Saturday, July 21, 2007

Liveblogging Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

8:00am-Here goes. Again, no spoilers, but speculation on minor points. I knew I said I would start it at noon, but I changed my mind. I have dinner plans with a friend and would like to have the book done by dinnertime.

Chapter 1-8:12-In many respects, Rowling is gifted as a mystery writer and if she wanted to make her next project a mystery or thriller I think she'd be good at it. That said, she has a certain ham-handedness when she is witholding information that makes for a mildly irritating experience reading the book. Instead of simply not telling you something and giving the clues in a more subtle way, she repeatedly references the information she is witholding, almost as if she's dangling it in front of you. (You will probably have that experience reading this liveblogging since there's so much I won't want to say.) You can really see that in this chapter, though you get the piece of information by the end of the chapter.

It was very interesting to see the part of the wizarding world she shows in this chapter, though I did think it was a weaker opening than the last book's business with the two Prime ministers.

Chapter 2-8:36-So far, the things that have happened in this book are much what even the casual reader of the last book might have suspected. That said, I do really like what she does with Harry dealing with Dumbledore's death. Even people whom we are very close to are complicated, sometimes they have sides we couldn't see or understand in life, which is another confusing aspect of death.

Rowling also nicely reminds me why I don't like celebrity gossip much.

Chapter 3-8:51-This was the first chapter that really had me interested because it marked such a change in course for Harry's relationship to the characters in question. I really hope to see them again.

In a lot of ways, this book has the feel of the second half of Half-Blood Prince, which is perhaps why the beginning doesn't feel as strong as Half-Blood Prince's. In many ways, Half-Blood Prince began like the last book in the series should have.

Chapter 4-9:08 Interesting that the Order of the Phoenix would use tactics very familiar to Washingtonians. I find myself skipping pages of action sequences in all but the best books, and I didn't skip pages here. Rowling does a lovely job. She really does have a gift for action sequences. I'm finding myself wondering how the Order of the Phoenix got its name and what, if anything, the name has to do with Dumbledore's subversively-named pet phoenix Fawkes. The drawbacks of having Hagrid do the job he does here were obvious to me, I'm sure there's a benefit to it that I don't understand just yet.

Chapter 5-9:31- I really don't understand the mechanics of magic in the wizarding world sometimes. They can do all these amazing things, but apparently they can't create a few obvious things that one would think would be fairly simple. Part of the Hagrid question from last chapter was answered, BTW, and though I didn't find the answer satisfying, I doubt I'm going to get a better one. Also, Harry's rebellious teenager shtick is really getting old.

Chapter 6-9:51- The wedding planning is about how you would expect (charmant!) but it is fun and a nice change in tone. The tension between Harry and Ginny is nicely done. I know that the Horcrux hunt is necessary,but I still wish they were going back to Hogwarts. I'm really missing it.

Oh, and there's a beautiful bit of dialogue where Harry tells Ron and Hermione that they don't have to come on the Horcrux hunt and Hermione says gently that they're coming with him. That was decided months ago, years really. I'm not saying that the general theme If a good person and an evil person of equivilent power face off, good will triumph because good people have friends is unusual, but it is one that the series has used to great effect. Anyway, that bit of dialogue gave me the warm fuzzies. Yes, Hermione and Ron made the choice to stand by Harry no matter what years ago...

Chapter 7-10:14- I ask myself "Self, why is ministry of magic like that?" and the best response I can come up with is "Because it advances the plot"

In other news, Ron's continuing ineptness around women is great stuff.

Chapter 8-10:33- Lots of useful exposition happened here. Like the mean, gossipy old relative at the wedding, I am very interested to find out what exactly is in Rita Skeeter's book. I'm not sure of the significance of Luna's father's faux pas, but I am very interested to see...

Chapter 9-10:47- One would think that after six previous books, Harry would have learned something about lack of communication. Ah well...

