Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (No Spoilers)

Line for Harry Potter 7 Harry Potter 7 Line

Friday last, Jenn and I waited in line to purchase the last book in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The line and the party at our local Barnes & Noble were just as crazy as we expected. An arguably entertaining event were the two guys at the door who were supposedly herding all us cats who regularly contradicted each other’s instructions.

We had our books by 0035 and were heading to the car when I passed a kid wearing a hand-written t-shirt saying “****** kills ****** on page ******.” I have rarely been so angry. I did not, however, drive over him with the car. The spoiler (which was true) at least wasn’t anything horribly surprising.

We read for a few hours, then slept for a few, then were up and reading on the couch. I had the book finished by 1500 and Jenn was done by 1700. So, now it’s over, except for the movies, which don’t count.

How do I feel about it? Right now, a bit drained. It was a marathon reading session and there were aspects of the story that shocked me. But, overall, it was an excellent finish to the series.

For other posts about book 7 or general Potterness, see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here

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10 Responses to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (No Spoilers)

  1. Mebbie says:

    You are a better person that I am. I would have killed that child. Any time I hear the words “Harry Potter’ uttered from anybody’s mouth when I am out in public, I sing a little song in my head and run away. We went to see the movie yesterday and I was deathly afraid that somebody would be blabbing about the book.

  2. Bill says:

    One of the reasons we *didn’t* go see the movie previously was fear that someone who’d seen the book on the internet would be yelling out spoilers.

  3. Ken says:

    I don’t understand why people get so worked up about “spoilers”, or why people go to such lengths to “spoil” a book or movie for others. With every book or movie review I read, there are details given that certainly detract from my enjoyment if I hadn’t known it. It doesn’t keep me from enjoying that book or movie as a whole… it’s the journey, the character development and how they overcome whatever obstacles that makes it interesting, not any one specific event. If someone told me Joe dies, I immediately begin wonder “Why? By whom? How?” Without context, it’s meaningless.

    Is J.K. Rowling’s writing so trivial that it can be undone by the mention of one specific spoiler or death? (it’s a rhetorical question, don’t flame me :) People who “spoil” experiences for others are rotten people, but it doesn’t lessen the journey.

  4. Bill says:

    Ken, I hate to vehemently disagree with you, but would The Sixth Sense be as good if you knew going in that Bruce Willis’ character was dead the whole time? Decidedly no! Likewise, Soylent Green loses a lot of the fun when you know the plot twist.

    Sure, there are things in movies and novels that could be revealed that aren’t surprising, or particularly critical to the story, but it does detract from my (and others’) enjoyment when we know what’s going to happen ahead of time.

    With respect to Harry Potter, while some people brush off J.K. Rowling’s writing as childish and shallow, she has shown skill in taking unexpected directions with her stories, despite their formalism. Thus, the revelation (especially the one that dipshit-in-tshirt had) of a plot element has serious repercussions on reader expectations. Especially in the case of a seventh, final book, where everything that happens will be critical to the wrapping of the story.

    I’m not sure I blogged about this, or if it was a conversation with a friend (Jim?), but I joked that on the evening of the release, there would be some dipshit who flipped to the end chapters and then shouted out the critical elements to the people waiting in line, after which there would be a lynching. Jim remarked that it would have more lasting effect if this lynching were witnessed via news chopper, with the overhead view of a mob carrying pitchforks and torches chasing the dipshit down the street. It’s funny, but not impossible, given the buildup to book seven. Can you imagine what would happen if Tolkien were alive now, and releasing The Lord of the Rings book by book? By book six, people would be slavering to find out what happened to everyone. Any early revelations would be met by loud public denunciations by rabid fans—me included.

    So, I invite you to imagine some piece of fictional entertainment that you enjoy more than most others, and think about how you would feel if someone told you how it ends, before you got to enjoy it for yourself. Then tell me that spoilers don’t matter.

  5. Ken says:

    I did, Bill. Even as I was writing my comment earlier, I had Stephen King’s “The Dark Tower” in mind. It took Stephen King 30 years to write his epic saga about the Gunslinger, his Ka-Tet, the Dark Tower, and various worlds. The ending to The Dark Tower series was very surprising. Alot of people (myself included) didn’t care for how King concluded the series. I often wonder if I knew how it ended, would I still have read it?

    I still won’t budge from the idea that a good story or plot shouldn’t be lessened by a spoiler. Both your examples, The Sixth Sense and Soylent Green, revolved around a “gotchya!” It’s an effective conceit by authors, but should be used sparingly. M. Night Shyamalan does it so often that he’s become a joke, everything he writes is cliche. I barely enjoyed Signs and I *HATED* “Lady in the Water.” The only reason I enjoy “The Village” was the actors and the anachronisms, NOT the plot-twist.

    Lynchmob justice for spoilers is no better than G.W. Bush playing Commander-in-Chief. Kids with T-shirts or megaphones should have their picture taken, have their mugshot shown on TV with the caption “MORON” underneath, and get their 15-seconds of fame without so much as an interview. It’s a vicious cycle because they still get attention. They need the shame without the attention.

    There’s no Santa, but I still enjoy giving gifts (and honestly, receiving them) at Christmas. I wouldn’t want someone to ruin the idea of Santa for my kids, but I wouldn’t stop giving them gifts after the jig is up. I still think it’s a pretty lame excuse for a story if a spoiler ruins the whole story. Sorry, Bill. If you knew how your life ends, would you still live it? A single event doesn’t (or *shouldn’t*) define a story.

  6. Mebbie says:

    I am still only on page 3 of Book 7 (even though I’ve had it since Saturday) since I’ve had waaaay too much going on. And I’ve managed to avoid any spoilers thankfully.

    No spoiler is going to prevent me from reading the book BUT it would disappoint me because as I got to that page, I would be anticipating what would happen next. In book 6, a main character died in what I would deem an unexpected way. I was lucky that I wasn’t into Harry Potter until I read books 1-6 straight through so either I had not heard that spoiler or it had no meaning for me and I ignored it. Anyway, I was completely shocked and let’s be honest, I cried.

    Perhaps I am a selfish naive child. I enjoy the excitement and the surprise and I would prefer that somebody not give it away before I’ve had a chance to experience the story for myself. And I think that people who intentionally spoil stories for others by putting it on a tshirt or shouting it out are attention starved assholes. It is as simple as that.

    On a side note, I never was a HP fan until last July. Everybody blabbed about it at work, etc, etc and I just never cared enough to pick them up. My mom gave me books 1-3 when I was home last July and within a few weeks I was bored enough to pick one up. It wasn’t out of fanaticism that I started reading. Anyway, I read books 1-3 in a little less than two weeks and then books 4-6 in about a month. While the writing is not necessarily complex, I have indeed, throughly enjoyed the series. And I look forward to finding the time in the next week to actually read the book, as opposed to stare it it sitting nicely on my bedside table.

  7. Chris says:

    We had family all weekend, and with Nate we weren’t getting much time to read. By bedtime on Tuesday I decided I was going to push through to the end (had about 250 pages left). We finally finished the story in a marathon session (I read out loud) Wednesday morning at about 4AM.
    Work was a bit long on Wednesday.

  8. Bill says:

    But it’s a good tired! :)

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  10. Lizayne says:

    Having posted, here are some of my prsnoeal thoughts My wife and I purchased the book on Saturday. We’ve both read through it now, so we know how it ends.As I thought about the Harry Potter books this morning and the way the story has developed, I think Snape is the most interesting and complex character in the series.

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