Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I don't care what you think, I love it.

Spent the weekend with my nose in a book. Finished by Sunday night. Somehow also managed to buy a new computer, set it up, take it apart again, take it back to the shop and demand the parts that they 'forgot' to pack, set it up again, and spend a bit of quality time with my family too.

Obviously, I'm not going to give away any essential bits of the plot. I will say, though, that after the last book, I had this theory about the identity of R.A.B. and my mate Rosie had this theory about Severus Snape. As it turns out, we were both right.

No doubt, cynics will continue to write dreary newspaper columns and tut at 'grown-ups' reading HP on the bus. But there will be no apologies from me. So it's undemanding? Escapism? And so what?

It's also absolutely gripping. You just have to know what's going to happen next. So you eat your tea one-handed, and decide that today is the day that your kids simply have to learn to dress themselves. Because you care about the characters, because the narrative drives you on. I guess it helps to like fantasy, and to love all that myth and legend stuff too.

But this book also manages to convey that parts of Harry and friends' search for the Horcruxes is drawn out, boring, frustrating. And it also has its Grand Emotional Themes - that the only way to 'master' death is to accept it, that even those you admire and trust most have faults, that kids born into evil have the right to redeem themselves, that you might not know people as well as you think, that pressure and fear create friction amongst the closest friends and self-doubt that can nearly consume you.

And it's allegory of the bad guys as fascists is the most blatant yet. A prison called Nurmengard, indeed. And the Muggle-Born Registration Commission made me come over all chilly - a fantasy persecution so horribly similar to real ones.

Ok, so there are bits about the way JK Rowling writes that jar a little - personally, I can't bear the word 'numbly', but it has always seemed to be one of her favourites. And yes, it's obscene how filthy rich she is. But I wish I could write books like this. And I'm sad that it's all over.