Friday, June 4, 2010
For as long as it took the kids and I to listen to the 5th Harry Potter audio book (which included a late fee at the library after renewing the maximum number of times), this one flew by. Perhaps it is an indication of our interest level, I'm not sure. But all roads of the wizarding world in which we have been living leads to this book, does it not? In fact, this installment is so emotional, so dramatic, so heart-breaking that our final book, The Deathly Hallows, almost seems anti-climatic.
My first comment is this. If you have seen the movies, and have declined the reading experience because you think you have seen it all, please reconsider. I might agree with you on Book 1 and maybe 2, but with each book, the movie gets further and further from its literary counterpart. The 6th movie? A disaster in my opinion. Entertaining, I suppose, but far off the path. I am sure decisions were made on the tone and content to maximize marketing power, but it fails miserably to convey the heart of the book.
For those of you who have not read this series, have not seen the movies, and intend to at some point, please go no further. I had to say this to protect the innocent.
I won't bother you will a summary of the plot, because 98% of you know this already. As with reviews of the previous books, I will give you some of my highlights:
1. We always knew Malfoy was nasty, but now our opinion is validated by his personal involvement with Voldemort. It just makes you want to scream "See? I told you he was evil!".
2. Harry falls in luuuuuv (or at least is now AWARE that he is in love) with Ginny. It is what we have always wanted, right guys? He had no business with mopey-face Cho. In fact, the hormones are flying everywhere. Snogging, jealousy, love potions...it's that age I guess.
3. We get edg-ma-cated on all things Voldemort...his parentage, his days in the orphanage, his days in Hogwarts, his sociopathic tendencies from a young age. And hoarcruxes. Important information to get us through the final book.
4. Dumbledore seriously dresses down the Dursely's for their mistreatment of Harry. Major fist-pump through this scene.
5. Harry stands up to the new Minister of Magic, Rufus Scrimgeour. The Minister had the gall to ask Harry to give the appearance of support to the Ministry of Magic for political reasons. This would be the same institution that promoted the sadistic Umbridge with her God complex. I think not, and neither did Harry. Another fist-pump!
6. Rowling completely nails atmosphere and stomach-hurting intensity with the scene in the cave, when Dumbledore drinks a potion in order to get his hands on a hoarcrux. Not only that, but Jim Dale gives the audio performance of a lifetime, drawing tears from everyone in our car.
Dare I even address the death of Dumbledore? Am I the only one who picked up the 7th book with a hollowness inside, wondering if I could possibly CARE what happened? Well, OK, ultimately I did care, but it would never be the same. I've always admired the author that has the cojones to throw a major character under the bus, but this was not quite what I had in mind. Even though this was my fourth or fifth time reading the book, it hasn't gotten easier. Hats off to Rowling for the ultimate sucker punch.
So the kids and I wait with bated breath for the 7th audio book to arrive. None of us have read it more than once, and of course we've only seen the trailers for the two-part movie. I look forward to a second look (especially that dream sequence at the end)! I don't look forward for it all to be over...
4.5 out of 5 stars