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Harry Potter Open Chat
2007-07-30 07:36
by Jon Weisman

By request, an open-chat, spoliers-welcome thread for Harry Potter.

Comments (53)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-07-30 08:05:16
1.   Hythloday
I have to say I loved the final book. I thought it was pretty well done from beginning to end.

One nit to pick. It seems like Harry never progressed as a wizard beyond protego, stupefy, and expelliarmus and used these three spells almost entirely to defeat the greatest evil wizard of all time. I thought Dumbledore's battle with Voldemort in Order of the Phoenix showed where I hoped Harry would end up as a wizard. As it is it seemed like he didn't progress or evolve much on that account. A small nit to pick in the grand scheme of things.

2007-07-30 08:29:32
2.   ToyCannon
I started reading the series right after the 1st book came out. It became such a phenomena that her 4th graders were all talking about it and bringing the books to class. She heard that many parents were worried about the content so she asked me to read it since I would be able to finish the book in one night. I did and gave the books a thumbs up so she started a Harry Potter read a loud time at lunch time if anyone of the kids wanted to stay for lunch. It was a huge success. The first book was certainly a children's book but it was intriguing enough for me that I looked forward to the next book. When the movies started coming out we would have Harry Potter Movie Nights with the students and their parents which was always a highlight of the year. Most of the parents also had started reading the series and we could easily fall into a Harry Potter dialoged as easy as any sobering political conversation. As time has passed this was a bond we still shared and when we would go to their Bat Mitzvah's or birthday parties the conversation would eventually turn to the movies and the young adults would exclaim how we have to get together for the next one.

My wife and I tried something new with the last book and took turns reading chapters out loud. This took both of us longer to read the book but it turned out to be a great way to finish the series as we would discuss each chapter and how it tied in with the previous books. One thing we found out is that it is very hard to read out loud during sad scenes, with the Dobby scene being the hardest. I did feel satisfied with the ending but I could have done without the epilogue. The Gringott chapter was lame and I felt the weakest in the book other then the Dursley scenes which I could have always done without throughout the series after the 1st book. The one line that I'll always remember from the 7 books was Dumbledore expressing the opinion that "sometimes we sort to soon". At the end I wished that Snape had a more glorious death and why wasn't he in the headmasters room with all the other headmasters after he died?

While watching the Harry Potter movie we saw the previews for the Golden Compass. Has anyone read that series? We picked it up yesterday and started reading it. The review said that the book was against God but I have a feeling they mean it was against religion so I'm curious to find it which one is true.

2007-07-30 09:32:02
3.   Bill Simms
Harry Potter has been a special part of my family's life over the last 7 years. My wife was student teaching in the fall of 1999 (the 3rd book was already out) when she had heard of the buzz and picked up the first book for me to read. I liked it enough that we read it aloud to our daughter, then 8 and our son, 6. We read the 2nd & 3rd aloud and were at Borders at midnight for the 4th book's release. We spent all of last weekend reading the last book aloud with our kids, now 15 & 13. It has been one of the best things we've done as a family.

I liked the last book. There are things I didn't love, but overall I thought it was a very satisfying conclusion.

2007-07-30 09:50:46
4.   Greg Brock
1 I don't think it was a lack of progress. He used the effective, yet non-painful spells he could use. He stuck with them because they were effective, but didn't really hurt people. He used Sectumsempra once, against a real enemy, and the guilt was massive.

Snape remained the best character through the whole series. Snape. Wow.

2007-07-30 10:16:31
5.   bhsportsguy
First discussion point of the day.

I thought about this after we are told why Snape acted the way he did and in particular how Harry having Lily's eyes was a constant reminder of love lost, I wondered if Harry had the same effect on his Aunt Petunia?

As we learned in the Deathly Hallows, it appears to me that Lily valued her relationship with her sister, at least until she attended Hogwarts. No doubt that Petunia was envious in the beginning and later resentful of Lily as she got older and was she unable to foster any affection towards Harry because of that.

Not a big plot point but I wished we knew what happened to Harry's relationships with the Dursleys after the last book, I would hope he was able to repair it, it certainly seemed like Dudley would have liked to be part of Harry's life as he got older.

2007-07-30 10:18:16
6.   bhsportsguy
5 Did not see ToyCannon's denouncing of the Dursley's scenes though I think they had their place especially with the reveals about Snape in the last book.
2007-07-30 10:21:06
7.   Dave G
Absolutely loved the series. I'm 24 now, started reading them when I was 15 or so.

