Helene

Harry Potter

29 posts in this topic

I read Harry Potter 6 this weekend. I don't think it's much of a spoiler to say that in the book, more about Voldemort's background is revealed than in the previous books.

After a very fine start, I found the book a bit flat as a read, specifically -- and this is a warning to adult readers -- because it really did live up to its nickname of "Snogwarts." But I'm not the target audience for adolescent romance :) For the first five, if an East Coast friend had called me at midnight with 50 pages to go, I would have said, "Is this an emergency?" "No?" "Gotta go," but instead I spent an hour and a half chatting about the Tour de France before finishing the book, and it wasn't because I wanted to savor it.

I think this book at its core would make a really fine opera, though. Rowling has built in enough arias, duets, and revelation scenes to build to a great climax.

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Haven't read it yet, but I just have to share this bit of "spoiler" humor. Our neighbor got the book first and said he'd lend it to us to read next. He appeared at the door yesterday morning with it. After handing it over, he turned to leave and said, "Who knew Harry was a robot?" (I love snarky humor like that)

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I've never been able to get into any of the Harry Potter books! I run literature circles with elementary aged kids so I find it my duty to read what they're reading but this is one book that hit my Dust Bunny Collection, lingered for months, and then went into permanent exile (I gave it to a student :( ) from my home.

I read the first half of the first book. I saw that first movie so I'd be Harry Potter-literate. I've skimmed through a couple of the other books just to check the writing style in hopes of being able to move through the first book to get to the others but it's SO not my cup of tea that I dread the thought of reading it.:D

Friends whose opinions I value have almost uniformly loved the series so I think my lack of interest - truly, my growing anathema to it - must indicate some kind of glitch in brain function....mine, not theirs. :beg:

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Oy, vagansmom! We must have similar tastes! I am plodding through the first book today. I started this morning, and I have found many things to do *while* I am reading the book. Like clean my house, read a page or two, make breakfast for b2, take a shower, read a page, make lunch, play on the computer, read a page. I really don't want to dislike yet another book I have *just* purchased!

These books are expensive!! :D

b1

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To me this was the first book that didn't seem as though it was a complete story. It was more book pre-seven than book six to me. I know she has to prepare a lot of information to finish for book seven but every other book has managed to be stand alone amazing. I would say this one was good. There were a few elements that reminded me to much of other stories.

The "BIG SPOILER" was great. I knew it was going to happen but was amazed at how it did. This is a woman who has put a lot of thought and planning into her books. I really appreciate that.

I also thought the potion drinking scene was very well written.

My biggest qualm is that this is not a childrens book. I would not let elementary schoolers (maybe a mature fifth grader) read it. I feel very badly for the parents who are going to have to tell their children they can't read it yet because it is just to mature.

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That's too bad. I read the first Harry Potter, mainly because there was so much being written, as the series became a phenomenon, about how much adults were enjoying them, etc., and my own feeling was – fine, but a kid’s book. Which is great – I like children’s movies and books that are intended just for them, rather than pitching lots of things over their heads in order to appeal to adults, as is frequently the case these days. But it wasn’t for me.

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My biggest qualm is that this is not a childrens book. I would not let elementary schoolers (maybe a mature fifth grader) read it. I feel very badly for the parents who are going to have to tell their children they can't read it yet because it is just to mature.

I have to disagree. There are much worse things out there corrupting children than a harmless book. To me, it is still a children's novel that people of all ages can enjoy. Sure, there's romance, a bloodied nose, more bullying, death, and even a bit of "mead" drinking, but there's no cursing, sex, extreme violence, drunkenness, or drugs involved. I guess someone could dispute that there is violence, particularly at the climax of the novel, but what could it influence children to do? Throw around spells and hexes at each other? Better waving wands than waving guns. Besides, what I love most about the Potter series is that Rowling teaches us that the most magical and powerful thing in the world is love, not how one can yield a wand.

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I have to agree that this book would be a lot for an eight- or nine-year old to handle. It's one thing to see grown-ups having romances on TV or in the movies, but I don't know many children that age who are all that comfortable with teenagers that they know and love -- as opposed to Britney Spears -- dating and snogging and acting downright weird, and the Harry Potter characters are in the category of friends. (Did Pippi Longstocking ever date?) The first books could span the 5 to Harry/Hermione/Ron's own age group, but as Harry and the crew become adolescents, the target is a bit older.

Many kids are already aware of the politics and psychology on some level, because children are the cruellest masters. I suspect more have been in Snape's category than they'd care to admit.

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(Did Pippi Longstocking ever date?) 

