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26 July 2007 @ 06:48 am
The Deathly Hallows  
After dawdling through it over the last few days, some time last night Harry Potter became unputdownable.

It is now after six am, and I have class in less than three hours.

As much as I enjoyed the previous books, they were all just a prelude. The Deathly Hallows was everything I had hoped it would be and more.

There were two main fears that I had, where I was worried Rowling might utterly fuck the story up.

1. Bringing Dumbledore back from the dead.

2. Making Snape the villain after all.

I knew that 2 wasn't likely, because it simply didn't make any sense thematically. The whole point of a character like Snape is the moral ambiguity. His big story was that he was a complete prick, and yet absolutely heroic. A wonderfully morally ambiguous character (my favourite sort of character, cf. Gollum & Javert), the ambiguity seemingly shattered with the murder of Dumbledore.

The best thing was that, while I knew Snape had to be a good guy, no matter how hard I tried I couldn't work out how. It wasn't enough for him to redeem himself after being evil, like Narcissa - his character only worked if he was good all along. The euthanasia angle was inspired, and Snape's unrequited love story was beautifully heart-breaking in its own twisted way, and Snape's patronus was a wonderful touch.

Thank you JK, now more than ever, Snape is one of the greatest characters ever put to paper (and not for any smutty slash reasons, either).

As for my other fear, I've maintained all along that that would have been terrible writing to resurrect Dumbledore, as it would have completely nullified the impact of the ending of the sixth book, and degraded the reason for Harry to steel himself for this quest in the first place.

When I first read book six, I felt that the best way to keep Dumbledore alive in book seven was to have him helping Harry from beyond the grave. And, again, Rowling didn't dissappoint. I thought this was done brilliantly, especially in the way it fleshed out Dumbledore's story far more than in any book previous. We really got to see why Dumbledore was the way that he was. In a wonderful juxtaposition, Dumbledore became even more the exalted god-like figure, affecting the story from beyond the grave, and appearing to Harry after death - and yet we finally get to see Dumbledore the man, warts and all.

Another wonderful character, made all the more magnificent because he is, after all, only human.

So, it's the fluidity of morality, one of my favourite themes, that is really explored in The Deathly Hallows. We see the good guys using unforgivable curses (including the dreaded Aveda Kedavra), the bad guys doing good for the love of their children, and my favourite of all, the question of what would you do for the greater good, and at what point have you gone too far?


ETA: I totally cried when Dobby died.