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On the Splendour of the Wizarding World (Friday, July 27, 2007)

To tell you the truth, I had pretty low expectations for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. While Order of the Phoenix was one of the most amazingly well written books I've ever read, the rest of the series was merely "really good". The cool thing is that I don't require the books to be well written — I'm in love with the universe J.K. Rowling has created, its depth and consistency. And I love the characters, how she's captured all of the different archetypes of human nature... the universal popularity of the series, I believe, is due in large part to the fact that no matter who you are, there is at least one character to whom you can relate on some level. And you never know whether a character is good or evil — there's a healthy amount of ambiguity, which makes the characters that much more mortal.

So all I was expecting in the seventh book, were the answers to most (but not all) of my questions. I'm happy to say I needn't have lowered my expectations. Deathly Hallows is, by a large margin, the best book I have ever read (and I collect books, spanning hundreds of years and at least three languages). I've already read and re-read it three times. I just can't say enough about it. The intensity and emotion that is there is just riveting. Rowling made many brave choices when she wrote this book, that I would never have expected her to make. And it builds and builds and the closing chapters are just heartrending. It surpassed my wildest hopes for the conclusion of the series.

As for the epilogue, like most fans, I am only disappointed that it is so short. One of Rowling's few failings as an author, is that she believes that we are solely interested in this epic fight between good and evil. What she doesn't realize is that we are totally enraptured by the Wizarding world, that we have grown up with her characters, and would happily read chapter after chapter about Charms class, and about mealtime at the Burrow, and the details about the surviving characters' successes or failures after the story ends, no matter how mundane the detail. And we would happily read pages on end about the adventures of the Marauders, twenty years before the story takes place, along with any other detail she might throw our way, like a scrap of bone to a hungry Hippogriff.

And our only consolation, is that we know Rowling has thought about all these details, even if she hasn't put them in the books, and somewhere, in one of her houses, there are boxes and boxes of notes with back-story material, and she has said that she plans to put together an encyclopedia of some sort, that contains some of this information. We, of course, will not be happy until we have every detail, but at least it's a start. Maybe it will be like Tolkien, and Rowling's kids will periodically raid her closets and find more notes and publish more books on the world. In the meantime, we have to suffer through the imaginative land of fan fiction, in order to get our fix for more adventures in the World of Harry Potter.

—Brian (7/27/2007 11:15 AM)
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