It's been a few days since I finished my marathon HP reading. I listened to Stephen Fry's version of Goblet of Fire, Order of The Phoenix and Half Blood Prince and Jim Dale's version of Deathly Hallows. Jim Dale has this old lady way of saying 'Sorry' which Harry, Hermione and Ron keep saying throughout DH, and 'Oh, Harry...', which Hermione says often, that I found a little distracting because it kept taking me out of the story. Aside from this nitpick, it was a great way to catch up on the books in the little bits of time here and there over the past few weeks.






Favorite bits from Deathly Hallows

The way that Harry keeps the trio together and leans on his friends to help him through the hard parts in DH was some of the stuff I enjoyed best. At the end of DH after Harry's killed Voldemort and everyone wants to celebrate with him, the only people he wants to be with are Ron and Hermione. How fitting. J.K. doesn't even include Ginny in this. These three are totally my OTP for the series.

As annoying as I've found Harry's temper tantrums and general childishness in Order of The Phoenix, I really liked the way J.K. Rowling handled his disappointment when he finds out about Albus' past and his mistakes. The scene when Hermione reads Skeeter's account of his friendship with Grindenwald and the death of Arianna was very well done. Harry who's known nothing but neglect and occasional cruelty from the Dursleys is still all about black and white. He needed Dumbledore not to have any weakness. Hermione and Ron are much more able to understand and forgive because they are that much more emotionally mature. That little pat on the head that Hermione gives Harry as if he was a little boy says it all. Hermione's not just all about the big brain, she's also a really great friend.

The showdown at Malfoy manor was very nicely built up. Our heroes get into more and more trouble until it really seems like they're done for. They're captured by Fenrir Greyback, Bellatrix is torturing Hermione, the others are locked into an impenetrable cellar without their wands. Then step by step, J.K takes the mess apart and they get out unharmed except for Dobbie *tears*.
It seemed a little too easy for Ron and Harry to defeat Bellatrix but otherwise it was a great sequence, and it's the turning point in the book.
From here on out, we are treated to the payoff for the whole series. Harry grows up, he gets back on track with his quest for the horcruxes, gains understanding for the flaws and greatness of Dumbledore, finds out there was much more to Snape than he could imagine, and assumes his own destiny. It's one satisfying revelation after the other until the final chapter and makes for a great read.

The awesome characters

I heart Hermione. Not only is she super smart, but she's got a soft spot in her heart for those less fortunate than her in the brain department, like Harry, Ron and Victor Krum, and for those who are forgotten like house elves and Hagrid. Her preparations before they head out to look for horcruxes are genius. She saves all of their butts so many times and is remarkably low maintenance about the whole thing.

Ever since Order of the Phoenix and the terrible background story about Neville's parents, I've been expecting great things from Neville. He is *the* awesome. I do give credit to Harry for picking Neville and Luna over the popular kids at the start of HBP. Luna is just as awesome in her own right. I wish we'd gotten more of both of them in DH, but very happy with what we did get.

Snape finally got his moment to shine. I could tell something like this was coming after the memory we saw in HBP. The glimpses of his relationship with Dumbledore were fascinating. Alan Rickman does such a great job with him, I'm looking forward to some great scenes in the next two movies.

The stuff I still haven't figured out

I wish it hadn't been so easy for Bellatrix to defeat Hermione in Order of Phoenix or to hold her off in their final battle. I'm not sure why Hermione doesn't seem to be as kickass in front of the bad guys as she is in other tight spots. I wish the books weren't using the third person limited p.o.v so we could have gotten more inside of her head. Most of the time it would be a more interesting place than Harry's head.

The other bit I didn't get was why Hermione didn't seem to follow Harry's reasoning about the significance of the stone in the ring and Voldy's quest for the Elder Wand. Is this the girl who figured out that Voldemort had planted a vision of capturing Sirius in Harry's mind? Why is she suddenly so lacking in insight? That felt a little artificial and gratuitous esp since it doesn't invalidate her main point ie: going after the horcruxes is really their first priority.