What I liked best about the final book were two characteristics in particular:
1. everyone had a hand in defeating Voldemort. As in, Ron, Hermione, Dumbledore, Neville, Crabbe unintentionally, Voldemort himself (also unintentionally), and finally Harry all destroyed one of the horcruxes.
2. all the heroes did something legitimately stupid along the way. Harry said "Voldemort" out loud, which got the death eaters to find them. Ron ran off. Dumbledore (and this one was the biggest stretch to me) put on the ring with the resurrection stone without thinking that it'd be cursed. I mean, come on--one of the most brilliant wizards ever spends all that time to find the horcrux, knowing that there have to be horrible curses on it the whole time and on his guard, and then he just kinda forgets and puts on the ring?? Please! But I guess we had to have a reason to not feel so bad when Snape killed him.

I guess the takeaway point from these patterns is that even great people with good hearts can make mistakes, but we can overcome them through love, teamwork, and dedication to each other. I think that's a pretty good message in the end and one that, if we listened to a little more, the world would probably be a much better place.

2007-07-30 10:24:16
8.   Greg Brock
I think the epilogue was a very nice love letter to the loyal fans. Especially the young kids who have grown up with this series.
2007-07-30 10:38:48
9.   ToyCannon
I would rather let the kids use their imagination to decide for themselves what the future held.
2007-07-30 10:40:53
10.   Greg Brock
9 I would have no problem if the epilogue wasn't in there. It's a fair point. But I loved it, and I think she felt like she had to do it. And I'm glad she did. But either way is fine.
2007-07-30 10:42:41
11.   The Mootz
4. Beautiful job by Rowling illuminating why Snape treated Harry the way he did. When I re-read the entire series, Snape will be seen in a different (sympathetic) light.

8. I thought the epilogue may have gone on a tad too long, but I agree it was a fitting coda for the main characters.

J.K. Rowling has been quoted as saying she is currently working on two books, one for children and one for adults. It will be interesting to read what she does next. No pressure.

2007-07-30 11:05:23
12.   Greg Brock
5 I assume that Dudley and Harry have some kind of contact later in life. Not friendship or anything, but they keep each other informed.

Petunia is a damaged little girl and Vernon is just an ass. I'm sure they just went on being so, without any contact with Harry.

2007-07-30 11:38:09
13.   weatherman
2 - The "sometimes we sort too soon" line stuck with me as well. It reminded of college when the Greeks would discuss the pros v cons of Spring Rush.

7 - Perhaps Dumbledore was merely having a Senior Moment.

I liked the Epilogue. I think stories too often end on a climactic high and fail to wrap things up. It did leave me wondering where the young Tonks boy lived. His grandmother perhaps? Also, if it was 19 years later, wouldn't he be done with Hogwarts? I go the impression that he was still in school. Any ideas?

2007-07-30 11:49:05
14.   Linkmeister
13 Young Ted was "seeing Victoire off," which I took to mean he was out of school and kissing his girlfriend (by implication, Bill and Fleur's daughter) goodbye before her school year began.

1 Expelliarmus became Harry's signature spell; he used it rather than the killing curse for reasons that could (and no doubt will) be subject to interpretation for a long time to come.

I really liked the Lupin/Tonks relationship and was sorry to see them killed, but I admit that having it happen in the general confusion of war was a lot more true to life than some huge confrontation (say, Eowyn and the head of the Nazgul) on the battlefield would have been.

2007-07-30 11:55:07
15.   Linkmeister
By the way, here's a link to an interview Rowling did with MSNBC about the epilogue and her future writing plans. Also see the sidebar on the right for more stories.

2007-07-30 12:10:22
16.   fanerman
2 Yeah, I thought the Gringott's chapter was "oh, they have to break into yet another place?"

I thought the Dursley chapter was a little pointless until Dudley stepped up to the plate. I suppose it added something because of that.

2007-07-30 12:11:24
17.   Linkmeister
Yikes, three posts uninterrupted by other commentary.

Ah well. Here's a link to a huge comment thread (586 at last look) about the final book, the series as a whole, and life its ownself (well, maybe not that last). The community consists of SF & F fans, writers, editors, and interested parties.

2007-07-30 12:15:45
18.   ToyCannon
After Tonks and Lupin died I expected that if Harry lived he would have to raise the child since so much of his life was defined by not having a mother/father. That was part of my disapointment with the epilogue. It ruined what my imagination had already started working on.
2007-07-30 12:24:06
19.   ToyCannon
The biggest shocker for me was that Hagrid survived and how little an impact he had in the last couple of books. I also thought that Draco would do something dramatic after being saved from the fire.

