Monday, July 23, 2007

Harry Flopper

There are no spoilers in the following conversation.

Krystle: I don't have time to read the book. Why don't you guys just tell me how did it all end?

Shaki: Well, Harry and Voldemort killed each other in a duel.

Krystle: But I thought the prophecy said...

Me: The prophecy said, "neither can live while the other survives". It didn't say "neither can die after the other dies".

Shaki: Then there's that dumb scene with Dumbledore.

Krystle: But I thought Dumbledore was dead!

Shaki: He cloned himself. He was the lead researcher in stem cell technology.

Me: After all, he discovered the...

Shaki and Me in unison: ... twelve uses of dragon blood...

Me: ... so, stem cells aren't going to be much of a problem for him at all. But who you really need to watch out is Snape.

Krystle: What's to watch out? We already know he's the bad guy.

Me: It's much more complex than that. Turns out that it was him who discovered the "neither can die after the other dies" loophole in the prophecy and pitted Harry against Voldemort, making sure both of them perished.

Shaki: He neither worked for Dumbledore nor Voldemort.

Me: He was working for himself all along!

Shaki: Played everyone like Quidditch.

Me: And became the new Dark Lord in the end.

Then Steven, Krystle's boyfriend, chimed in;

Steven: Krystle, don't listen to this two. They can't even summarise a simple children's book for you - so they made everything up.

Me: [looks at Shaki] Yet we did a heckuva better job at telling the story than Rowling did.

Shaki and Me: [laugh very loudly in front of a very bewildered Krystle]

I wondered why I didn't notice earlier that there is someone small holding a sword behind Harry.

First off, I want you to know that I lied when I said there aren't spoilers in this post. There are - but you haven't read any yet. They are near the bottom of this entry. I'll let you know when it starts, okay? So lay down those pitchforks, flaming torches and rolling pins, and read right on (though I'd give the comments section a wide berth, if I am you).

Secondly, as you probably deduced for this post's title and the extract of the conversation Shaki and I had with Krystle, I wasn't terribly impressed with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. In fact, I considered it the second least enjoyable book of the entire Potter series, right after Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - while Shaki considered it the very least enjoyable one. If all the previous installments of the heptalogy showcased the best of Rowling's writing prowess, the last book betrayed her very worst.

Now, if you haven't read the 7th Potter book cover to cover, you owe me a thank-you. I have just pruned your expectations down to a bonsai.

The extent of Rowling's genius consisted of combining two extremely popular sub-genres of children literature - English boarding school stories and magic - into one. Anyway, in spite of what many rabid Potter fans like to believe, J. K. Rowling did not invent the concept of a school for magic. That idea have been reused and recycled for ages, and one of the more notable examples is Ursula K. Le Guin's A Wizard of Earthsea (1968) and other novels of the Earthsea series (which also adapted the concept of magic for everyday, commonplace use to greater believability than Rowling did).

You know, the more I think of it, the more I believe that Rowling snitched from Le Guin's work.

One of the main themes in the Potter books is racism - like it was in the Earthsea books. In fact, the Earthsea series was written with the purpose criticising racism in mind.

Also, the Potter books features a dark wizard who wished to conquer death, same as the 3rd Earthsea book, The Farthest Shore (1972).

And the wizards in Earthsea can change themselves into animals as well.

Damn, I think I'll reread the Earthsea books. I was a lot more impressed with them than I was with Harry Wotzisname.


