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26 July 2007 @ 12:16 pm
As reactions towards Deathly Hallows seem to be rather obligatory these days ;-)  
An interesting but unfortunately exclusively German review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows over at Zeit Online.

What mainly captured my attention was the fact that the author, contrary to many fannish reviewers, also took an extended look at the book's narrative structure and pacing. (If you dared to click on the cut-tag, you probably already know how much, and for what reasons Deathly Hallows departs from the narrative patterns which had been established by the earlier HP novels - patterns, which, of course, have been slowly and carefully dissolved ever from Goblet of Fire onwards).

Very much like the Zeit's reviewer, I, too, had some problems with the depiction of the Trio's ongoing flight/passage of time in this book, because the year that Harry spent hunting for the Horcruxes never quite seemed like a whole year to me, but rather like a period of two or three months. As I vaguely remember someone on my f-list (wee_warrior?) pointing out that, at least at times, she would have rather preferred reading about the resistance movement at Hogwarts, I now wonder whether the occasional switch to Neville, Luna and the old, familiar Hogwarts professors could have eased the novel's pacing problems.

Otherwise, both my "squees" and my "eyerolls" were in pretty good balance.

Rowling's talent clearly lies in world building and the depiction of her characters, I think.

I loved the brief appearances of characters like Victor Krum, Percy Weasly, or the much underused Minerva McGonagall. Both the Blacks and the Malfoys came across as surprisingly multi-layered.

My one, rather subjective hair in a cauldron full of enjoyable portrayals:

Dumbledore. While the newly revealed back story strikes me as brilliant, I merrily could have done without the saccharine-soaked remorse of the later chapters. To introduce Dumbledore's younger brother Aberforth was a wonderful move, though, and not only because of the unique, and certainly biased perspective Aberforth offers to round a series of diverging assessments of the grand, mighty Albus. Together with the blind admiration of Dumbledore's old childhood friend Elphias Doge and Rita Skeeter's merciless slander, Aberforth's memories form a fascinatingly dialectic approach: Harry's initial questions and doubts, followed by thesis, anti-thesis and synthesis.

So I'm somewhat annoyed that it's Albus Dumbledore who gets to cast the final judgement about Albus Dumbledore in the end. Leaving this particular task to the reader would have been far more interesting, I guess.

But hey, what am I complaining. Isn't the whole HP series an extended fairy tale after all, and don't fairy tales need clear moral statements?

Current Mood: pensivepensive
Karenquiller77 on July 26th, 2007 04:35 pm (UTC)
I think Rowling's strength is plot, the weaving of storylines as opposed to pacing and such. It annoyed me that all the bad guys were such annoying stereotypes. The best character in the series (IMO) was Snape, and of course he turned out to be a conflicted good guy of sorts. The baddies, even Voldemort, were stupid, overbearing, over-the-top twits. Not how I like my bad guys, thanks.
Bimo: Obi_povbimo on July 28th, 2007 10:57 am (UTC)
The baddies, even Voldemort, were stupid, overbearing, over-the-top twits.

I'm not all that happy with Rowling's "Big Bads", either. For me it's mostly the grey "inbetween" characters that I enjoy and adore. Folks like Cornelius Fudge, that nasty, mean-spirited Weasly aunt, or even Dudley Dursley, who might not be the most pleasant teenager in the world, but whom Rowling nevertheless allowed to finally show some brain activity and capacity for independent thinking.

Oh, and word to what you've said about the weaving of storylines.