No, but then again I don't think too many 8 and 9 year olds are reading Pippi Longstocking anymore. When I was in elementary school, all the kids were reading Goosebumps ("dark" material) or Babysitters Club and the Sweet Valley series (which always dealt with relationships of that sort). Sure, some kids may go "eww, gross" at all the snogging involved, but it's nothing that they can't handle and they'll just get a good giggle out of it. It's not going to stop them from reading HP, either. Children these days are maturing a lot faster than we're used to thinking they do.

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I don't know so much about the snogging (except that young kids think it's icky) but the allusions to kids flicking each other off (which young kids are sharp enough to get) and the mead drinking would put me off it.

I also think it is just to dark for the youngest of the harry potter fans. I have heard a few parents who decided their rule of thumb was if the kid could read the book on their own, then they could read the book. Those who are still read-a-longers will have to wait. It would be up to parents to decide if they could handle it, but I know multiple children who have nightmares from Pokeman!

I don't have my own children so I couldn't make this decision. As a teacher I would not have this one or the previous one on my bookshelf because they are just a little to dark. I would be worried about parent complaints. (I ignore the ones about witchcraft in general for the first 4.)

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the mead drinking would put me off it.

That suprised me a bit, too. But I doubt many kids under the age of 10 today, at least in America, would recognize what mead was, unless they were really good at reading context clues.

Editing to add: No matter what people think of the contents in the Potter novels, reading them is still a more suitable and healthier pastime than playing videogames (which, sadly, are taking over the toy industry) or watching the latest trash on television.

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Old Fashioned- I absolutely agree wit your point about video games and trash television. I would rather have kids read anything then spend all their time staring at a TV (although some video game playing is okay). If a child I work with expresses the maturity to handle more adult subject matter, then by all means I will let them read it.

(I went to sleep the night I read HP 6 and kept having to wake myself up so my dreams wouldn't get scary. That is part of the reason I would worry about a young child reading the books. Most kids can't control their nightmares yet. But if the kid can handle it, and a parent would know, then let them read!)

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I agree with both Helene and Skittl that this installment was flatter and less stand-alone than earlier books. I thought it very long just to set the scene for the great showdown which is to come in Book 7. This is probably the first book in the series that I haven't felt was better than the previous one.

PERHAPS SPOILERY - MODERATORS - PLEASE DELETE IF THIS IS TOO SPOILERY -I also wasn't as moved by the death in this book as the ones in Book 4 and 5. That means I wasn't dripping in tears at the end!! However, I think that has as much to do with the age and lifelong achievements of the person involved (compared to the very young death in Book 4 and Sirius Black's new found reason to live in Book 5) as anything else.

Regarding the suitability for children - I am unfamiliar with Valley High style books (I'm not even sure if that's the correct term), but Judy Blume's juvenile books are far more explicit. I actually thought the 'relationship' parts very sanitised and even coy in a way. The 'magic' scenes felt much more real to me than the 'relationship' scenes.

OTOH I appreciate the fact that for the large part, the series does develop. Unlike Enid Blyton's characters, and even the Narnia children, the children and adolescents in HP definitely develop and change. Again, I'm not familiar with most of the current young-adult literature, so maybe this isn't as significant as it seemed to me. Old Fashioned - you are much closer to that demographic. What say you?

Lastly, I'm not sure that the youngest fans are reading the books. I kow a couple of self-styled Star Wars fans aged 6 who haven't seen the latest movie, as their parents don't think it age appropriate. The kids just have all the merchandise. :blink: If you are reading the book to or even with a child, it would be possible to cut some passages.

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I've just changed the title to say "INCLUDES SPOILERS." I only put up the original title so that people could read the thread without worry during the first week, but everyone now has had their two weeks to read the book and they are warned :blink:

In case you didn't read the subtitle, this post contains:

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Enter only if you want to be surprised or have read the book.

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I agree with you -- I didn't find Dumbledore's death as moving as Black's for the very same reason: Black had found a reason to live.

There are a lot of theories on the Internet that Dumbledore didn't really die at the end. The big emphasis in magic teaching in this volume was on non-verbal spells. While Snape did say the Avada Kedavra curse, in one of the earlier books, it was explained that the curse only works if the recipient believes it -- kind of like the Evil Eye -- and all of the other victims had their eyes open, but Dumbledore had his closed. One theory goes that Snape was sending a different non-verbal curse, while speaking the Avada Kedavra out loud to be witnessed.

Also, all of the portraits of the dead headmasters line the office of the headmaster, and they have their say at will. So even if Dumbledore either died or had some mitigated alternate state -- like the Lilac Fairy's mitigation of Carabosse's curse -- I can't imagine that he'd be silent in his portrait. (That would be a sign of something different having happened.) The trick may be to get Harry to return to Hogwarts, since it isn't clear he'll be returning to school in Book 7.

