Well, it’s over. Sort of. The original series is over at least. After starting this reread more than two years ago, I finished up. Of course, it was the new play coming out the prompted me to get back on the horse after stalling out in book 4, and then stalling again before starting book 5.
This is at least 5 full rounds of reading the series (excluding multiple rounds of reading before the series was completed). You could say I like the series a little. I think the only reason I don’t have a Harry Potter tattoo is because JK Rowling is still alive and could always end up doing something really terrible. Imagine what people with Star Wars tattoos thought after the prequels came out.
I’ll start with quick rundown of the book. Spoilers ahead, but if you haven’t read the book or seen the movie by now, I can’t do anything for you.
When we last left Harry, Dumbledore had taken that portkey to the sky, and Harry and the Gang had decided they weren’t going back to school. They were gonna make it on their own. After going to the wedding first.
When we first catch up with Harry, he’s trying to save his relatives from the Death Eaters (or he’s trying to save the Death Eaters from his relatives) before going to The Burrow and beginning his journey onward.
Of course, non-cheeky shenanigans ensue, and we lose two more characters in the process before our trio makes a break.
Describing the seventh book is weird because of how unlike 1-6 it is. You don’t have the usual structure of a school year. There’s no Quidditch match. There are no points. There’s no Draco. It’s just Harry, Ron, and Hermione the bulk of the way (until Ron bolts for 3 chapters). There are small adventures along the way, but for the most part, this book is Harry Potter and the No Clue What We’re Supposed to be Doing. They’re lost.
Mostly, it’s just flukes that get them through. That said, Rowling does a good job of laying the breadcrumbs throughout the series to allow these flukes to occur. I’m still undecided on the flukes, but they are what they are.
In the end, the trio begins to make headway and they essentially get caught in the act of destroying horcruxes, so they have to go into hurry-up offense, leading to an all-out battle where, eventually, Harry saves the day.
There’s one thing that’s always bugged me about the battle. In the second round, overwhelming crowds show up to help out. That, in and of itself, doesn’t bother me. People learn there’s a fight and loved ones are there, so they go too. What bugs me is the timing. People can apparate almost instantly across the country, and you basically have a 2- to 3-hour delay between when they should have known and when they showed up. That’s a lot of dead people they have on their hand because they decided to take their time. I’m just sayin’.
But in the end, I liked the book. It’s not perfect, but I thought wrapping a seven-part saga could go much worse. There’s nothing polite about the story. Rowling kills off the last of Potter’s parents’ friends. The only people who legitimately care about him in a familial way are the Weasleys. Everyone else is definitely teacher or friend, even Hagrid.
But let’s get into some sidetracks:
Personally, I still think Snape is a slimy git. He was the quintessential “nice guy” pining over the girl who just wanted to be his friend.
Let’s go over this chronologically:
- When he knows Riddle is going after HP et al., he only shows concern for Lily.
- When Harry survives, Snape shows no care for that.
- Once Harry shows up, Snape is the second-worst teacher he will ever have (worse than the teacher who had Riddle sticking out the back of his head; yeah, think about that for a second) behind only Umbridge.
- And his big show of love is that he has the same patronus as Lily, while James had a complementary patronus to Lily’s.
He’s the worst kind of nice guy.
Was there bravery in what he did? Sure. But he didn’t care about Harry. He only felt guilty about getting Lily killed. That’s it. And he was allowed to teach children for about 16 years.
In short, I will never view Snape at a hero just because he was in love with someone who didn’t love him.
Harry with Hermione
This is not purely about the books, but I’m bringing it up here because this is the last true book in the series. Rowling at one point fessed up that she thinks Harry and Hermione should have ended up together.
I struggled this when I heard. My first reaction is that you can’t change what you wrote after the fact. The characters you wrote ended up where they were supposed to.
My second reaction is that maybe she was right. Now, movie version, Harry and Hermione absolutely belong together. This is largely because the Weasleys as a whole aren’t fully captured on film. Ginny is a non-entity in the movies. Ron is just pretty basic, and not nearly as caustic as the book version. Harry and Hermione felt like more fully fleshed out characters, and their interactions were great, including my favorite movie add-on to the 7th book:
In a world where infidelity occurs, they would kiss, but the HP world is completely devoid of infidelity somehow.
In the books, it’s easier to buy things working out the way they did, but at the same time, you kind of want to call BS. It doesn’t feel fully right that Harry ends up with Ginny. And when you look at Ron and Hermione, you have to think she’d be somewhat dissatisfied with his lack of ambition.
That said, I don’t mourn them ending up the way they did. I just think it’s a naive take. I honestly mentally match Ron up with Luna because she’s too easygoing to care about his abrasiveness. I don’t know that I had a specific who for Harry and Hermione. There were no characters I would immediately say click for them, but Ginny and Ron seemed just a bit too easy to work out long term.
The Wand Business
The last thing I want to address is the wand ownership business. I don’t have an issue with “I beat you, so I get your wand.” I do have an issue with “I beat you, so I get the wand you weren’t using at the time.”
When you have to go into a long, drawn-out explanation, I think your story’s missing something. I don’t know how she could have written around it, but it’s something that’s always bugged me a little bit.
But let’s ignore that. Let’s say we can do the “I beat you, so I get the wand you weren’t using.”
Harry intends to never lose and let the Elder Wand finally retire. But there’s a problem: Harry’s not that good. He’s certainly in the upper realms, but Hermione would own him in a duel. There are bound to be others, especially if he’s to become an auror. So the first person who beats him could reasonably dig up Dumbledore’s grave and use it themselves. And it’s not like no one heard him. In a room full of people where only he and Riddle are talking, he’s going into exhaustive details.
That bugs me.
But that’s the end of that saga. I’ve got The Cursed Child up next, and because it’s a play, I may have it done by tomorrow, but we’ll see. Maybe some of my gripes will be addressed there. Maybe Ron and Hermione are sleeping in separate rooms and Ginny has a side-boo.