So no one thought it strange that Longbottom was able to pull the sword out of the hat since the sword was now in the possesion of the goblins? I did like the role that Longbottom was allowed to play in the last few books.

2007-07-30 12:30:42
20.   Penarol1916
19. I like the fact that Draco didn't do anything dramatic after being saved, it was more true to his character, plus, it did turn out to be a big deal, since Draco's mother lied to Voldemort about Harry's death because Draco was still alive.
2007-07-30 12:35:16
21.   Greg Brock
19 Goblin notions of ownership are different. Not better or factually correct, or morally correct. Just different. Gryffindor's sword comes to true Gryffindors who need it in great times of peril. That's what I assume, anyway.

Neville was a great character. Top three in the series for me.

2007-07-30 12:36:38
22.   fanerman
19 I was totally shocked that Hagrid lived. I was gonna say what Penarol1916 said (about Draco), but then Penarol1916 said it already.

I didn't question too much that Neville pulled the sword out of the hat. I was actually quite pleased that Neville could do something quite integral to the story that I just glossed over it. It's magic, after all.

2007-07-30 12:43:55
23.   fanerman
Regarding Harry and his magic spells..
I don't know how magic in HP exactly works, but I imagine the older/better a wizard gets, the more spells he has access to, but also the more powerful known spells become. So, a 17-year-old Harry should have a more powerful Stupefy than a 15-year-old Harry. Still, I'd think there would be a more sophisticated light side "stun" power than Stupefy. That was slightly disappointing.
2007-07-30 13:03:36
24.   ToyCannon
I'm still confused about the whole elderwand ownership issue.
2007-07-30 13:08:23
25.   fanerman
24 Oh yeah. So how exactly was Draco the owner of the elderwand? I forgot the details of Book 6.
2007-07-30 13:12:36
26.   Greg Brock
Draco disarmed Dumbledore before Snape killed him. Draco was the master of the wand, even if he didn't have it.

Harry overpowered Draco. Defeated him in battle. Overpowered him. Harry was the master of the elder wand.

When Lord Thingy tried to use the wand against it's master, his curse rebounded on him.

2007-07-30 13:26:27
27.   Greg Brock
Bellatrix getting owned by Molly was awesome, BTW.

Molly took her out with the fire of a thousand suns.

2007-07-30 13:28:04
28.   ToyCannon
I just don't remember Draco disarming Dumbledore, I just remembered his hesitating and not killing him. Thanks for the clarification. The cloud that has been surrounding my mind has now been lifted.
2007-07-30 13:30:44
29.   weatherman
24 - The wand chooses the wizard. This rule is stressed more than once in the book. Even if one has a problem with Greg Brock's explaination in 26(which I think is fine), one can always just assume that the Elder Wand chose Harry for reasons of its own.
2007-07-30 13:30:51
30.   ToyCannon
If we'd had a little background that Molly was some kick butt Witch before becoming a puppy mill it would have been a little easier to picture her taking out what appeared to be the 2nd strongest witch/wizard still alive but hey love conquers all. Except of course when it doesn't and you just wind up dead. That was my D4P post for those who him miss him here.
2007-07-30 13:33:57
31.   weatherman
21 - I like to imagine that Grimhook (was that his name?) was sitting at home watching a Quidditch match and drinking a butterbeer while stroking the sword in his lap when Neville reached through the hat and took it from him.
2007-07-30 13:45:08
32.   Sushirabbit
31 - Ha! One of the things I liked about this book is that it showed alot about Voldermort's assumptions about what he knew and didn't know and how that ended up defeating him. It also had a lot to do with Harry. The whole idea that HE WAS THE ONE sort of thing he struggled with. Like Dave G suggests, Harry had to learn what component of the solution he was instead of how he was to solve it. In this he figures out that Dumbledore had to go through some of the same things he did and how that made him wiser and (perhaps) more loving (willing to give his life as a part of the solution), and that Snape was truly as brave as himself and (perhaps) just as loving.

I loved Snape from the beginning. I think she did the best with him she could, though there were times I thought he was weakened by ambiguity. For me Alan Rickman really enriches him, perhaps more so than any other actor in the movies.

I love reading what you all think about the book(s).

Also found the Dobby scene really emotional.

2007-07-30 13:47:40
33.   ToyCannon
Dobby irritated me to know ends when he was 1st introduced. By the end of that book he was one of my favorites. I really liked what she did with Dobby and Screacher in the last book. It was fitting that Dobby die saving HP and she wrote it beautifully.
2007-07-30 13:49:18
34.   Sushirabbit
Also, I wondered is there was a personal event that precipitated the Triangle idea with Snape-Lily-James and how that might have illuminated such strong love-hate towards an offspring. And did Rickman know that Snape was a hero?
2007-07-30 13:51:50
35.   ToyCannon
More then any other actor who portrays a HP character when I'm reading the books I always picture Rickman delivering the lines.

