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24 July 2007 @ 03:20 pm
Fandom: Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Review (*Spoilers*)  

I'm not a great fan of the Harry Potter book series, though I've read nearly all of them (still haven't found my misplaced copy of Half-Blood Prince). The books are enjoyable as entertainment, but JK Rowling's writing isn't. Frankly, she's not a very talented writer; and commercial success does not always equate with talent. So, there were no illusions to be shattered or ships to be sunk in reading Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows.

Over the course of the series, Rowling has set her stories to span an entire school term at Hogwarts. And, unfortunately for Deathly Hallows, that format remains constant. The real battle for the wizarding world doesn't take place until late in the book, and everything prior is simply window dressing. Although Harry and his friends (Ron and Hermione) are the stars of the series, in this book, what they do for most of the story is neither very interesting nor very exciting: while everyone else is fighting, in the resistance or has gone over to the dark side, they're on the run and in hiding. One finds their interest lies more with the secondary characters than the trio, which is what winds up making fanfiction so popular.

Rowling uses a lot of witchnobabble throughout the book; the worst being Hermione's use of the TARDIS little beaded bag, which seems able to expand to near infinite capacity to hold everything the trio will need while on the run, while neither increasing in size nor mass. You'd think if they really wanted to hide from Death Eaters and Dementors that they'd just hide themselves in the purse and owl mail themselves to wherever they needed to go. It would have saved a lot of time and innocent trees.

Throughout this book, the main question to be asked: what happened to Hermione? This strong, intelligent young woman spends almost the entire book in some kind of emo phase. She seems to be crying every other scene. After a while, it got downright annoying.

While people have raved about Molly Weasley's handling of Bellatrix, all I can say is that the scene will film far better than it was written, and it almost seems to be a shout-out to the filmmakers.

The ending falls flat. Yes, Harry defeats Voldemort. Was there any doubt? JKR has spent an entire book telling us what has been happening in the wizarding world since the Ministry of Magic was taken over, and there's nothing further about how that world recovers. Instead, there's a poorly written epilogue set nineteen years in the future. It's her world, and she can create and destroy it how she pleases, but her ending was just plain unsatisfactory. Hell, even a news article in the Daily Prophet set one or two years post-Voldemort's defeat could have tied up numerous hanging (these weren't loose) ends.

JKR has not improved as a writer, and she should be very grateful for the success and revenue that Harry Potter has brought her. Her talent is limited, and it's doubtful lightning will strike twice for her.