Tuesday, January 27, 2009

SLOGGING AROUND AFTER YOU-KNOW-WHO


Goal 61 – Read all the books on my reading list

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
J. K. Rowling


The Brothers Karamazov was such a slog (not that there’s anything wrong with that) that I thought I’d choose some lighter fare for my next book --how about a nice children's book, I thought. Boy, was I mistaken.

These poor kids (Harry, Ron and Hermione), after about the 53rd page or something, never get to sit down and eat a square meal. It’s just one damn thing after another. And they misunderstand each other a lot, and get mad at each other and stuff. That’s how it goes when you’re on a really dreadful trip. You know it’s a bad vacation when school looks like paradise. And when you keep running into big snakes.

And then poor Harry finds out close to the end (SPOILER ALERT—almost) that he has to essentially kill himself if he wants to kill You-Know-Who (for various reasons I won’t go into). Life’s a bitch, and then you die, is how the story seems to be going. It certainly does for a lot of the characters in this tome (759 pages). Rowling ratchets up the destruction factor about fiftyfold for this series finale.

Rowling really, really likes to write. There are a LOT of words in this book. And for me, some of the wallowing around in mundane wizardry (as opposed to the extraordinary kind) gets kind of boring. The last several of the series have gotten kind of bogged down in that respect --I was really not enjoying the big huge Quidditch tournament several books back (When will this be over, I was saying to myself)-- and also from the fact that poor Harry sits around in various states of anxiety and frustration for long stretches. When he's not slogging. That being said, Rowling has amazing imagination and vision. And the plots certainly pick up speed as you go along…these are some of the most exciting endings in literature. Really. Rowling sure comes through with some interesting existential situations for her little guy. This is not so much a children's book, I'm thinking (as I suppress my sobs).

I started the Potter series way back in 2002 or so when two of my daughters were moving to New York from down South, and I was helping them drive a big U-Haul full of stuff. We took turns driving, and those who weren't took turns reading The Sorcerer’s Stone. I found it extremely entertaining. I was bummed when we ran out of book before we ran out of road trip. When I broke my hand last year, it seemed like a good time to embark on the rest of the series. It was the only part of my recovery that I enjoyed. Well, except for the Percocet.

I’m glad I wasn’t on painkillers, though, when I read The Deathly Hallows—because it requires concentration. By the way, I thought the Deathly Hallows was a place, for some reason. It isn’t. I mean they aren't. I’m not going to tell what they are, either. (Not telling what happens to Harry, either.)

3 comments:

POD said...

I am a dud. I never read any of these books.

Melissa said...

I never did either! That's why I decided to read them.

Sbanfnyc said...

I guess if the characters were more Zen (clear in their communications) the book would only be 12 pages and not sell much.

Sounds like a book requiring chocolate.