Harry Potter … the first six books, by J.K. Rowling

I know you have just been waiting with bated breath these last two weeks thinking, “What is Trudy reading? Why is she not updating her book reviews?!?! How can I go on living?!??!??!!?

Have no fear, fellow overreaders.  I have my reasons.  For the last two weeks I have been immersed — engrossed, even — in a comprehensive re-read of all six Harry Potter books in preparation for the  release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on July 21.

If any of you have issues with Christians enjoying Harry Potter and would like to know why I’m a fan, I’ve already written about that at some length here a few years ago — suffice it to say my attitude towards reading Harry Potter has more in common with this guy than with these people.  But if you want to discuss it more, we can do that in the comments.  Where we can also discuss, if you like, the literary merits of J.K. Rowling’s writing, as other people I know have objections to the books on literary rather than aesthetic grounds. 

So if you have questions like: Is Harry Potter teaching kids to worship the devil? or Is J.K. Rowling really ripping off a bunch of better fantasy authors? feel free to raise those in the comments section.  Here in my blog, where the compulsive overreader is queen, we will be dealing with the questions on my mind right about now…questions such as:

Is Snape really evil, or was he actually acting on Dumbledore’s orders?

If Snape is really evil, can he be redeemed before the end of the book? Can Draco? Can Voldemort??

Which of Harry’s friends/loved ones is going to die? I know it’s going to be someone important but please let it not be Ron, please please not Ron … I’m really afraid it’s going to be Ron.

Will Harry die? J.K. Rowling wouldn’t do that to us … would she????

Will Ron and Hermoine ever get together? Before or after Ron does, or doesn’t, die? What about Harry and Ginny?

Can Harry destroy Lord Voldemort without destroying himself, or his own magical powers? And if the one thing that makes Harry better than Voldemort is Harry’s ability to love — can he destroy his archenemy at all??? If your greatest weapon is the power of love …

…then how does the story end?

OK, this isn’t a review.  These books have their strong points and weak points, from a literary point of view (to mention just one weak point: the ending of Goblet of Fire is so ridiculously contrived that someone should give Lord Voldemort a copy of “If I Were An Evil Overlord” to print out and carry with him).  But what J.K. Rowling has done extremely well (maybe not well enough to deserve to be the richest woman in the world, but hey, nobody said fame was fair) is to create a story that pulls us along through six books, about three thousand pages so far, making the characters and their dilemmas so interesting and complex and real to the reader that … well, let’s just say I won’t rest easy until I know exactly how everything comes out at the end of Book Seven.

For what it’s worth: here are my predictions.

-Snape isn’t nice, but he isn’t evil either.  He will turn out to be on the side of good, and will die sacrificially, probably saving Harry.

-Harry will vanquish Lord Voldemort for good and survive to live more or less happily ever after.

-Dumbledore will not return from the dead, but his portrait will come in handy.

-Wizards will learn to have more respect for non-human magical creatures, who play a key role in Defeating Evil.

-Hagrid will die.

-Ron will die.  No, I really don’t want it to be true, but … I’m so afraid he will.

Check back with me in a little over a week… 

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4 Comments

Filed under Fiction -- fantasy

4 responses to “Harry Potter … the first six books, by J.K. Rowling

  1. I KNOW!!!!
    I’m so excited, I have butterflies.

    I have SO many theories. I so wish I had the time/energy to share them all here. But let me sum up:

    Snape – good; acting on D’s orders. What else would D have begged for? Certainly not his life.

    Dum – really dead. Yet, the phoenix has been his right hand man all along. That can’t not come into play AT ALL.

    Hermione – going to die, but we’ll learn that there’s some way to be dead but not really dead, and she’ll “come back to life” or so it will seem. Like D implied would happen with Malfoy. Like might happen with D?

    Harry – will defeat V, via the sacrifice of Snape.

    I’m SO EXCITED!!!!!

  2. I have been trying to resist the hype, but am pretty keen to see how this whole adventure ends. Particularly as I think this last book may cast light on the whole project and may yet “expose” the Harry Potter phenomenon as a force for good. Then again, Rowling may choose to leave the ambiguity. And, of course, I am just curious to find out how the story concludes—a story with which we have been living for quite a number of years. I hope it concludes properly, with no further sequels or such silliness.

  3. Catherine, like most fans, I’ve thought a lot about Dumbledore’s “Please, Severus.” He might not have been begging for his own life, but he might have been begging Snape not to kill him because doing that — pronouncing the Unforgiveable Curse — would mean that Snape had finally, irrevocably committed to the dark side. Perhaps D still had hope that there was good in Snape right to the last, and it was that (Snape’s better nature) that he was appealing to, moreso than actually begging for his life.

    Of course many different readings make sense … which is what makes it so interesting!

    Nathan, if there’s one thing I’m pretty sure of, it’s that there won’t be any sequels — JKR has been about as definitive about that as I’ve ever seen a writer be about anything. I personally think just the feat of having such a complex seven-book story planned out in such detail in advance is impressive enough … this is coming from me, who generally doesn’t know where a book is going as I write from one chapter to the next! (It helps when I’m writing historical fiction about a real person, as then at least the plot outlines are there for me).

    I do think that in general the HP stories are “a force for good” in the sense that they are stories in which good will triumph over evil, and love will be revealed as ultimately the most powerful force in the world. Very Christian, from that standpoint, though some people (like my pastor!!) will never see it that way. I’ve told my son he can read the series next year when he’s 10 (he’s very curious about it now!) but I would certainly have less worries about him reading Harry Potter (with appropriate parental discussions) than reading the Philip Pullman “Dark Materials” trilogy, which IMHO are genuinely anti-Christian and anti-God, though beautifully written.

    (Wow, I use way too many parentheses).

  4. I agree with almost all of your predictions. I don’t think Ron will die, though I’d love it if he did, because Hermione really deserves better…

    I had never thought of Hagrid dying, but now that you’ve said it I’m sure he will – it will be very sad and significant, without signifying the unacceptable victory of evil over good (which Harry’s death, or even Ron or Hermione’s, would do even if they took Voldemort down with them).

    I also predict that Wormtail will play a pivotal role, as will the infusion of Harry’s blood that Voldemort used to reincarnate himself.

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