Monday, July 23, 2007

Harry Potter Review

The entire human population, can be comfortably segregated into ‘The Muggles’, who I’m certain would have hardly broken a sweat nor missed an heartbeat as they slept through those few hours before the dawn of 21st July, blissfully unaware of the predicaments of the rest of us; and of course the rest of us, who for the fact that we are not technically Wizards and Witches should be simply called ‘Non Muggles’. Among us ‘Non Muggles’ too there certainly are the ‘Squibs’ - those that find solace in the enactment of Radcliffe, Watson and Grint to the complex layers of mysteries, subtleties, terror and wit that Rowling encompasses in her writing - but regardless of our ‘Blood Status’, there is no doubting the excitement and tension that had built up among the entire ‘Non Muggle’ population, who after waiting for a little more than two years were finally getting answers to the many questions surrounding the ‘Boy who Lived’.

Being a ‘Mudblood’ among the ‘Non Muggles’ (for I started reading Harry potter from only a few years in the past) has not deterred me from knowing everything I need to know. Every single book till date has been read well over three times and hence my knowledge has only been as good, if not better than the Pure Bloods. Knowledge enough to have a thousand questions… Of course the silly Muggles hardly knew. All they thought was that we only cared if the Boy manages to survive and tried their best to spoil our party, crying hoarse that they knew the end, which usually alternated between ‘Potter Dies at the end’ and ‘Potter Survives’… as if that’s all we cared… Muggles! But didn’t we have many more important questions that needed answering…

- What exactly are the Deathly hallows?

- Who is RAB?

- What is the relevance of the Half Blood Prince to the series (Potter’s Potions’ adventure notwithstanding)?

- Will Harry not go back to Hogwarts?

- Where are the other Horcruxes?

- What is the significance of Harry’s blood that Voldemort took at the end of ‘Goblet of Fire’?

- What’s the significance of Godric’s Hollow to the story?

- How will Wormtail repay his debt to Harry?

And many more such… To be honest, there always was the inkling of fear that Rowling might wrap it up with a few important questions unanswered or uncared for… For after all, how much can you squeeze into one book?

But such fears are completely unwarranted, for everything has been taken care rather well… Every minute detail, from the reason for Aunt Petunia’s hatred of Magic, to the role of other magical creatures in the final battle; from Snape’s extreme hatred towards Harry, to the many questions surrounding Dumbledore; they are all in the book. You just need to read it till the end; and even as you reach the last chapters you are left awestruck at the greatness of a writer called J K Rowling, who as claimed by herself, had surely seen every detail of the end even before starting, for no way else could you spin a tale of this magnitude and detail without a single flaw or loophole…

So what about the plot itself?

Well there is so much happening throughout the book that any reference to the plot could end up being a spoiler… But what can certainly be told is that Potter does not go back to Hogwarts. The 7th book is not an adventure of Potter in his final year at school, it is an adventure of Potter on the run… running to stay alive, running to find answers, running to protect the ones he love… Fighting as he runs. There is something dangerous and gory happening every few pages, there is very little slack – this is one book that needs slow and patient reading…

And of course all the familiar characters have a role to play, some a role larger than they have played before while some short but equally important nevertheless. And there are the deaths which we all seemed so worried about – Rowling had said that two of her important characters would die and we had all feared who that might be… But Rowling did understate her intentions by quite a distance – there were more than just two deaths… close to a hundred in all and definitely more than two were important among them – at least we think most of the dead were important enough for us to care - including the one who had saved Harry’s life so many times that Harry eventually decided to show his love and respect by manually digging his grave…

What’s also amazing is the way Rowling ends the book. Though I feared for Harry’s life all throughout, a small part of me also wanted Harry to die – stupid as it sounds, it was to ensure nobody created a new version of Harry Potter adventures from where Rowling had ended it – but hasn’t the lady already thought of it – the ending is just marvelous…

There are a few questions that are still unanswered and how I wish Rowling takes up the pen to write one last tiny book – not of any adventures, but of how life turned at the end of the 7th book – What was the state of the Weasly family at the end of the book? Did McGonagall become the headmistress of Hogwarts? Did she keep her promise of helping Harry become an Auror (of course everybody knows now that Harry survives – so this is not a spoiler)? Did Harry go back to school to take up his NEWTs? How did Harry propose to Ginny? How does Harry face all the adulation among so much tragedy? What happens of 12 Grimauld Place and Kreacher? What happens of the Dudleys? What happens to the Lovegoods? What of little Ted, does Harry raise him? What about Bill and Fleur – is Victoire, about whom Rowling makes a fleeting reference at the end, their daughter? How do the Grangers react on becoming family with the Weasly’s? What about the Longbottoms, is there happy ending for them too?... So many questions that need answering…

Ms. Rowling, one last book, just half a book to know how it all went after the 7th

Finally on realizing that the book has ended, I could hardly believe that it was all over – no more waiting for the next one to come; no more laughing at the stupidity of Ron, the eccentricities of Hermione or just the thought of their bickering and fighting together; no more of the twins and their amazing jokes; no more loathing of Snape and his atrocities; no more adrenaline rush as Harry on a brainwave heads out of the common room on with his cloak; no more feeling all emotional and knotted in the chest on somebody’s death; no more of the sorting hats song; no more of Dumbledore’s start of term and end of term speeches; no more of lot of such…

But amongst all this I’m happy to have scored over my kids – yes, of course my kids are going to read every bit of Harry Potter, and so will every kid of the coming generations… but where I score is by just being here when the book was still being written – the wait, the anxiety, the knowing of being helplessly unaware… all these can simply never be understood by the future generations – for them this will just be another set of children’s adventure books – but for me and rest of my kind, Harry Potter is and will never be just a character out of a fantasy tale…

4 comments:

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