Sunday, July 29, 2007

Book review - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

So finally it ends. The culmination of the biggest media exercise in publishing history. The media boffins couldn’t have had it better with the 5th movie releasing shortly before the book. Bookings for the last book in the series started almost six months in advance and as D-day drew near, the general populace (it’s no longer a children’s story) waited with bated breath.

Was the wait worth it? Definitely yes. Rowling dishes out enough entertainment to keep you glued in one place till you finish reading it from start to end without break, but she still has to drag you by the scruff of your neck along places.

Harry turns 17 and with that comes the license of using magic outside school. As expected, spells fly thick and fast throughout the story and being the accomplished students that they are, between themselves Harry and Hermione hand out spells at the rate of one every page. It helps get through the first half, that feeling of “get to the story already”. As the three friends play hide and seek with the ministry of magic, you fervently pray that Rowling stops doing the same with you.

Relationships come together and the secrets come out of the closet. However, they take their own sweet time doing so. The real action does not start until half the book is over, and at 600 odd pages, half counts for a lot. So you have to trudge through Harry’s omnipresent angst, Ron’s frustration and Hermione’s insecurities till you actually come to know what Deathly Hallows is all about. The skull headedness of this trio starts getting to you and I don’t know if that’s how Rowling wanted to develop them but I for one am sure complaining. It is her proverbial chink in the armor and this is definitely not a literary masterpiece.

Nonetheless, the second half manages to salvage the book. It is vintage Rowling doing what she does best. It is what the book had always been about. The big fight, and the events leading up to it. So everyone alive and kicking comes join the party to witness if light will prevail over darkness.

Her descriptions are lucid enough to play out motion picture scenes in my head. That the characters and settings have been given a real life image helps spur the imagination and interpret the author’s vision. When a climatic scene occurs at King’s Cross Station, you can picture the characters enacting out a movie scene in your head. It is a very interesting attribute of the franchise as the last few books have come out after the reading public has been fed on an idea of what the scenery might look like.

So should you read the book? Ok, that’s a big joke. I don’t think anyone in their sensible capacity can make a judgmental recommendation on it. If you have read the first six there is no doubt you have to read this one. If you haven’t then you obviously aren’t sold to the idea of Harry Potter and you are going to hem and haw as the world turns over in pottermania. Patronus is the new mantra.

P.S. Thank god for small mercies. The cover's don't have Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson on them.


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  3. I too felt some of the chapters was too prolonged, especially when they kept moving from tent to tent during the search of horcruxes. However, then the book picked up speed again. The part on Snape was very neatly done; another nice touch was getting many old characters and locations back into the storyline for the final book.


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