I still haven't read the first few books and I suspect this is the reason why I haven't warmed up too much to Ron. In the books I've read, he's mostly a self absorbed big whiner, and absolutely no help in talking sense into Harry. I have no clue why Hermione ended up with him except for the fact that she seems to have a soft spot for the people who need help. His walking out act in DH seemed like a replay of his breakup with Harry in 'Order of the Phoenix'. Here also I felt the limitation of the third person limited p.o.v. I wasn't clear on why Ron chose that moment to leave, after everything, or why he decided to come back.

I didn't particularly like the Epilogue. For sure Harry needed a chance to have the happy family life he didn't have as a child. But after Dumbledore essentially made him his spiritual heir, I also expected Harry to try to step up to the plate or get Hermione to do it. Peaking at 17 would be a little sad for our heroes. There's still a long way for them to go to catch up with Dumbledore or even Snape.

From: [identity profile] angharad_gov.livejournal.com


I still haven't read the first few books and I suspect this is the reason why I haven't warmed up too much to Ron. In the books I've read, he's mostly a self absorbed big whiner, and absolutely no help in talking sense into Harry. I have no clue why Hermione ended up with him except for the fact that she seems to have a soft spot for the people who need help.

i was never a big ron fan. even with our limited p.o.v. from harry (who is supposed to be his best friend) ron still comes off as a giant prat. i never understood what hermione saw in him and heaven knows why she ends up marry the little twerp.

From: [identity profile] murasaki1200.livejournal.com


i was never a big ron fan. even with our limited p.o.v. from harry (who is supposed to be his best friend) ron still comes off as a giant prat.

That's too bad. I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt, but from what I've read, he totally takes Hermione for granted and mostly cares about how she can help him get his homework done faster. Then the Lavender Brown episode shows he's got absolutely no taste or sensitivity.

He only changes his approach when he starts figuring out that sucking up to Hermione may help him get into her pants. Even though I can understand where he's coming from on the latter, it does make him come off as a total jerk.

At least he offered to take Hermione's place when he realized she was going to be tortured by Bellatrix and he seemed genuinely distressed during the incident but still, I was holding out for Hermione to snag Fred if she was going to go with one of the Weasley boys.

From: [identity profile] angharad_gov.livejournal.com


fred is a good choice if she were to snag a weasley, although my default is always, "femslash whenever possible." it's too bad ginny was so underdeveloped character-wise. we get something, but not much. i like how some of the fan ficcers paired hermione and fleur. a surprising and interesting dynamic. secretly, though, i'd always hoped that it would be harry and hermione at the end. they seemed "right" somehow. in the movie versions, the relationship portrayed there seems like it could develop and grow into something more than BFF :)

From: [identity profile] murasaki1200.livejournal.com


i like how some of the fan ficcers paired hermione and fleur. a surprising and interesting dynamic.

I've read a few Hermione/Fleur fics that I've liked. I agree the pairing totally works. In fact I read one where Bellatrix tortures Hermione so I assume the rumor was out there in fandom that this might happen.

secretly, though, i'd always hoped that it would be harry and hermione at the end. they seemed "right" somehow. in the movie versions, the relationship portrayed there seems like it could develop and grow into something more than BFF :)

Yes, the relationship between Harry and Hermione is a lot more developed it seems. We're told Harry actually cares about her feelings (maybe because of the p.o.v thing). During the Lavender Brown thing for instance, Harry takes the time to sit with Hermione and give her a chance to vent and in DH a couple of times he reflects on her feelings and acts accordingly.
Conversely, Hermione shows many times how well she understands how Harry thinks.

It feels a little bit like the Ron/Hermione was crowbarred into existence. I hope fanfic will correct this with some Hermione femslash. I could go for Hermione/Luna for instance.