Why I think Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows sucked donkey nuts;
  • Almost all the events of the book took place outside if Hogwarts. Like I said, the charm of the Potter books came largely from it being a combination of an English boarding school and magic story. So, having no Hogwarts means that it's only half as fun to read.
  • Hermione is Doraemon. She actually carried a fourth-dimensional, multi-purpose pocket filled with gadgets.
  • A formidable army of Death Eaters under the command of Lord Voldemort - despite being able to infiltrate the highest strata of the Ministry of Magic and finally staging a coup d'├ętat of the magical government filled with competent grownup wizards and witches - failed to capture three snotty-nosed kids who dropped out of school. I mean, even Igor Karkaroff was found and killed in the end (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince). Three teenagers are better than Karkaroff?
  • The break-in into Gringotts by that same three snotty kids was waaay too easy. In fact, it was one of the few parts in the book that promised real excitement though it didn't deliver it in the end.
  • Lord Voldemort is the most boring, one-dimensional bad guy I have ever read about. It's all threaten, torture, murder, Harry's scar hurts, megalomaniac speech, threaten, torture, murder, Harry's scar hurts again, more megalomaniac waffle... Bah.
  • All through the book, you have the impression that Lord Voldemort is a really dumb guy, considering that he was a prize student at Hogwarts and was possibly the most gifted wizard of the age after Dumbledore. Harry kept getting newsflash from that psychic link between him and Lord Voldemort which constantly provided him with clues on what to do next. It makes me wonder why didn't Voldemort use that same link to learn stuff from Harry. I half expected that all the useful snippets of information Harry got from Voldemort were all shams, and that Voldemort had been leading Harry around like the gullible brain-case he really is - but I got really disappointed in the end. I mean, he didn't even know that Harry was hunting down and destroying his precious Horcruxes till near the end of the book. One-of-the-world's-greatest-Legilimens, my ass.
  • Near the end of the book, Harry even managed to willfully look into Voldemort's mind to see where the Dark Lord was - yes, he tuned into Voldemort's mind like it's a radio station. Highly-accomplished-Occlumens, my ass.
  • Too many people died too easily. The only deaths that I felt sorry for was Hedwig's (first blood) and Dobby's. Lupin and Tonk's death was only mentioned in passing, and in fact, I only realised that they were pawned after I read the ending chapters the second time. Fred who?
  • Usage of expletives like "bastard" and "bitch" totally degraded Rowling's writing standards.
  • House-elves are unstoppable. Harry commanded Kreacher to capture Mundungus Fletcher and the little creepy bugger managed to do that without even breaking a sweat. Dobby single-handedly rescued everyone - Luna Lovegood, Dean Thomas, Ollivander, Griphook the goblin, Harry, Ron and Hermione - from Malfoy Manor. I wonder why the Death Eaters didn't just send a house-elf to nab Harry and company.
  • The debt Peter Pettigrew owed Harry was not resolved satisfactorily. I was banking on that figuring rather largely in the downfall of Voldemort. What a disappointment.
  • Lord Voldemort accidentally killed himself with a rebounded spell, just because the Elder Wand commandeered by Voldemort wouldn't act on Harry, its true master. Harry won the wand from Draco Malfoy after he disarmed Draco in that scuffle in Malfoy Manor - and Draco won the wand initially from Dumbledore by disarming him in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I don't know about you but I think that the whole charade felt too deus ex machina-ish. The wand ownership concept wasn't bad on its own but I wished that Rowling had foreshadowed this event in the previous books. That's the problem with this book. A lot of things just cropped out of nowhere, making everything so hard to swallow.
  • Harry left the Elder Wand in Dumbledore's tomb, hoping to die a peaceful death and breaking the wand's power. Won't that mean anyone can simply march up to Harry, kill him, and then retrieve the wand from Dumbledore's tomb? Harry would have nothing extra-powerful to protect him but his old phoenix feather wand. And it's kind of arrogant for him to think that he won't be disarmed or beaten in a duel all his life. What a git.
  • I guessed half of the main plot twists in the book, like how Snape turned out to be a good guy after all and that the death of Dumbledore was staged. I also guessed that Potter will be the seventh Horcrux.
  • Not enough Snape.

And the top 3 reasons this book stinks are;
  • Harry Potter didn't die.
  • He had kids with Ginny Weasley.
  • His kids' names are James, Lily and Albus Severus Potter.

Thinks Rowling needs to rewrite the 7th Potter book,
k0k s3n w4i


Rabbit said...

Samo say not spoiler. -__-

belle said...

blimey...and his fucking kids name is albus severus potter? LOL!!!!

..thks..ill b saving my rm70 bucks. -___-"
i mean its quite predictable can!
seriously i dont mind the spoiler at all

Dr.Vishaal Bhat said...

I hated it when i read it almost 4 months ago... I actually got a copy in my mail from one of my friends.. The leaked copy was the same as the one released 3 days ago..

so am not buying it..

k0k s3n w4i said...

The spoilers are right at the bottom with a bright red warning sign! Where got spoil je.

Exactly! Officially the shittiest name in the entire series!
Well, some people can get really touchy about spoilers (like me).
Glad to be of service to you ;)

@Dr.Vishaal Bhat
The copy I received in my mail was a dud. I realised it wasn't Rowling's style from the get to go.
I actually contemplated getting the entire set when some limited edition affair hit the market. I'm not going to do that now.

WeowWix said...

Your list has my support.

Quite simply a bad book. Especially for being the final book in the series.

pinksterz said...

krystle must be really innocent to ask you. tsk tsk...

dumbledore is the lead researcher of what?! how on earth you could come up with that?! -__________-|||

but i guess i half agree. book seventh is just too.....predictable. too many deaths. but i still like the ending on snape. the way he let harry knows everything from his memories.

and my fave is still the prisoner of azkaban.

