It’s a relief. After the last Harry Potter which was like a dark cloud hanging over everything, the new book comes like a sliver of sunlight poking through on a particularly gloomy morning. The Order of the Phoenix was tinged with sadness all around – even Potter’s tête-à-têtes with Cho Chang were colored with gloominess and her mooning over a dead Cedric Diggory.
This book returns to the basics in the best way possible. The mundane troubles of school continue with diversions galore. Raging hormones, house pride and petulant women make this a better read than the two previous Potters. (Azkaban remains a personal favorite). Without giving too much away, the end came as a huge surprise to me, as I was expecting things to not quite happen the way they did. Of course, everyone knows that a key character is bumped off (I knew who the character was, too), but the way in which s/he dies was a bit of a surprise.
The denouement promises to be interesting, with Harry looking to take a fairly unconventional step. The slightly apocalyptic nature of his life means that it is unlikely for Harry to go back to living a normal life after he’s fulfilled his destiny. I’d still be surprised if the guesswork in some circles (that he dies) is correct. It would be too much, considering this is supposed to be children’s literature. But children’s literature has never been known to be squeamish (read: The Brothers Grimm).
I know people give me a strange look when I talk about reading and enjoying Harry Potter. The general perception among many people seems to be:
a) It’s for children.
b) Chicks read it.
Things like that never stopped me from enjoying a perfectly fun series of books to read. Creating a world out of words isn’t something that is easy, and Rowling IMO does a brilliant job of it.
I am still waiting for an opportune moment to start on Tolkien’s Omnibus trilogy, since the Magical World and Muggle-Land combined doesn’t hold a lumos-lit wand to the gargantuan place that is Middle Earth. (Obligatory Tarantino: “You know, I've always liked that word..."gargantuan"... so rarely have an opportunity to use it in a sentence”).
But, but, but, Potter still has nothing on Haroun Khalifa.
Previous Potter soundings-off here .