Sunday, 22 July 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

I finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows moments ago. My son of 16 is still reading his downstairs and journey we began 10 years ago will soon end. In the early days I read the chapters aloud and acted out the characters, now we read in separate rooms but check out where each is to saviour what each other experienced.

As Harry Potter gradually has to learn over the books and especially in this one that the dividing line between evil and good is empathy and choice, then my son has learned that fathers are flawed and fallible. And I that Son's walk their own path.

In Hogwarts we have the prefect plot device of showing how age enables wider choices and deeper struggles and it’s apt that the school is not central to the story this time reflecting that Harry has to grapple with adult life. The image of the school in the book has played a powerful part in my life as my son choose to go to a public school founded in the 16th century based in the country and with its own train station where the students wear cloaks and breeches and are divided into competing houses. As Harry as struggled to fit so my son has over the years; as Harry’s final struggle succeeds but in ways you don’t expect so my son has matured and succeeded in ways I didn’t expect.

So what will you find in this last book? Expect that the story and the consequences are darker. Discover that loose ends from the various stories are tied up. And that all that glitters is not gold. The pace is good and the need to give us information may slow the plot up at times but it’s not a major problem. And room for sequels? Not for the Harry Potter generation.

If you love the books and the way it has engaged children in their millions to read then you won’t be disappointed. I have yet to see an author who can draw 250,000 children, adults and families out on a cold and rainy evening in the UK. My son wanted to take part in the last Pottermaina so we went and in a most un-English way chatted to good nature strangers in the crowds. And had more conversation and fun with my son then in years- adolescent boy…you know what I mean. This for me answers those critics who carp from the Christian right or the Literary elite. Its fun and so its not gourmet writing, what’s wrong with writing that’s a good pizza with friends. It might not change your life but it’s what makes life worth living.

3 comments:

  1. I like your attitude to Potterdom. The pizza-with-friends analogy is spot on (you can have some deep conversations over pizza). I really enjoyed the last book; not enough of a fan to go and queue on the night, but got angry when I heard Warner were stopping people having Potter parties because they were infringing Warner's copyright. Foolish, greedy attitude on the part of a big corporate who won't have made any friends amongst the film-going public that way.
    I'm in Liverpool, UK, and also went to boarding school. Some of the Hogwarts staff reminded me of my teachers...

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John