From: [identity profile] angharad_gov.livejournal.com


It feels a little bit like the Ron/Hermione was crowbarred into existence.

it really does. like you said, maybe if we got into other character p.o.v.s, we could see the other side. i understand if rowling was trying to do the beatrice/benedick much to do about nothing dynamic with ron/hermione, but she didn't pull it off that well. i have no sympathy for ron despite his "everyman" character, despite him being the youngest boy in a huge family of very accomplished people. she's built him up too much as an asshole. there's honest (luna) and then there's just plain acting like a jerk (ron).

I hope fanfic will correct this with some Hermione femslash. I could go for Hermione/Luna for instance.

i read one or hermione/luna fics that made me like the dynamic between them. the pairing's growing on me, actually, especially after DH.

From: [identity profile] murasaki1200.livejournal.com


i read one or hermione/luna fics that made me like the dynamic between them. the pairing's growing on me, actually, especially after DH.

Let me know if you have any fic recs. Since my fic reading time is super limited these days I could really use some recs. I'm sure I'm not the only one on your flist looking for Hermione fics to make up for the DH epilogue ;).

From: [identity profile] fembuck.livejournal.com


As annoying as I've found Harry's temper tantrums and general childishness ...

Word. Harry has annoyed me to no end in some of the other books, OoTP especially presented him as being an almost completely unbearable git. So I was very pleased that throughout and by the end of this book, that I saw Harry mature into a person that I could respect, instead of wanting to smack all the time.

It seemed a little too easy for Ron and Harry to defeat Bellatrix...

Word again. I mean, I know that ultimately the good guys were gonna triumph, but J.K built up Bellatrix way too much for her to be diswanded by Harry and Ron, and then killed my Molly Weasely.

I totally agree with everything you said in the "awesome characters section". Hermione has been a perpetually kickass character, who I have always been able to count on not to do anything ridiculously stupid, to act like a complete wanker, but to stand by her friends, never give up, and always be their when someone needs their ass saved. I'll admit her crying got a little tiring in this book, but overall she continued to be the awesome character I loved.

Luna and Neville were also a joy to see. Luna, literally brought tears to my eyes just by being such a beautiful soul. Those pictures she had of her friends (so misty eyed), the way she cared for Ollivander, her eulogy for Dobby, her quiet wisdom and bravery. Luna! And Neville, I was so happy to see him come into his own. Honestly, I like Neville way more than Harry and think that he emerged the far greater hero, but whatever. Go Neville!

And Snape! The overview of the important events in Snape's life was one of my favorite parts of the book. Getting to see what made the man what he was (so much hate for James Potter, effing toerag), seeing more of his relationship with Dumbledore, and then he parting request for Harry to look at him so that he could die looking into Lily's eyes. Snape!

I wish it hadn't been so easy for Bellatrix to defeat Hermione in Order of Phoenix...

I'll give this one a pass, since Bellatrix has FAR more duelling experience than Hermione, who before OoTP hadn't really been in a dog fight. If a school girl had been able to easily take on an experienced Death Eater who parents tell the children horror stories about to get them to go to sleep at night it would have bugged more.

I wish the books weren't using the third person limited p.o.v so we could have gotten more inside of her head. Most of the time it would be a more interesting place than Harry's head.

Couldn't agree more. Like I said before, there were times when I downright didn't like Harry, so always being in his head was kind of annoying. And there were moments especially, where I really wanted to know what was going on with another character (ex. that last visual exchange with Petunia, what WAS she thinking?).

In the books I've read, he's mostly a self absorbed big whiner, and absolutely no help in talking sense into Harry.

I don't really have a soft spot for Ron, but I don't mind him. Ron, is the everyman. He's not really that special in anyway, he is whiney and self-absorbed because he's a teenager, and he's good for comic relief because he says things other people have too much tact to. Not thrilled with him winding up with Hermione, I think she's far too mature for him at the end of the novel, and with the differences in their personalities I find it hard to believe that even if they did hook up that they would stay together, but whatever.

