Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Reader's Diary #787- J. K. Rowling: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

. 7 books, 8 movies. My daughter and I have finally finished the series. And we're both of mixed feelings about the whole thing. It was a wild ride, and was definitely a bonding time for the two of us these past 2 years. But now it's over and it's hard to imagine another series that will win us over as much. I've considered getting the Tales of Beedle the Bard but figured it best to just leave the series and Rowling for a while. My kids and I both loved Jeff Smith's Bone series as well, but none of the spin-off projects have lived up to the original, to the point where I think it soured the original experience. Why risk that with Harry Potter?

I quite enjoyed the last book. With Dudley's apology and Hedwig's death so early on, I think Rowling did a remarkable job setting the tone for the novel to follow: one of closures and tragedy. Holy cow, talk about a high body count! It's a bloodbath worthy of Shakespeare himself. Meanwhile there are also a few crucial plot problems worthy of M. Night Shyamalan-- nothing as bad as Goblet of Fire, though, so I still enjoyed it.

I was taken aback by the language though. No f-bombs or GDs, but loads of damns, hells, and a few bitches and bastards thrown in for good measure. I admit I censored when I read it aloud. My daughter is 8 and though I didn't initially think we'd make it to the last book in the series at this age, I changed my mind based on my daughter's maturity. As for the language, it's not that I necessarily think hearing it would damage her, I'm sure she's heard it on the playground before or read it in the graffiti around town, but I just couldn't bring myself to say them in front of her. But I'm sure my censorship won't damage her either! I also don't think Rowling is necessarily wrong to have written it in. Harry and his friends are all 17 at this point, mild swearing is tame compared to what 17 year olds actually say and do.

And now we try to find our next series.


Allison said...

When I was visiting the parentals over the holidays, I picked up all the Harry Potter books that were tucked away in my old bedroom closest. Heavy buggers, those. Had a hankering to re-read them though.

John Mutford said...

Allison: Yes, I'm hoping my daughter will eventually look at them as potential rereads. As for the weight of the books, I think Rowling deserves some sort of medal for making clunksters not only acceptable but cool. I needed that person when I was a young reader as I still have an aversion to books with too much heft!

Shannon Lee said...


I'm glad you finished the series. I've read and reread it a number of times. Often, we read it aloud at home or on the road driving long distances, not that the girls have been of an age to follow along yet.

I have the Tales of Beedle the Bard, and they are clever, so I'll be bringing you a copy. I don't think you'd be disappointed.