HarryPotterAndTheThingyOfWhatsit: Awe heck, no one ever remembers the correct title of these books anyhow.

Awe heck, no one ever remembers the correct title of these books anyhow.

Oh yes, that’s it. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

It’s a book by JK blah and tells the story of young Harry blah who fights Lord blah and wins in the end. Look, if you don’t know who Harry Potter is then it’s time to tell your overly protective Christian parents that the Pope says it’s ok to read them. I don’t know if he has, but if they’re so gullible to believe that a work of fiction can be sinful, they’ll believe anything.

The last book in the Harry Potter series can best be summed up in one word, and that word is satisfying. It bring the story to a decent close, mops up almost all of the hanging plot threads and leaves the reader with a good taste in their mouth. It’s a good, solid fish-and-chips kind of book; there’s nothing pretentious about JK Rowling’s writing, she just gets down to the tale, and tells it.

Maybe that’s a part of the series’ charm. It doesn’t claim to be “the greatest story ever told”, “bigger than Tolkien” or “mightier than War and Peace”. It’s just a good, fun read that’s not too heavy on the old digestive system (unlike fish and chips. Damn those inappropriate metaphors). That’s quite an achievement for a series that’s been largely written while at the same time the movieizations (is that a word? Like a novelization in reverse) are breaking box office records. Success, it seems, hasn’t gone to JK Rowlings’ head.

Warning: Spoilers ahead. You know the drill.

That’s not to say the final book isn’t without its faults however. Some people die who most definitely shouldn’t (Lupin and Tonks – my favourite characters in the series, complete with lovely romance sub-plot), and others just don’t get the epic air-time they deserve. I’d hoped for a huge team-up in the last chapter where Harry and a newly converted Draco Malfoy kick the living crap out of The Emperor… I mean, Lord Voldemort, but that wasn’t to be. Maybe the obvious “it’s like Star Wars” criticisms put paid to that one.

On that note, of course it’s possible to claim Harry Potter is derivative of other works. JK Rowling hasn’t lived in a bubble all her life. At least, I don’t think she has. Strange woman…….

Where was I? Oh yes.

You could argue that Harry Potter is composed of lots of things. There’s Star Wars (“Wands are just like light sabres! See?”), St Trinians (but without the sexy pleated skirts. Shame, that), Boys’ Own comics and all the rest. So what, really. The books are fun; that’s what they’re supposed to be, nothing more or less. And that’s blooming great!

There’s one thread though that’s hard to ignore. As the series has developed the whole anti-Muggle/anti-Semiticism and Hitler = Voldemort thing has grown until it’s impossible to ignore in the final book. This page draws comparisons far more intelligently than I could ever do, and it’s a compelling argument. Full marks to JK for putting in a little contemporary commentary into the books; I hope I’m not the only father who ended up discussing what happened in Hitler’s Germany with his 9 year old son as a result of a little boy called Harry.

Look, if you’ve never read the books, I recommend them. If you’ve only seen the films then go and stand in the corner. Books beat movies every time.

Next Book: the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan

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