I didn't particularly like the Epilogue.

Don't feel bad, I have yet to encounter someone who did, lol.

From: [identity profile] murasaki1200.livejournal.com


J.K built up Bellatrix way too much for her to be diswanded by Harry and Ron, and then killed my Molly Weasely.

Agreed. At least in the final fight Bellatrix is described as the most powerful of the Death Eaters. She's fending off three attackers. I never knew Molly Weasley was her equal or better either, although JK often says you have to mean it, and Molly really meant to protect her family.

There does seem to be inconsistencies in the description of the level of power of the various characters. Snape wiped the floor with Harry in Order of the Phoenix or HBP I think so that gives us a pretty good idea that Harry is not that great in absolute terms against anyone other than Voldy.

Hermione seems to hold her own pretty well in some bad situations but ultimately is not described as winning the key duels.

Bellatrix is described as very powerful, and yes it does make sense that she would defeat Hermione the first time out, but the Malfoy manor escape was a little too easy so it creates an inconsistency.

Luna, literally brought tears to my eyes just by being such a beautiful soul. Those pictures she had of her friends (so misty eyed), the way she cared for Ollivander, her eulogy for Dobby, her quiet wisdom and bravery.

Totally agree. The pictures were such an insight into Luna. I would love to see some Hermione/Luna fic, they'd be some interesting contrasts.

with the differences in their personalities I find it hard to believe that even if they did hook up that they would stay together, but whatever.

Yep, hard to imagine them not drifting apart when they get older and Hermione keeps getting more kickass because *she* hasn't peaked at 17. I can't see Ron keeping up.

From: [identity profile] fembuck.livejournal.com


And to continue my long-ass response ...

I also expected Harry to try to step up to the plate or get Hermione to do it.

Hermione going on to great things I could totally see. I just never got the impression that Harry was really capable of stepping up to the plate. I can buy him as a good Auror, but not really anything more. That's one thing that got me about the novels, was that I never really felt like Harry did much worth noting on his own. And yes, I know he often admits as much, but if it hadn't been for this magical connection to Voldemort (which really anyone might have gotten) he would have been largely useless.

Peaking at 17 would be a little sad for our heroes.

Yeah, and despite the epilogue I think that might be the case. Like a child star, only Harry managed to deal with it and go on to live a normal life relatively out of the spotlight. Actually, for Hermione all of it was probably just a beginning, and I can see it being an opportunity for Ron to break out from under Harry's shadow as well. But Harry, well he's no Dumbledore to have gone on to make exciting new discoveries and whatnot, so I still kind of feel like he mostly peaked.

From: [identity profile] murasaki1200.livejournal.com


I just never got the impression that Harry was really capable of stepping up to the plate. I can buy him as a good Auror, but not really anything more.

Nods. Yes, I got the same impression.I would have liked to see Dumbledore's legacy being picked up but it's going to have to be Hermione or the kids.




From: [identity profile] amluv.livejournal.com


jumps in *waves hello*...in ronnie the bear's defense, ron is extremely insecure. he comes from a huge family where he doesn't particularly stand out and his best friend is like the jesus christ of the wizarding world. i think that's a lot to swallow, but he does and he does it in stride and janine said, he's the everyman, he does what needs doing. that's his function in the group. you point out that he never talks sense into harry, i think that's because he understands harry's need to be confident in making his decisions and he backs him up, that's what a best friends does. i love ron because i totally get him.

i think hermione is attracted to him because of the fact that of everyone around her, he seems to be the only one who can stand toe-to-toe with her and i think he that, she sees in him all the things everyone else can't, including him. say what you want about how much of a dick ron can be, but you can't deny that he is a fiercely loyal friend and when the chips are down he proves to be quite courageous as well.

