"Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?" Where do I start on this one? As with the "latest movie":http://ambival.net/movies/harry-potter-and-the-order-of-the-phoenix, and, reading it back, I'm figuring I took the same attitude with "my review of the last book":http://ambival.net/books/harry-potter-and-the-half-blood-prince lol, I think I just have to go ahead and type my brains out until I feel I've written too much, that's the only way I can hope to really get my thoughts out there on this, the last installment of a series that has gone from strength to strength, growing with its audience year by year, even those of us who were far too old for it to start with, lol ;)
It's funny how I've complained to just about anyone who'll listen these past couple of days about my mum pre-ordering the adult edition when I really wanted the children's edition since that's the version I've purchased from the start (my collection isn't perfect - the first two are paperback as I came to the series late - but at least the covers match), but this last installment is curiously worthy of the po-faced, practically monochrome adult cover art. It's a _very_ complex novel. JK Rowling has touched on complex themes almost from the start, but it's always been quite easy reading. I'll admit that I've only read each of the books so far the once - I'm sure that the more readers know about the story, the more times they've read them, marked, learned and inwardly digested (to borrow words of an old teacher, lol) them, the more they will get out of this finale. For the rest of us, blind faith that "it will all make sense in the end" just about suffices. I do feel the need to point out that I struggled through long stretches of the book's middle section.
There's been so much talk about "who dies?" etc that in the past week I've been surprised to find my stomach tightening everytime I felt I was going to run into a spoiler - online, on TV, in life, didn't matter, even I got swept away by the hysterical anticipation of the thing - JK seems to have anticipated this, and she opens the novel tantalisingly with a foreboding dedication (including everyone who has "stuck with Harry until the very end") and a couple of quotes about death that simultaneously re-enforce and contradict everyone's fears for Harry. I'll only say this - you could be told a whole fistful of spoilers regarding "who dies" here and the book would still not truly be spoiled. "Who dies?" - even "Does _he_ die?" - they're simply the wrong questions to be asking.
But enough about death. The great thing about these books is no matter how low they descend into the horrors, JK always has a twinkle in her quill. I pointed out in the last review, rather shamelessly, and good for me lol, how much it thrilled me when JK had the bumbling duo Crabbe and Goyle turned into little girls by Polyjuice potion. Needless-to-say, when she did the same thing here (well, it's a little different, but it's still Polyjuice TG lol) so early, I was equally gobsmacked. From there on, there's a long stretch where it seems like the innuendo threatens never to let up. I think for me it peaked with the line, when Harry receives a particularly wizardy version of your basic "Great Chat-up Lines" book, "Twelve Fail-Safe Ways to Charm Witches", for his 17th birthday, and Ron tells him, "You'd be surprised, it's not all about wandwork, either." LOL. I loved the humour from the Weasley twins even when one of them has been terribly injured, too ... "Ear, ear!"
As I said, there were stretches of it I struggled with - there's a chapter towards the end, from which I took the quote I opened with, where I really started to fear the utmost disappointment. It's almost like that scene with The Architect at the end of "The Matrix Reloaded":http://ambival.net/movies/the-matrix-reloaded - but that line that ends the chapter, it pulls it all back, and that's the case throughout the whole book, even in the longest stretches ... it does, indeed, all make sense in the end. I don't think JK could've ended this any more satisfying or unpredictably, not to mention so ultimately, as she has. Spoilers beware indeed - for there's a _lot_ to spoil. I cried at the end as expected ... but not for the reason I suspected.