When the movie comes out for book 6 I can see the audience giving him a big cheer when he takes out Dumbledore. Part of the problem with knowing how it all ends.

2007-07-30 14:11:00
36.   Linkmeister
35 Oh, yeah. I was wondering the other day after seeing OotP just how much begging the directors had done to find out what the story arc was going to be, so they could adjust their films accordingly.
2007-07-30 14:28:29
37.   Kevin Lewis
I really enjoyed this book. Loved the way she got to the end, and I was fully prepared to watch Harry accept his fate and choose death for the greater good. I just wish the epilogue had not been so cheese. I would have liked to see Harry ten years down the road visiting the grave of his parents.

I wonder if Rowling will consider a series on the founders of Hogwarts after she finishes the encyclopedia.

2007-07-30 14:39:11
38.   ToyCannon
I like seeing which DT regulars also read the series. Are most of you SF fans or did you start reading them because of your children?
2007-07-30 14:52:08
39.   Chiron Brown
The epilogue bothered me a little. I would have preferred a summing up a few weeks or months later, not 19 years. And the stuff with Teddy and Victoria seemed pointless unless the author just wanted us to know that Teddy grew up healthy and happy. Connected to this is that I thought the deaths of Tonks and Remus were oddly unnecessary. Almost an afterthought. These two things lead me to believe that Rowling's next wizarding series will be about Teddy Lupin.
2007-07-30 15:15:23
40.   Sushirabbit
SF fan, don't read as much now though. Plus it helps if your spouse is a librarian who's always bringing home cool YA books. I started non-school reading late it was Clarke's The Deep Range and fell in love with his stuff, he ran me down the philosophy oriented track so Zelazny became my favorite and I sort of branched off from there. Insomnia is the only way I could have read as many books as I have... and that always makes me think of Bill Matthews.
2007-07-30 15:28:36
41.   ToyCannon
I read more books between the age of 10-18 then I have in the last 30 years. SF and baseball books. Loved Zelazny and the Amber series. I told GB to check out the Uplift series by David Brin. Have you read it?
2007-07-30 16:30:31
42.   Linkmeister
I've been a voracious reader forever. In SF I probably started out with Heinlein. I had about a fifteen-year hiatus from that genre, but got back to it when the Potter books came out (I'm single, too; no kids to read to. In fact, my nieces don't give a rip about them).

More answers from Rowlings here, in a transcribed webchat at the Leaky Cauldron, one of the major Potter websites:

There are explanations in there about the Big Three's careers, as well as some of the others.

2007-07-30 17:32:39
43.   Christina
2 ToyCannon, the Dark Materials series (of which Golden Compass is the first) isn't against God per se, just organized religion. Personally, I loved that series and can't wait for the movie.

39 My thought on Rowling choosing to kill both Remus and Tonks is that she loves patterns. Harry was an orphan, was unable to have much contact with his godfather, and his godfather was killed. (And Voldemort is also an orphan, and Neville is a de facto orphan.) But Teddy Lupin gets to grow up with a sense of family, and with a strong and lasting relationship with godfather Harry. (Although I assume Arabella Tonks, who lost her husband, daughter and son-in-law, did the actual raising.)

Snape/Draco is another parallel. We saw that Lily really did care about Snape, and tried to get him to make better choices about who he chose to associate with, but he didn't change until it was far too late. The fact Draco's wife goes unnamed in the epilogue means he didn't marry Pansy Parkinson, who revealed herself to be truly rotten to the core, and that tells me that he did start making better choices about who he associated with - it wasn't too late for him.

In respect to their future careers, I can totally see Harry and Ron as Aurors (with Harry running the department), Neville as Professor of Herbology, and Luna as a naturalist. But I can't really buy Hermione as a lawyer. If she had just been smart, then yes. But she was also, overall, the best at magic in her year - the Patronus spell was the only one that ever caused her any difficulty. I'm sure all Ministry jobs involve magic to one degree or another, but I'm guessing the legal department is on the low end of the scale.

2007-07-30 17:58:45
44.   Linkmeister
Christina, in that last link I put up, she tells us that Ted was raised by Andromeda (grandmother). Also, Hermione came late to Law Enforcement/Legal;

"Hermione began her post-Hogwarts career at the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures where she was instrumental in greatly improving life for house-elves and their ilk. She then moved (despite her jibe to Scrimgeour) to the Dept. of Magical Law Enforcement."

