Sunday, July 17, 2005

Harry Potter and the half-baked plot

I finished reading Harry Potter last night, after coming back from a lovely wine-tasting dinner.

I have to say, I'm disappointed.

Reading the book, I got a horrible feeling that J.K. Rowling was reading fan-fic to determine where the plot should go - the end of the book contains an explosion of pairings so gratuitous that it would make any romance fan-fic author happy.

It had long been known that someone was going to die. Near the start of the book it seemed that there was a logical choice, but it was so obvious that there was no way she was going that route. Unfortunately, she did go that route. You could tell it was coming a mile off.

In an effort to make her 16 year old characters seem 16 and preoccupied with members of the opposite sex, J.K. Rowling suddenly made them all seem somewhat insouciant about the goings-on in the big wide world around them. Given their previous preoccupation with Lord Voldemort, this seems sort of strange.

Moreover, some of the characters continue to technically be main characters but barely appear in the majority of the book. There needed to be more Draco development.

Plot-wise, it was one of the most half-baked plots I've ever seen - the end of the book ties up a million loose ends while leaving a million more untied and giving a significantly rushed feeling to the book.

Ron and Hermione became almost comic characters, as the book prefered to focus on the sexual tension between the two. What happened to helping out Harry?

Oh, and the half-blood prince - dumbest resolution on that issue ever. I'm not entirely sure what the point was other than to create an "OMG!" effect. Meanwhile - the last few pages are some of the most forced, singularly uninspiring last few pages I've ever read.

On the Snape issue - well, let's hope she's a really really devious author, because otherwise she's just massively copped out.

I really hate to be writing all this bad stuff - I've been salivating over the prospect of this book for months - years even. I read it from start to finish in a couple of hours. I really really wanted it to be good. As it stands, I'm not entirely sure how everything is going to be resolved in the 7th book. It's going to have to be really really long, since this book doesn't bring anything closer to any resolution, and opens up even more cans of worms.

So all in all...I'll read it again - maybe it'll get better a second time. But it's very skimpy on the plot, lacks character development on all levels, glosses over major issues, and changes the direction some of the characters are moving in. Which is why, in short, I think that J.K. Rowling may have run out of inspiration and trolled the fan-fic sites to find ideas and pick out what people liked (no, there's no Harry/Draco slash - despite the myriads of such stories on the various sites). I trolled the fan-fic sites myself for a brief while last summer when I was suffering from Harry Potter book deprivation, and a lot of this book rang hollowly familiar, and not in a good way.


Blogger David said...

Oh, come on, have a little faith.

Rowling wouldn't do something as fatuously unsubtle as have Snape turn out to have been Evil(tm) all this time... even Piers Anthony would know better than to do that.

7:23 PM  

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