Wednesday, July 25, 2007

*** Harry Potter Spoiled ***

She did it. J K Rowling flubbed the ending. I think part of the problem stems from the fact that after writing a book filled with thrilling adventures and near escapes, it is nearly impossible for the ending to be anything but an anti-climax.

In the case of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, she pulls a couple of fast ones. She inserts two - count 'em, two! - scenes to try and cleanup difficult situations. One addresses the Harry-Voldemort connection by bringing the narrator... I mean Dumbledore... in a dream-sequence/near-death-experience complete with white fluffy clouds. Then she throws in a suffering, injured baby whom we are instructed to ignore. Maybe I am just dense and don't "get" the universal symbolism here.

The second plot device involves Harry's viewing of the late Severus Snape's memories. Ah, Snape! Would you believe the character pivotal to the cliffhanger at the end of the previous book hardly appears in the finale at all? Yes. Instead the reader is force fed some twaddle about how Snape had been protecting Harry all these years because of his life-long love for Harry's mother and the piece of her that lives on in Harry. What?! Where was the ambiguity of Snape's view of Harry in the previous several thousand pages? Snape's distaste for Harry and the traits that Snape believed Harry shared with his father were completely untainted in the rest of the books by Harry's supposedly sharing of "Lily's eyes." There may have been a tidbit thrown in somewhere that I don't remember but the gross arc of Snape's character development made this sudden twist seem arbitrary. It is like introducing an evil twin in the final scene. If you are writing a book driven by discovery of clues, the reader must reach the last page saying, "Of Course! Why didn't I see it all along."

Rowling's failure (along with that of Philip Pullman) has pretty much soured me on writing anything myself. The danger of becoming that which I despise is just too great.

P.S.: Among the many failed Harry Potter predictions posted on the internet these past weeks was mine, predicting that I would not read the damn book. I bought it the first day at 9 am and stayed up 'til 1:30 am last night to finish it. At least the curse is now lifted!

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