2007-07-30 18:47:05
45.   bhsportsguy
The chat transcript evidences how much thought she had on the past and future of her characters.

My favorite Hermoine scene, well there are two from the last book, the first one is where she describes almost as a matter of fact how she has bewitched her parents into thinking there are different people that don't have a daughter and that she sent them off to Austraila (Austraila is the last great safe destination for all mankind) and the second one is when Ron leaves the trio and she stays showing both her loyality to Harry and the greater cause at hand and also to test Ron and find out whether his jealousy/envy of Harry was stronger than his feelings (not yet spoken) for her.

I think in some ways, Harry and Hermoine were very alike, both could be stubborn about certain things, very competititve, they were also insecure, Harry just being the "Chosen One" and Hermoine always striving to be the best student, have the right answers. But really, neither ever showed any signs of romantic feelings at all toward each other,

I think the fact that neither had any siblings (Rowling said she always intended to give Hermoine a sister but never got around to it) and that they grew up in a Muggle world gave them a foundation and understanding of one another that probably went unspoken.

2007-07-30 18:48:31
46.   bhsportsguy
41 Always went to the library when I was younger, read lots of sports, biographies and some fiction books. Never got into sciene fiction that much. I wonder if I would have read HP as a kid?
2007-07-30 19:03:48
47.   ToyCannon
Heinlein was my main man. Several years ago I bought everyone of his books on Ebay.

Thanks for the info on the Dark Materials.

2007-07-30 19:15:07
48.   Linkmeister
46 "I wonder if I would have read HP as a kid?"

Well, how old were you when you read The Lord of the Rings? I was 16 when it first was published in the US in paperback (1966), and I read that sucker through in about three days.

2007-07-30 19:32:55
49.   bhsportsguy
48 I read "The Hobbit" around that age (16), but I could never get into The Lord of the Rings until really after the movies came out, I had the books, I glanced at them, probably read the first two chapters of the Fellowship of the Ring twenty to thirty times but I could never get past those chapters, once the movies came out, I went back and filled in what was left out or changed.
2007-07-30 20:09:10
50.   BlueMamma
I thought the plot tricks were mostly clever, the overall story was good, as a summing up of the series it was excellent. Here are the problems I had with it:

1. The promotional tease for the book was all about Snape - Friend or Foe? And then comes the book, and behold - Snape is barely in it at all. He gets a chapter and a half, and I was left with the feeling that JKR just crammed it in to get it done. Harry and Snape had no resolution. And no, Harry naming his son Albus Severus does not count as resolution.

2. The first half of the book is so slow, then the second half is so fast. I had to read it twice just to catch the ending.

3. It bugged me that the "good" guys used "unforgivable" curses.

4. The end was too sudden. In that context, the Epilogue is cheesy, and both too long and insufficient. If she'd done a better job of summing up in the last chapter, the Epilogue would have been better.

All in all, I love the whole series, and this book was a good way to wrap it up. I own them all, and I'll enjoy it when my kids are old enough to read them.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-07-30 21:54:58
51.   capdodger
50 3. It bugged me that the "good" guys used "unforgivable" curses.

The "unforgivable curese" were only unforgiveable becuase the MoM said so. The Ministry had authorized aurors to use them during the First Wizarding War. Once the legitimate government has fallen, Harry and his allies are forced into a no-holds-barred insurgency against the pretenders. It provides a nice shade of gray to the book.

2007-07-30 23:25:44
52.   fanerman
I don't read as much as I should. School totally killed my "fun" reading. Before high school, I'd read for fun. After that, all the books I read were for school. I think Harry Potter (read towards the end of high school, 4 years ago) was the first book I read for fun. I've since tried to read a bit more, but I never get far. I read SF, among other things.

That link with Rowling's interview was great.

2007-08-27 18:43:27
53.   Johnny Nucleo
I've been waiting for about a month to join this thread so I didn't read the spoilers.

My wife and I live about 2000 miles apart and see each other about 5 times a year. She's been reading me Harry Potter chapter by chapter for the last four weeks. Every night I would go home excited, wondering what was going to happen next. Last night we finished the book. I was very satisfied with the series. I was most impressed by the planning that must have gone into it; the seven books make a cohesive whole. There's nothing like a great story well told. The most emotional part for me was when his parents were walking beside him, and said, "you have been so brave. We are all so very proud of you". That choked me up.
I'll miss being read the series; but I look forward to reading it to my kids.

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