Saturday, July 21, 2007

And so it ends ...

Ken and I bought Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows at around 1 a.m. this morning. I read three chapters and then fell asleep. I woke up, and with the exception of about an 1-1/2 break for dinner, read for 13 hours straight. I'm groggy, disoriented, and a little dehydrated (crying will do that).


I won't spoil the book for anyone--I don't want to make enemies. But I will tell you I have two gut reactions: the reader one and the writer one. The reader in me liked it alot. I laughed, I cried, I was shocked. The reader in me has a few complaints but that falls into the spoiler catergory, so I'll save that discussion for the weeks and months to come. The writer in me felt that the story was bloated in places. I also feel that this story arc can be broken in two: the first four books and then the last three. I believe she had a firm idea about where the story was heading and what the major plot points concerning Harry/Voldemort were all along. However, I also feel that Rowling used the three years between Goblet of Fire and Order of the Phoenix for some major plotting/construction/backstory work that maybe wasn't strictly part of her original plan.

Mind you, I'm not saying that bad. It's necessary, in fact, when you're writing a long series, I think. My opinion is that she found uses for some of the characters later in the series that she hadn't planned on when she started out.

I'll probably read the whole series again, start to finish, but probably not for another year or so. I need time to digest. I also need some time to come down from the whole Harry Potter OCD business.

My confidence in my own writing is intact, and for that I'm grateful. It's a big step for me; I used to read awesome stories and say "Why can't I do that? Why do I suck? I'm never going to make it." Now, I go, "Hey, she did that really well. I'd have done X differently ... but this is her story. I enjoyed it."


Paul Genesse said...

I hope you're not too dehydrated from your Potter reading marathon. Are you sad it's over?

I'm looking forward to reading the spoilers, though my friend Jessica read the last page and told me what was there!!!

Yep, Harry joined the Canadian Mounties and was learning to surf off the coast of Nova Scotia . . .

Darn wizards!

Anyway, I admire your dedication to reading. I need to read more myself. See you soon! I can't wait for Gen Con.

Paul Genesse

Author of The Pirate Witch
in Pirates of the Blue Kingdoms

Kelly Swails said...

When I first finished I cried a little, both because of the content and the fact that the series was over. Now that I've had a few days to live with it, it's cool. Apparently Rowling is thinking of publishing a "Harry Potter Encyclopedia." That would be fun to read--full of character histories and how the world is after the series ends, etc.

Sometimes I have to remind myself that I love writing because I love reading good stories. The more you read the better you write, I always say. Though, I definitely don't read as much as I used to--now it's usually in spurts when I don't have arbitrary writing deadlines over my head.

Rob S. said...

Well Jenny and I demolished the book this weekend and the beginning of this week. I won't give out any spoilers, but will just say that while I liked the general story arc, I actually thought that this was not one of her better books.

There were a number of things that I really didn't like all that well, but at the same time, I thought that the overall story was good.

Kelly Swails said...

Rob: yeah, you guys are on the same page as me and Ken, for the most part. I think the overall Harry/Voldemort story arc was really well done. This book? Eh. The first half of the book was actually kinda crappy, I thought, because nothing...really...happens. The last 300 pages or so, on the other hand, are some of the best of the series. I also felt there were a lot of little world-continuity errors that could have been remedied by a slower editing process--for example, one needs an Apparition license to apparate, right? Well, Harry never got one...shouldn't the Ministry be able to track that and find him that way? That sort of thing.

Goblet of Fire is still my favorite in the series.