July 26, 2007

It Is Finished

Potterheads rejoice! The 7th book is out, most of you have finished it (if you haven't . . . spoiler warning!), and it is a worthy final chapter in an epically-good series that I will relish sharing with fellow readers for some time to come. Rachel, having seen the first five movies and heard the first book read aloud (by me), wormed a partial summary of book six out of me so I could read Deathly Hallows out loud to her. Not what I would have done, but this is the girl that normally reads the ends of books first. I was just glad she didn't immediately jump to the epilogue and then tell me all about it.

I read about half of it aloud, and the rest we read separately. I finished on Sunday and she finished on Monday. Now she's started over . . . she read Sorceror's Stone and about half of Chamber yesterday. She probably would have read more, but I got irritable at about 2 in the morning when she kept exploding with shrieks of hysterical laughter and thrashing about while I was trying to sleep right next to her. I'm such a grump.

Anyway, back to Deathly Hallows. My expectations for this book were absolutely through the roof (no way to keep them down), and they were satisfied. This book has everything: weddings, funerals, high-speed, high-altitude chases, riddles, mysteries, sudden reversals, disguises, duels, a bank job, a battle . . . even a Grail quest! And it fills in perfectly all the gaps that were left in the story and backstory, all the way back to Dumbledore's early career. Awesome.

And, perhaps most important of all, I hope that anyone still saying these books cannot and do not speak profoundly and meaningfully of key Christian truths feels a right stupid git now. Harry selflessly walks to his death at Voldemort's hands and then finds himself in King's Cross for a discussion with Dumbledore about the deeper magic that Voldemort doesn't understand. He then returns to life where Voldemort is all ready to proclaim his triumphant victory, performing the cruciatus curse on Harry's limp body and lifting him into the air three times. Voldemort declares his supremacy to the still-defiant good guys, but they can't be hurt by him or his followers. They are protected from harm by Harry's blood sacrifice. Harry and Voldy then duel and Harry wins the final Hallow from him, becoming the "master of death."

Pretty blatant stuff.

As soon as I finished the book, I started combing the interwebs in search of others who "got it." I particularly wanted to see what John Granger had to say, but he's not covering the symbolism exhaustively just yet. If you start over at his blog, you'll find a fun list of 20 discussion points to look over. I commented on #12 (the Horcruxes and Hallows) because no one had mentioned the Grail aspects of the Quest.

In the meantime, while I await a more complete discussion of Deathly Hallows from Granger, I also discovered this. It's an outrageously long discussion of the Christian elements of Half-Blood Prince that Granger posted on a Barnes&Noble forum. Good reading, but sadly he eventually allowed himself to be drawn down into a rather silly and petty side-debate over the origins of Christianity (and came off rather badly, IMO) before the thread was locked by a moderator a few weeks later. But the initial post is interesting.

"Christianity Today" (long a bastion of enlightened reason regarding Harry amidst a sea of evangelical inanity and insanity) dove right in with a discussion of the latest books Christian elements. Good article.

And they aren't the only ones that noticed. "The Wall Street Journal" commented on it in their review, as well. (Thanks, Martinez.)

John Mark Reynolds at Scriptorium Daily soberly discusses his impressions of the final book and the series as a whole, as a reader who enjoyed them but is unsure of their literary merit or staying power. Here's more of the same from "Rafting the Tiber." Lots of good commentary out there, and I hope to stumble across some more as people have time to articulate.

Meanwhile, two more links: Remember those raving lunatics from "Exposing Satanism" that I discovered a few years back? No? Well, they're still around, but a lot of the stuff from their site isn't around anymore . . . this article is, though. It's good for an outraged laugh (sexual congress with goats?!), and there's some very clever (if self-defeating) symbology work. Reminds me of Dan Brown, oddly enough. And, finally, courtesy of Uncle Doug, here's an interview with Rowling in which she reveals some information that didn't make it into the epilogue. If you're feeling like you need some more closure, definitely check it out.

Posted by Jared at July 26, 2007 04:43 PM | TrackBack