Being essentially a child trapped inside an adult’s body, I joined the general clamour for the final Harry Potter book yesterday (albeit not at midnight – it was probably around 11am by the time I got hold of it, and fully afternoon by the time I’d settled down to start reading!). The idea of killing off people is a genius plan to get people to buy and read in a hurry!
I’d actually pre-ordered the book but since it was due to arrive at work, the temptation to pick up a copy at a loss-making £4.99 from a local grocer was something I wasn’t able to resist – since Cat had done the same thing, come monday we’ll have three copies of the book in our possession, and both have read it (probably twice, in Cat’s case).
So, before I go on to blatant spoiler-age (so read on no further than this paragraph if you don’t want to be spoiled), I did enjoy the book very much, as I have all the series. Whilst starting out as undoubtedly children’s books, there is enough depth and quality of story to keep me interested – and whilst the overriding themes I found incredibly predictable, I wasn’t quite able to fathom out how the outcome would be delivered.
I’m safe beneath my “more” tag now. Let’s face it – it was always absolutely inevitable that Harry himself, Hermione, Ron and Ginny would survive. The pre-release talk of a ‘significant death’ sparked all manner of theories – now of course, Voldemort and Snape dying could really be no surprise, I would’ve guessed at a Weasley since there’s so many of them, but predictions of one of the ‘major’ major characters dying were always likely to be way of the mark.
I was also utterly convinced that Snape would end up being absolved. It was cleverly delivered though, and I hadn’t quite worked out how it would come to be. Revealing Dumbledore’s darker past was a shrewd move though, because I did start to get taken in by the idea that he’d just used Harry as a pawn to be sacrificed – but ultimately, the happy ending scenario felt inevitable.
The epilogue of Harry and Ginny, along with Ron and Hermione, seeing their kids off on their way to Hogwarts opens up the obvious opportunities for sequels further down the line also. Whether they are written by Rowling or franchised off, I could almost envisage some kind of more overtly children’s series of stories based around Hogwarts with the next generations of wizarding families. I think there’s less scope for any prequel type activity.
Whilst the cynic in me suggests this would be an irresistible money-making opportunity, I do also see merit in the idea. I was in the city earlier and every shop stocking the books was doing a roaring trade. When I popped into the supermarket where I acquired my copy, wandering around the store it seemed that at least every other trolley or basket had the book also. For a work of literature to drive the masses – adults and children alike – to rush out to buy it in such droves is brilliant.
So I consider the Harry Potter books to be a success – I’ve really enjoyed them, and whilst I speak of predictability, perhaps that isn’t necessarily a negative thing. JK Rowling has managed to construct herself a literary shadow from whom she’ll have one hell of a time ever emerging from, and of course, we have the future film renditions of the books to look forward to (I’ve still not seen the latest one!).