, dude, not only are people dying right and left, but before the end Harry's flinging off Unforgivable Curses himself without even a second thought? Dude! And while we're at it, do we know how the hell Snape found out about the date of the plan to move Harry in the first damn place?

Later edit: Oh yeah, and I would add that I WOULD have liked to have found out just what people ended up doing, career-wise. Or at least Harry - I mean, for the past few books we've been having him building up to being an Auror, then having that hope dashed pretty much when he decided to drop out of Hogwarts, and personally I was hoping maybe he'd become a teacher as he seemed so good at the DA lessons, but that apparently isn't the case as he sees the kidlets off...

I think that's all I got for now. I might have more to say in comments here and in other journals, but my brain's still a bit fried from reading for about 9 hours straight.

Oh yeah, and I assume no responsibility for spoilers in the comments, so be forewarned!

(Slightly edited spoiler section to add more thoughts)

(And again.)



( 21 Notes — Write a Footnote )
Jul. 21st, 2007 11:13 pm (UTC)
I'll come back later and read the spoilers. I'm 200 pages in (my copy got here at 1 pm, I didn't start reading until 4 pm because I needed food and to run errands), but I feel like I've taken a Bludger to the head so far with the speed of events.

When she out to break all her toys, she really meant to break 'em.
Jul. 21st, 2007 11:15 pm (UTC)
I'll look forward to it, though I'll probably go play a video game for a bit, and wait for everyone else to finish and really start the meaty discussion....
Jul. 22nd, 2007 01:32 am (UTC)
Hedwig made me pause and set the book down for a moment; it was like the reverse order of SK's Dark Tower 7. I was hurt when George lost his ear, but then FRED and ohhhh fuck you do not break the twins up and then SNAPE and shit I need a mojito.

I knew Snape wouldn't survive, no way you build up a kid's lit Vincent Valentine with bad hair and let him have a happy, but his memories have seriously slaughtered me. The doe, man, that's what finally set me to bawling.
Jul. 22nd, 2007 02:15 am (UTC)

Definitely, wow.
Jul. 22nd, 2007 10:50 am (UTC)
It is important to note.

JK Rowling's said many times this will be the last book about Harry Potter.

She has not, to the best of my knowledge, say it's the last time she's ever going to mention his kids, or write in that universe.
Jul. 22nd, 2007 02:05 pm (UTC)
Ooo, good point. I will have to keep my fingers crossed.
Jul. 22nd, 2007 12:43 pm (UTC)
_And I'm assuming that the "Victoire" that he's snogging is Bill and Fleur's kid_

If Bill & Fleur had a kid they named Victoire, what does that imply about the date of her conception?

Exactly. Lots of "Thank god we're both still alive" sex that day, I suspect.
Jul. 22nd, 2007 03:26 pm (UTC)
That's pretty awesome, actually. I'd originally thought this was just some lame French-ish name, but that makes it pretty good.
Jul. 22nd, 2007 07:33 pm (UTC)
It also puts Victoire in the right age range to be with Teddie.
Jul. 22nd, 2007 07:15 pm (UTC)
I guess I'm the opposite of you - I'm opposed to "___ years later" epilogues on principle because I don't want everything tied up so neatly. Or at least I don't want to just jump into the future and see how things turn out; the journey is much more interesting than the destination. Oh well, the rest of the book was pretty great.
Jul. 22nd, 2007 07:34 pm (UTC)
Yeah. I suspect that's the bit of the canon that the fanficcers are going to do the most ignoring to.
Jul. 22nd, 2007 07:49 pm (UTC)
Well, there's so little information in that part that they have free reign. Is Harry an Auror? Did Hermione go into Magical Law after all? All we really know is that Harry and Draco didn't end up together. Probably.
Jul. 22nd, 2007 08:02 pm (UTC)
I'm sure we'll find there was a terrible row somewhere around Year 10[1] between Harry and Ginny ("When are you going to actually *do* something with your life you lazy ass? You haven't done anything since you killed Voldemort! Get a fucking job!") in which Harry fled to the one person he thought could understand his loss... _____ (fill in the blank with your favourite pairing). They stayed together only for the children and savong face to the world ever afterwards.

[1] To continue the one and only reliable and well-known dating we have -- I believe the Godric's Hollow sequence managed to tie it in to AD dates, but I don't have those at my fingertips.
Jul. 22nd, 2007 08:13 pm (UTC)
You're right, the tombstone says that Harry's parents died on Halloween, 1981. I think someone else said something about Harry being 15 months old at the time?

And, yup, 19 years and no info leaves plenty of room for fanfic. Or real-fic, if JKR feels like it.
Jul. 22nd, 2007 07:46 pm (UTC)
By the way, just because he dropped out doesn't mean he didn't re-enroll for year 8. Honestly, can you see Hermione *not* doing that, and dragging the boys along? Or at least getting the NEWTS anyway somehow? And, for Harry, it would mean spending a whole year at Hogwarts with him and Ginny in the same year. Can't see him having many objections.

And, well, frankly.. I suspect that, NEWTS or no, the Ministry Reborn would be dancing for joy if The Boy Who Lived And Became The Man Who Killed Moldiemort wanted to apply to join. It's not as if they don't still have a PR problem, what with the Ministry did under the influence of Voldemort and the Death Eaters.
Jul. 22nd, 2007 10:06 pm (UTC)
Hrm, I didn't really get the impression that people would be able to just re-enroll a year later, though I guess we don't see anything blatantly against it. Good point though that they might be more than willing to relax the restrictions on him though - if they relax the restrictions on anyone. Which they might, if Shacklebolt remains in charge.
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 23rd, 2007 01:58 am (UTC)
"I'm sorry, you didn't use the proper font wand, and your margins robes were too short. We'll have to send this back to your committee."
Jul. 23rd, 2007 02:53 am (UTC)
You'd think, but the Ministry has been known to be horribly beaurocratic beyond belief in the past, although usually when it suits their own purposes, which I don't think denying Harry would be if Kingsley were still in charge. If Scrimgeour were still alive and in charge maybe, or if Umbrige had taken over... or maybe Fudge back in the day...

Which reminds me, did we ever hear anything about what happened to Fudge in this book?
Jul. 23rd, 2007 02:29 am (UTC)
I was talking to a friend about the book, and we figured that Harry was an Auror at the end of the book. As for how he could get the post without finishing school, we figured it came down to him saying "I killed Voldemort. Next question?"
Sep. 13th, 2007 04:19 am (UTC)
There's Harry and Hermione and Ron who were missing from the beginning, plus a lot of the members of Dumbledore's Army had to go into hiding part way through the year, and a lot of others just went home partway through the year because of the threat of Voldemort. Then they fought a war there and how long after that will it be before they get back to classes?

I think they're going to be making exceptions for a _lot_ of people, not just Harry :)
Jul. 26th, 2007 09:23 am (UTC)
I suspect that would be exactly why he /wouldn't/ do it.
( 21 Notes — Write a Footnote )