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July 19, 2005 

Harry Potter - Plot Spoiler Warning!

I finished reading Harry Potter on the train into work yesterday morning (actually timed perfectly as I put it in my bag as we approached the station). I repeat my comment in the title – don’t read on unless you’ve read the book or don’t care about plot spoilers. I’m trying to keep them out, but they just keep on sneaking in!

I enjoyed the recurring theme about trust – whether Snape is reliable, and how much you can trust Dumbledore’s trust of him. All the way through the book you are kept guessing, as whatever Snape does could be taken two ways. Is he a Death Eater or is he a true member of the Order? I don’t think that question is answered. Even at the very end there is some room for manoeuvre.

I also liked the continuation of the hormonal storylines – remember that these books are written for children if you want to criticise them. They are bathed in a glow of fiction, but some of the people reading these books will be too young (or at least perceived as such by their parents) to read of romance in any other way. And from what I remember of my lower sixth years, it seemed like a fairly accurate representation of what you might see in any common room. Although these bits may not be JKs best, they are in no way as bad as some of the "romance" seen in StarWars!

The plot is clearly building towards book seven – and who can blame her? Most film trilogies doing the same, leaving the second film as the favourite of geeks. The back story given from Voldemort builds slowly to the climax of the book, and intertwines nicely with a lot of the other goings-on.

However, if I have a complaint, it’s this. I don’t expect to be miserable when I put down a kids book. I want to leave it feeling cheerful. They’re meant to be light reading. From what I understand JK was very upset to have to write the death in Order of the Phoenix. However, as I read the fight scene there I had to go back and check who had died because it was over so quickly. No such luck this time, and coming so close to the end of the book, with only the funeral between the two, there is very little time for cheeriness. Although JK tries, with a half hearted attempt at adult romance, the breaking up of Harry’s relationship, the death, the potential of Hogwarts closing, and Harry’s future mission all conspire to leave you feeling not a lot more than despair and sadness. I could have done with a good cheering charm myself yesterday morning.

Roll on book seven – that one at least must have a happy ending, even if most of the characters die in the interim!