General Warning: This post is about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. If you have not finished the book, get off the computer and go read it. Shame on you for being here. If you have finished, bravo: continue. Spoilers ahead. You have been warned.
This will be one of probably two posts on this book. I haven't quite digested it all yet-I want to re-read the book and take it all in before I really post. For now I think I'll address my predictions and general perceptions of the book.
I was pretty pleased with how well I did in predicting. And those things that I didn't get right I either couldn't have guessed (what the Deathly Hallows really were), or had logical explanations for (Harry as a Horcrux, Neville dying)-so I'll give myself a pat on the back. Because I can and because none of you are around to glare at me or roll your eyes at me for being such a snot.
Harry as a Horcrux was something I started to think about more seriously as the book went on so that by the end I was half convinced of it. Most of that was because of the way the locket behaved. The locket seemed to have a kind of life of its own. It reacted to what was going on. Why this spurred the thought I don't know-but I started to think that maybe the very reasons I thought Harry couldn't be a Horcrux also supported the theory, in a way. I hadn't considered that the connection between the two of them (Harry and Voldemort) would be a literal one, not just an emotional one. I also didn't think that Horcruxes could be accidents-the description of how they're made makes it sound as though it has to be fairly deliberate. But, there it is. It worked because it went the way Orson Scott Card predicted-he was able to live because he gave himself willingly and because of his love (he was thinking about Ginny. *peals of triumphant laughter). Speaking of sacrificial lambs-anyone else catch the blatant Christian symbolism? I hope so.
Neville living worked out for me too-even though I was completely convinced of him dying right up to the end. I liked that he had a pretty good handle on himself in this book. He was able to really come into his own-and even killed the snake which was excellent. Horray for Neville! I'm glad that the six DA-Ministry people from the fifth book are still in tact.
I like the shades of gray Jo brings up in the book. The Malfoys aren't really evil or good. They don't fight on either side, because they decide that they value their family more than anything. I liked shading Dumbledore's past too-it made him more human. And it gave room to bring Harry above his hero (hooray for the hero's journey!)
I liked that Harry didn't end up killing Voldemort directly in the end. It keeps him pure and is another way that pulls Harry above Dumbledore.
Harry/Ginny and Ron/Hermione at the end. I think I died of cuteness. Freaking adorable! And bittersweet too. Lots of this book seemed almost self-indulgent to me on Jo's part-certainly necessary for the plot but also a little of her just needing to say good-bye. I thought it was sad to see Harry say good-bye to Privet Drive-an acknowledgment of how far he has come from being this kid who finds out he's a wizard one day to this. I thought the end was symbolic too-Harry sending his boy off to school-the circle comes back. And ending it at a train station where it all began-not just for us, but for Jo as well. Beautiful. Only this time, Harry's surrounded by his family and friends-and, as Jo says-there has been peace for 19 years. If Ron's learning to drive a Muggle car then things have to have improved in wizard/Muggle relations.
The symbolism of the houses was still there in the Horcruxes too-another thing that made me incredibly happy. Thanks to Harry being tied with Gryffindor, that is.
Snape/Lily was interesting to me-something that I hadn't really wanted, really-mostly because in the fan fiction world every Maurader-era fic typically revolves in which Maurader/Snape is in love with Lily and it gets on my nerves because it feels so Mary-Sue. The only one I ever found interesting was the Snape/Lily idea, but I had issues seeing it until Jo explained it better. I hadn't ever seen Snape as most people write him-someone poisoned by forbidden love who turns into a Muggle-hater because James got there first-it was too simple. Too typical. Having him like Lily but still have issues with the Muggle-born thing made him more interesting. It was excellent and tragic all at once. No wonder he hates Harry right off the bat-imagine seeing your enemy's child-the perfect reincarnation of the enemy with your lover's eyes? Talk about insult to injury. The eyes of a person are so much more difficult than a nose or mouth or something. Harsh.
Did anyone catch blatant world war two references? Yikes. Creepy. Some of this book gave me chills it was so disgusting. Having to prove your relations? Muggle Studies turning into a kind of Hitler-Youth thing? Yikes. All the way around, yikes.
The book was so symbolic at times it was ridiculous. This book, of all of them, felt like it was important to us, considering the state of the world. One line that hit me was at the end of the fifth chapter when Hermione says "Harry, he's taking over the Ministry and the newspapers and half the Wizarding world! Don't let him inside your head too!" (pg 85, US). Well. Call me obsessive for trying to make everything in this world relate to my many fictional ones but that one doesn't seem so far fetched. Sunday school lessons on dealing with the devil anyone?
Well, I'll be back with more after I've fully digested everything-but it's been an incredible ride, hasn't it? I pulled my copy of book one off my bookshelf last night after finishing the book and flipped through the pages. We've come a long way. It's hard to imagine, really-hard to fathom over. It's been amazing. Jo-there aren't words to express how I'm feeling right now. My sincerest thanks.