Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

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No spoilers, I promise, for those who are lagging behind.

Hmmm. Well then, what is one to say? She did manage to wrap it up--something that given the number of lose ends at the end of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince I had wondered how she was going to manage in a single volume.

After all, Half-Blood Prince was an entire volume devoted to the finding of a single horcrux. Given that only two or three of the seven had been found and destroyed, one wondered how the remaining four would be found and put to rest in a mere 750 pages.

And that apart from resolving Snape good or evil, and any number of other tangles.

But she managed it--and as far as plot goes, I think Rowling is amazing. To plan the intricacy of these seven volumes with the care that she must have done--truly an amazing feat.

It is a shame that Ms. Rowling does not hold up well as a prose stylist. At times when she's trying for rhapsodic and lyrical, we get merely painful and awkward. But then Agatha Christies, who was serviceable at prose, excellent at plot, suffered a bit in the characterization realm. So not all writers are equally adept at all aspects of writing. We take them as they come, and Ms. Rowling has woven one of the more memorable sequences of stories in a long time. Her detractors (exorcists and others included) aside, Ms. Rowling's work has an interest, a durability, and a solid spiritual foundation that should encourage generations of young readers to continue their perusal of her work. Despites its flaws, I do not think that this is a flash-in-the-pan, but destined to sit on the same shelf as Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time and C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia--not that it has the profound substance of those two works, but in guided reading and careful analysis, there is much here to educate young people. It may occasionally come in soundbytes: "Will you choose the good or the easy?" but it is there nonetheless.

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Thanks, Steven. I think you are quite accurate about Rowling's work. I remember finding Narnia a bit mechanical, especially if the reader is familiar with Lewis' other work, and the pastiche of Greek and other mythology a bit jarring. (Rowling's world, to my mind, accomodates more of that better). Yet both have such virtues that they should endure.

Dear Jim,

Thanks for the comment. I believe you are right about both having their virtues. And while I'm not wild about Rowling's prose style, I am left with a very positive impression of her work.





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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on July 29, 2007 8:27 AM.

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