From: [identity profile] murasaki1200.livejournal.com


Hey there! I was hoping someone would help me understand Ron better. I do suspect he came off better in the early books where he probably helps Harry figure out the wizarding world since of the three he's the only one who was raised in it.

ron is extremely insecure. he comes from a huge family where he doesn't particularly stand out and his best friend is like the jesus christ of the wizarding world. i think that's a lot to swallow, but he does and he does it in stride and janine said, he's the everyman, he does what needs doing.

I can see that. I think I was traumatized by Order of the Phoenix and how high maintenance Ron is about being on the quidditch team. That's one thing about audiobooks, you can't skip and being read out loud makes everything stay with you more. Those bits about Ron were very painful.

I can see his role in the trio though. There's a little bit of the hand, the heart and the brain thing going with Harry, Ron and Hermione in those roles respectively, but somehow Harry and Hermione ended up playing the three roles between the two of them and not leaving much for Ron to do.

You're right Ron probably suffers mostly in comparison to the other two who each have something special about them. Ron doesn't really, but he was good enough to be prefect, he passed most of the important OWLs and generally he embraces dangerous situations that being friends with Harry gets him into. He could have said I told you so about not saying Voldemort's name out loud and didn't. In fact neither Ron nor Hermione said anything so both of them get the good friends badge on that one.

From: (Anonymous)


what can i say...ron's the "xander" of the trio ;)

i think he suffers a bit in the last book because he's MIA for a good chunk of the time. and he redeems himself in a huge way...i love that she did that w/ him...

the thing that really makes the series cool is that the everyone is flawed. i love hermione but my girl suffers from an overwhelming self-righteousness in a huge way. but she too is very insecure and maybe that's the reason why she gets ron. i totally wanted to bash harry's head in in book 5, but after reading the next 2 books, i understand why it was necessary to portray him in that light because by the end, he truly emerges as a real man and you appreciate his journey all the more when you realize that level of growth and i think that rings true for ron too. okay, i'll stop now :)

i just get really excited when it comes to the awesomeness of the potter.

From: [identity profile] murasaki1200.livejournal.com


Yes, I can see that Ron was meant to be the Xander of HP but I don't think it totally worked in the more recent books. Being insecure is not in and of itself a character flaw until Ron starts making it other people's problem. I don't actively dislike Ron, he just seems like he was a little neglected as a character in the last few books and that hurt the trio. I wish that Ron worked better if only to make things more interesting for the other two. Harry did show amazing loyalty for his friends in DH, sharing all the information he was privy to and making them into equal partners. I really enjoyed that aspect of the book.

As far as Harry being insufferable in Book 5, the worst of it was really that he was being dumb. It's like he needed to play chess, but he was throwing temper tantrums instead of getting his head in the game. So painful. It's very nice to see that he's able to grow past that in DH. The key moment seems to be right after they find out about the Deathly Hallows at Luna's house and Harry puts the pieces together. That was very exciting.

If you like HP, you should definitely read Libba Bray's 'A Great and Terrible Beauty'. Her prose is fantastic, the main characters are all girls and the magical universe is even more fascinating and dangerous than HP. Amazing stuff.


From: [identity profile] amluv.livejournal.com


cool...i'm always in the market for something new...:)

so thanks for the rec.!
fenris_wolf0: So innocent it hurts! (Default)

From: [personal profile] fenris_wolf0


Oooookay... so as a non-HP reader, how accurate is this?

*Warning: needless to say, this may contain spoilers (I wouldn't now if it did, but I will assume it does not matter since all HP fans have by now read the book?*

:)

From: [identity profile] murasaki1200.livejournal.com


I saw this on the flist when [livejournal.com profile] astolat rec'd it and then pointed out that lj had permanently deleted the account in their latest purge.

It's funny because it dares to not treat HP as something sacred, but it's not really a fair description of the book.

I don't have time to comment on each point because I have to get up at 6am for a very long day, but I'm sure someone has already done this some place if you're interested. Otherwise ping me again and we can chat ;)
.

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