It's amazing how carefully die-hard fans read the books and find clues. I never would have thought of any of this on my own.

My own theory of the books is that Snape may turn out to be the heroic character: a flawed and resentful man who is hated -- not always without cause -- mistrusted by both sides, and insulted, but who in spite of this, does the right thing in the end and gets qualified credit for it, like Roger Maris' asterisk.

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My own theory of the books is that Snape may turn out to be the heroic character:  a flawed and resentful man who is hated -- not always without cause -- mistrusted by both sides, and insulted, but who in spite of this, does the right thing in the end and gets qualified credit for it, like Roger Maris' asterisk.

I don't know about the baseball metaphor, but I do agree about Snape -- I think he's being set up either as a stellar turncoat or as a twisted hero.

Personally, I think Dumbledore is dead, but I've been wrong before. I was struck by his asking Snape for help at the end -- I think he didn't want Draco to have to kill him, that even at the end, he was trying to protect a child from the evil in the world.

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I just finally finished this book last night, and finally talked to my flatmate about it and read this thread - I agree on all accounts - Dumbledore's death didn't hit me, but I think part of that was how it was presented. He was less present and tied into this book than others I think. Also agree about Snape's ambiguity; I want to believe that he is a Good Guy and that Dumbledore was not wrong.

What do people think the significance of the number 7 is? Or is it 'just a number'?

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What do people think the significance of the number 7 is?  Or is it 'just a number'?

As far as I know, there are seven books because there are seven grades in the English public schools.

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Sorry for being unclear, I meant 7 as in the 7 parts of Voldemort's soul...

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7 is a mystical number in many cultures, I think - 7 days of creation according to the Judeo-Christian tradition, 7 days in the week, 7 heavenly spheres.

OTOH, there are so many mystical numbers...

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I just finished the book last night. I like the Potter books very much. I am, however, what you might call a Tolkien "freak". I have loved, read, and reread the trilogy since the late 60s. Rowlings draws from these books. Dumbledore and Gandalf are similar characters, and we all know what happened to Gandalf after his "death". He rose again from the dead to become the White Rider; he was the great master architect of the final overthrow of Sauron. Dumbledore plays the same role in relation to Voldemort. My guess is he will return in book seven...

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Say hello to a new addition to the dinosaur family, Dracorex hogwartsia.

Victor Porter, the museum's vertebrate paleontologist, used dental tools to clean the pieces, then reassembled the skull. He also made casts of the skull that he sent to other paleontologists to confirm it actually was a new species.

Finally, to re-create the 10-foot-long herbivore as scientists believe it looked, he paired the skull with a pachycephalosaurus skeleton from another excavation. Young museum visitors said it looked like a dragon. Porter and Robert T. Bakker, a national dinosaur expert and consultant to The Children's Museum, factored that into its name.

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I just read this (didn't notice it in May)... Dracorex hogwartsia...:cool2: I am so looking forward to the next movie and final book...

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I just read books 5 & 6 back to back (finally!) and I miss the gang at Hogwarts very much. I may start with book 1 and work through again in anticipation of book 7.

I rarely read fiction, but HP has won me over.

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Our esteemed Mel Johnson posted the following comments on the new Potter book in the What Are You Reading? thread, and I have copied the text here in case others would like to add comments or look at previous Harry Potter related postings:

What am I reading? Why, what millions of others worldwide are reading: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows! I've been following it from the first, initially to find out what there was in juvenile fiction that had attracted so much attention, and then I was hooked! I follow the "Potter Phenomenon" and have noticed that with the books' publishing dates, the story has progressed in very nearly real time, which appealed to a series readership. And I am favorably taken by Rowling's "inside references" to Tolkien, Lovecraft, Arthur Clarke and even a bit of Robert Heinlein. She passes her readers on to further challenges and joy of reading. I sincerely hope that she can translate her talent into writing stand-alone work. She has re-introduced reading for pleasure to a generation for whom this WAS an alien concept. Brava!

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I haven't read any of these, nor seen the movies. I tend to buck pop culture tidal waves. But in all the media hoopla, and along the lines of Mel's observation, "the story has progressed in very nearly real time, which appealed to a series readership " local news broadcast a sharp observation from a girl, about age 16, as she stood on line for the midnight sales to start. She said she'd started reading the books with the first one, when she was a new reader, that each was a landmark along her road to maturity, and this final installment signals the end of her childhood.

So poignant.

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