Zzzyun said...

dunno abt u guys, but i think the book was great - if u can gloss pass the loopholes and flaws or overpredictability.

but anyhow i do agree with u on a few of its -ve points.

1) yeah! i cant believe what sort of spells that hermoine and the lot cud have cast prevented the death-eaters from tracking them down for so long. doesnt make sense.
2) and yes i also wondered why Lord Voldemort didnt know tat harry was reading his thoughts. weird isnt it?
3) dunno abt the word bastard but i was mightily surprised when i saw mrs weasley screamed the expletive "bitch"! :O
4) i was predicting that snape wud turn out to be a good guy in the end... due to the fact that this book is supposed to be teaching good morales. irony when referred to #3.
5) and correct! i tot harry was being abit too lax (if not arrogant) by assuming others wud not be able to defeat him to get the Elder wand. -_-
6) oh ya, i still dont like the harry x ginny combo. no chemistry! ron x hermione is nice tho.

but put all the -ve's aside, i wudnt said it was sucha bad book after all.. there were some spots that did turn on the excitement. personally i think the worst book was book 6.

Anonymous said...

I think Snape's acting as a double agent was the one great thing Rowling did in tying up that story element. However she had been setting that up for six books now. The rest could more or less be rewritten, honestly.

I'm a little surprised you didn't rant about the lovely epilogue, though. 19 years later, No mention about what was actually going on in the world except for Harry knocking Ginny up, the same for Ron and Hermione. Did Harry become an auror? Did they put Voldemort's body on display at the Louvre?

Yeah, the book just sucked.

k0k s3n w4i said...

It's obvious that she had the movie in mind when she wrote it. Money got to her mind finally.

I'm a really upstanding and trustworthy bloke. of course she trusts me.
The only thing I like about the book is the way she humanised Dumbledore.
And my fave is The Half Blood Prince. I accidentally spoilt Prisoner of Azkaban for myself because I started reading the series from Bk 4.

I'm a critic. Not a glosser-over. I say it like I see it, ma'am.
And I didn't feel any real excitement anyway, but maybe I've just seen too much. And I think you didn't like HBP because it was spoilt for you. I myself can never see what's the big deal with POA because I had it spoilt for me.

Snape is quite possibly the most well-developed character in the book with complex morals and agendas.
Harry is flat. And so is Voldemort. Why, even Dobby had a better personality than that two.
I heard that the epilogue was slashed short by Rowling herself (the original explained that Harry is head Auror and Ron is working in his dept. and Hermione is a lawyer of sorts in the ministry - or something along that line). And I did rant about the epilogue ;)

aya* said...

is it me or is it realli very very very very unnecessary to name every single one of their child at the ending.

and "bitch!" was realli unexpected from Rowling's standards.

all and all , it was a nice twist. altho i still dun like the emo harry.

aya* said...

btw.i wanna share my doubts with you. seeming dat none of my friends are bookworms and the ones dat are still hasnt read it yet.

teddy supposed to be harry's god-son. isnt he suppose to be.. more important that .. albus severus and the rest of the kids? i wanted to know what'd happen to him. being a half-werewolf and all. 19 years later, isnt he suppose to be OUT of hogwards?

and .. the final battle part. why did the griffindor sword miraculously popped out in the middle of no where?

i realli need to re-read the book. i was so excited in wanting know the ending i just browsed thru some parts.

k0k s3n w4i said...

I stopped liking Harry after the 5th book. Since then, I was always hoping for him to die in the end. That's the only way to redeem him, IMO.

I agree it's unnecessary to name his kids. What I protest most vehemently is the awful names he chose. I cringed when I read them. Albus Severus Potter. Harry probably wanted all the other children to beat up his kid. Poor Al.

Nice twist? It was "Avada Kedavra", reflected and Dead Voldy. it's a hard to guess twist, i'll give Rowling that... but I find it a stretch.

Why do you think that a god son shud be more important to than his other kids? I think it wasn't specified that he still attend Hogwarts. Maybe he's just hanging about the platform to snog Victoire. You know guys right? Hamsap buggers.

About the sword, i think it's something like what happened in book 2, when the sword came out for Harry in times of need. the difference this time is that we knew the sword was taken by Griphook, so we found it harder to swallow. Before this, we just assumed the sword was tucked in some fourth dimensional space inside the hat.

But like i said, the book is riddled with plotholes. *shrugs* too much new stuff unexplained. zzzyun wrote a review too (you can try checking hers out). she thinks this is the best book of the series.