Saturday, July 28, 2007

I Liked Them Both

(Warning: Possible Spoiler alert)

Well, it's been a week since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released. I got my copy from a hunky UPS guy (do they have to audition, or what? Seems like all UPS guys are good looking. Maybe it's the uniform?) about 10:30 AM last Saturday. I got through about half of it on Saturday and finished it about 2:30 AM Monday morning. And this past Wednesday evening I watched the movie Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. So I really got a dose of HP this week.

As you can guess, both were good. I gave Order of the Phoenix a 6 out of 10. I can't help but wonder if my vote would have been different if I had seen the movie before Deathly Hallows came out. As it was, I found myself thinking differently about certain characters like Snape and Draco Malfoy than I might have otherwise felt. I appreciated that Harry is older now - he looks like he's lost a lot of weight. I was moved by the scenes with Dudley in the beginning with the Dementors. I still can't get why Unvle Vernon is so cruel to Harry. The rest of the movie was pretty good, too. Professor Umbridge was just right, I thought. My one quibble is over the set up to the invasion of the Ministry of Magic by Harry and his friends. They decide to do it, and next thing you know they're in the main lobby of the Ministry. Yes, we saw it at the beginning of the movie when Harry had to go to his hearing, so we knew what it was, but at the same time, there was a lot that the book included that was missing. It's hard of course, to watch a movie after a book and completely forget the book, so I don't really know how much my own memory interjected into my view of the movie. Even so, I could have used a little more explanation on that part.

And Deathly Hallows? I read it once through all at once, and read the final chapters again in the midweek. And just this evening I read an extensive discussion over at Slate magazine. I liked it - the book, that is. I was pleased at how the whole relationship of Snape to Harry was explained, although I agree that the pacing of the final battle sequence was awkward. And I also think that the explanation of how Voldemort was finally able to die and the whole explanation of the prophesy's meaning to be a bit strained. The first time I read it, I was not reading for detail, so I didn't think about it too much. But the second time through some of the details started to get untidy, at least to me.

A few commentators have opined that the epilogue was not helpful, while others liked it. I found myself emotionally complete when I read the epilogue, although I also think it would have been fine to not have one. Certainly from a marketing and sequel view point, it might have been better not to have an epilogue - lots more room to have follow up books and movies and what not. Now of course, we know about Harry and Ginny and Ron and Hermione and Draco and some others too. That's now canon, and we have to live with it.

My most moving moment: when Harry buries Dobby the house elf. Least favorite: the whole hiding-in-the-tent sequence in the first half of the book.

BTW, I've heard the view that Harry's sacrifice at the end of Hallows is somehow Christ-like. In some ways, yes, but since I have seen not one shred of reference overt or otherwise to Christianity, much less any religion, in the entire HP corpus, I can't agree that it's "Christ-like."

What did you think of either Deathly Hallows or Order of the Phoenix, or both?


No comments: