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Harry Potter et les Reliques de la Mort.

2008-01-04 - 12:41 p.m.

I am on the last hundred pages of the last book of the Harry Potter series. I have assiduously and successfully avoided spoilers from all sources, yet, just now, when I went to find out how many pages this book has (810 because itís the French version), I saw a phrase containing the name of one of the main characters on the second last page which indicated that he or she is still alive. And I think it also indicated to whom that person was speaking, so I know if she or he too survives. Darn it! I know that there is supposed to be at least one big character who dies in this book (as happens in most, if not all, of the previous books) and I didnít know if it would be one of these two or not. I mean, at this point there has been the death of a character, but I donít know if itís THE death I knew was coming, or if someone else was going to die as well.

It wasnít exactly a spoiler, but I had been wondering if one/both of these characters would survive, and Iím not disappointed that they did, just that I know prematurely that they did.

Sorry to be obscure on this, but I donít want to spoil anything for the other person or two on the planet that has not yet read the book.

::

Ohmigod! That was SUCH a good book! I had to leave off writing this entry yesterday and just now finished reading it. Considering French is not my first language, I flew through this book. I promise, there will be no spoilers written here, but in general terms I have to say that I really liked how I never guessed what exactly was coming next, not even near the end. And yet, it was like J.K. Rowling managed to keep ahold of dozens of thin filaments of plot Ė some of them from several books ago which seemed to be just incidental references at the time - and weave them all back into the story line and tie them off. There were a few times when I kind of had the sense that I would have seen something coming if Iíd been able to keep track of every little thing in the thousands of pages of this series, and maybe even should have seen some things coming from time-to-time, given that Iím supposed to have such a great memory and be so detail-oriented, but, well, I just didnít. I went with the flow and let the book carry me along.

This ability to make everything come full circle is one I greatly admire in writers, and books that have, over the years, made my scalp tingle, have this in common. There are only a handful: The Fionavar Tapestry series by Guy Gavriel Kay and A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving are the only two that come readily to mind.
Yet, hereís the odd thing Ė Iíve never re-read any of them, whereas books Iíve really enjoyed but were more predictable and showed less dexterity on the part of the author Iíve read over and over again. I think it has something to do with the fact that the most deftly-woven books, the ones in which I donít see whatís coming, are just not the same to me if I know the ending. I have read and re-read Anne McCafferyís Pern books more times than I could count. Their stories are solid and well-written, but at no point do I really think thereís a chance the good guys wonít win. Reading them is like visiting a place with which Iím familiar and where Iím comfortable. By contrast, a large part of my enjoyment of books like the Harry Potter series comes from the sensation of not knowing whatís going to happen next and finding those ďah-HA!Ē moments, where I slap my forehead and think ďof course!Ē

I wouldnít want to say that reading it once has ďspoiledĒ the series for me, but I do think that if I read it again, itíll be to see what the English version is like and if I get a deeper sense of comprehension and meaning if I read it in my first language.

Anyway, if you havenít read the series, it kind of goes without saying at this point but I HIGHLY recommend it. My one criticism is that I felt that Hermioneís character gets more stereotypically ďgirlyĒ as the books have progressed and I would have liked to see her character stay stronger and provide as good a role model for girls as I think the male characters did for boys. Not to say that she doesnít stay smart and kick a lot of ass right to the end of the series, but I found that she cried a lot in this book in particular, which followed a trend I saw developing in her a few books ago. As it was, I had felt that, overall, her character in the movie versions was portrayed as weaker than her character in the books, so Iím really hoping sheís not bawling throughout the last movie. Itís not that she canít be sensitive and be the character who is used to have the audience empathize with when something is sad, itís just that I donít think she should be always crying.

Cíest tout.

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