The right mix

J.K. Rowling has come a huge way from the first Harry Potter book


The right mix
by Ali M. Jami

Harry Potter is a name that is known worldwide. A huge selling series and franchise, it all began in 1997 with the first book. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was a huge success and set off the rest of the series. In 10 years, Harry Potter has found a warm place in over 325 million people’s hearts, it’s all been all over the world, having been translated into 64 different languages. Harry Potter has spawned a huge success on everything it’s touched. Starting with the books, then video games, then the movies and along the way, plenty of assorted merchandise, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the final and most epic book in the series was released on July 21st 2007. It smashed records selling 12 million copies on its first print run in the USA. I’ll talk about the latest installment later.

First of all, what is Harry Potter all about? Harry Potter is a series of seven fantasy novels written by English author, J.K. Rowling. It’s all about a (at first young) boy, who is brought into the world of magic and wizardry. It follows the story of Harry along with his best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. The story in each book is mostly set in Hogwarts; a school for young wizards and witches. The main plot focuses the battle against Lord Voldemort. A dark wizard that killed Harry’s parents when he was a baby whilst trying to takeover the wizarding world, he then turned his wand onto Harry and used the killing curse, but it rebounded and destroyed Voldemort physically but his spirit was in tact. Harry then became known as the Boy Who Lived, the only person ever to have survived a killing curse.

Now onto the Deathly Hallows. The final installment in the series and in my humble opinion, by far the best, this is the first book not to take place mostly in Hogwarts, as in this book, Harry and company have decided to not go to Hogwarts but hunt down the Horcruxes of Voldemort which are basically parts of his soul in items, as long as the items exist Voldemort will live. So they must all be destroyed so Harry can kill him. J.K. Rowling is known sometimes go on and on about the smallest detail, like how blue the sky is, or how green that grass is. Thankfully there is no over-descriptive writing in this book. If anything, there is too little. At certain points of the book, I had no idea where the characters were and I was just left to guess. Which really ruined some of the action scenes but this was only ever now and again. For the most part of it, the description was fine.

J.K. Rowling has become quite amazing at story-telling my eyes. She’s come a huge way from the first Harry Potter book. She manages to make the dullest moments of the book, (which are all located about 1/3 of the way in) somehow exciting. Maybe it’s because of the excellent character development, to most hardcore fans, Harry and company must feel like real people but one thing annoyed me throughout the entire duration of the book. Hermione, not her personality or her character, it’s just that she at any given opportunity cries or has a “tear rolling down her cheek”. After the first couple of times, the novelty wore off and became an undesirable character trait.

The story itself is a marathon runner, for the most part it’s slow, preserving energy for later, every now and again it bursts out to gain speed and then it slows down and then towards the end, it goes full out but still for the most part, the runner is slow. If you didn’t get that metaphor, then here’s the translation: Basically, the story is slow, with outburst of action every now and again and then a climatic ending. I don’t know why, maybe it’s because Rowling wanted to stretch it out because she didn’t want it to end, or maybe it was for extra suspense but it simply went on for way too long. There were points in the middle and a 1/3 of the way in where I really just wanted to put the book down as it was boring me to sleep. There were moments where the action spiked up and those were quite invigorating at the time in contrast to the dull block of text.

Towards the end, the story becomes a war. Characters are fighting left, right and centre but for such a huge and bloody battle, there weren’t that many causalities. I mean a couple of people died here and there but simply weren’t enough deaths to cater for me. Also the deaths were pretty lackluster in itself, apart from one, Dobby, an elf who saved Harry and friends from death was stabbed, his death was brilliantly written. Harry felt crushed and depressed and so did you. Some other major characters death should’ve been written this way. Take for example Voldemort’s death for example. Possibly the biggest anti-climax I’ve ever laid my eyes upon. Voldemort shot a killing curse at Harry, Harry used a rebounding spell and the killing curse hit Voldemort and he died.

Voldemort’s death was inevitable, I knew it was going to happen, main reason I read the book really. I wanted to see how well written the death was and in all honesty. It was lacking. It was a huge cop-out, I wanted to see Harry pushed to rage, I wanted to see Harry actually kill Voldemort, not Voldemort get killed by his own rebounding spell. I suppose Rowling wanted to conserve Harry’s innocence and not have him use a killing curse but Harry did use a couple of Unforgivable Curses in the story. So why not have him use the killing curse?

All that aside, I have to admit, the book was quite good. It was the right mixture of things. Sure it was lacking in areas for me, personally but I’m pretty sure that it was well-written for the hardcore fans. I’d definitely recommend a read of this book, because simply, it’s just one of those books you have to read.