Chapter 10-11:04-I really liked this chapter, which made me appreciate how tightly-written the previous books were and how well thought out a lot of this stuff was from the beginning. That the books have such a complex morality to them really makes them interesting. Also, I wonder how the seventh movie will handle this chapter as IMHO the fifth movie hasn't set what happened here up the way the fifth book did.

Chapter 11-11:23 I had wanted to see the character who is brought back at the end of this chapter again, but at least right now something about the way that character reappears feels a little contrived. I totally understand Harry's issue with the OotP member who comes to help him here.

Chapter 12-11:45 A college friend of mine had a theory about 2001:A Space Odyssy that the beautiful, but ultimately really dully, scenes in the first half were Kubrick's way of giving the audience the feeling of being on a long sapce voyage. Those scenes always have me twitching.

The last few chapters have had the same effect. I'm twitching, but so are the central characters.

Chapter 13-12:00 That was interesting. The institutions and the way that wizarding bearacracy is organized are one of the real gems of this series.

Chapter 14-For the last few chapters, I've felt I was waiting for something to happen. In this chapter, it finally has and the resulting action is quite welcome. Also, Mad-Eye Mooney's eye is not a horcrux. Ah well.

Chapter 15-Though the events of this chapter would have been quite rough on the characters, I'm actually glad for the events of this chapter to happen. They needed to for the book to retain emotional honesty.

Chapter 16- Finally the book is catching its stride. I found the first half of it quite slow, but the last few chapters have really reminded me what I love about this series.

Chapter 17-
was creepy.

Chapter 18-I assume this exposition is important, and if it is, fine. But it is slowing the story right when the story had finally started to move, so I sort of resent it anyway.

Chapter 19-2:08 Took them long enough to do what happened here. I'm not sure at this point if I want those two to get it on so we can have some comic relief or if I want some more action, but either way, the rising tension has gone past exciting and has begun to bug me. This is one ofthe disadvantages of the book not being set at Hogwarts. At a boarding school, there were opportunities for comic relief built in.

Chapter 20-2:22 One of my favorite things about this chapter is the anticipation of seeing one of my favorite characters again.

Chapter 21-2:42 Can't pretend I saw that one coming...

Chapter 22-2:59 I'd like all my friends to start a radio show named after me...

Chapter 23-3:18 That character's appearance was sort of random...

Chapter 24-3:52 Lots of exposition, but interesting exposition...

Chapter 25-4:03 I really liked this chapter. I am such a nerd.

Chapter 26-4:19-Wow. Can't wait for the movie of this...

Chapter 27-4:24 It is really exciting now. The book needed 100 pages cut or rewritten from the beginning,but at this point, it's really good stuff.


Denise said...

ack, you stopped blogging! What happened?

Joe said...

Hehe! "Mommy, what's effing?"

This is great stuff--like Lord of the Rings written in the style of the Hobbit.

Rowling needs work on proper use of the subjunctive mode...

Chalicechick said...

((Hehe! "Mommy, what's effing?")))

In some ways, that bugged me. I thought it was very clever of Rowling to have invented her own slur that the characters could use on one another, but that wasn't a dirty word in the real world so it wouldn't matter if kids picked it up. (Mudblood)

Actually, what surprised me more is the word "bitch" toward the end. So much so that I had started to wonder if I had imagined it.

Joe said...

Actually, "effing" is a real-life euphemism for, uh, YOU-KNOW-WHAT (Sorry, Harry!). _F_-ing, get it? Check The Urban Dictionary website, for example, or just Google it. My impression is that it is much more common in GB than the US. I almost fainted when I first found it in TOOTP. By now, though, I am inured to it--I barely batted an eye at "bitch."

I wonder if that might have been a US only thing?

Chalicechick said...

I know what effing means. But at least it is a euphemnism. By invented dirty word, I meant "Mudblood" which to me seems like the wizarding equivilent of one of our nastier racial slurs.

I'd notice "bitch" if one of the theoretical Chalicekids said it.