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No more happiness after ‘Deathly Hallows’

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” the final book the J.K. Rowling series, has been universally lauded by critics as well as MSNBC.com readers. Below are a collections of thoughts by MSNBC.com writers, editors and a selection of young readers about the book.
/ Source: msnbc.com

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” the final book the J.K. Rowling series, has been universally lauded by critics as well as . Below are a collections of thoughts by MSNBC.com writers, editors and a selection of young readers about the book.

After spending Friday night queuing up for the book, Saturday reading it, and Sunday mulling it over, I have mixed feelings about “The Deathly Hallows.” The final face-off between Harry and Voldemort satisfied, with the wordy exchange before the last wand-stroke capturing both characters perfectly. But before that, and immediately following it, it was a bumpy and uneven ride.

From the hurry-up-and-wait horcrux hunt, which dragged in the first half of the book, to the blink-and-you’ll-miss-them deaths of Lupin and Tonks, there were plenty of disappointments. Sloppy inconsistencies, like Hermione’s fluctuating abilities where memory charms were concerned, just bugged.

On the plus side, Harry’s tribute to Dobby, the annoying but heroic house elf, was touching and tear-worthy. And the action scenes in the latter half of the story made up for the sluggish start.

But then there was the epilogue. Rather than providing a satisfying summary of all the characters we’ve grown to love, which I really looked forward to, it was more of a brief and cheesy tack-on. All we learned is that the obvious couples hooked up and gave their kids unfortunate names. Poor Albus Severus Potter.— Ree Hines, MSNBC.com contributor

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July in Seattle is usually a brilliant affair, the gray doldrums normally associated with our patchy corner of the country briefly swept away for beautiful skies and long, temperate days best spent outdoors. So, when the cloudy, soggy weather of March uncharacteristically rolled in this past weekend, I took it as nothing less than a sign that I was to spend my days ensconced in the last chapters of the saga of Harry Potter. After enduring several sleep deprived nights and twitchy hours when I was pulled away from the book to attend to more mundane Muggle tasks (like eating or work), I can finally say that it is a relief to be finished.

J.K. Rowling’s conclusion to the near decade long chronicling of the adventures of Harry and his friends is epic, entertaining, imperfect and, ultimately, fulfilling. The humor and effortless sense of voice of her writing is really at it’s best in “The Deathly Hallows,” as is her vivid imagination, taking readers for the first time outside of the cozy confines of Hogwarts school into the very real, if often allegorical, world at large. Rowling’s great strength, her attention to detail and intimate knowledge of the magical worlds she has created, can also get a bit tedious as Harry, Ron and Hermione spend several hundred pages hunting for secrets to triumph over Lord Voldemort.

Other than relief (and a desire to finally clean my neglected kitchen) I can’t help but feel a small sense of gratitude towards Rowling and her heroes. Whether or not you think Harry Potter deserves to be considered great, or even good, children’s literature, there’s no denying that Rowling has created a modern mythology, instructive without being moralizing, enriching as it is entertaining. Like the best fables, she’s plumbed the depths of our collective unconscious, without all the dangerous trappings of belief, to better make sense of a world that can so often defy logic. A committed bit of magic that even Harry’s mentor, the wizened Albus Dumbledore, would likely approve.— Jim Ray, MSNBC.com producer

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As a friend said, "It's 'Return of the Jedi'. It's not the best part, just the last part."

Much of "Harry Potter and the Deathy Hallows" was predictable (Snape not evil, Harry as horcrux, Regulus and the locket) and the less said about the trite Happy Families epilogue the better. But viewed as the last chapter in a series, J.K. Rowling did succeed in wrapping up an astonishing amount of detail from the last six books. Characters both major and minor got some terrific moments — there's pretty much no part of Harry, Ron and Hermione off in the woods together I didn't like but I was also pleased with Neville's big moment, and Dudley's and Narcissa's smaller ones.

While the ending was very deus ex machina (the wand transferred how again?), there were some fantastic action sequences along the way — the Gringotts break-in was spectacular — and lots of spooky ones as well. The movie should be a lot of fun.— Lori Smith, MSNBC.com producer

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There's so much that's memorable about "Deathly Hallows," but it's the little details that stand out.It will be a long time before I forget Hermoine's simple speech about how she modified her parents' memories and sent them to Australia, and if she died it would be OK because as far as they knew they'd never had a daughter at all. Dean Thomas finally got his 15 minutes of fame. The House-Elves vindicated Hermoine's S.P.E.W. efforts. Oliver Wood and the rest of the Gryffindor Quidditch alumni come to fight.And 16 years after being saved by the love of his own mother, Harry lives because of the love of his arch-nemesis for her own son. The pivotal scene with Narcissa Malfoy was fantastic.I wish J.K. Rowling hadn't ended the final battle without telling us more about whether some of the more prominent students lived or died. Did Lavender Brown recover from her injuries, or did Ron's ex pay the ultimate price? How about the Patil twins, or Cho Chang, or the Quidditch team, or the rest of Dumbledore's Army?

But aside from those details, the only problem I had with the Harry Potter series finale is that it ended.— Craig Berman, MSNBC.com contributor

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The following are things I spoke aloud while reading “Deathly Hallows”:

  • “If I don’t read it, nobody has to die.” I said this in response to my roommate’s inquiry as to why I was carrying the unopened, 759-page tome around all morning. Upon opening the book, two things hit me: These people are actually about to
  • “All right, Harry. It’s just you and me.” I said this as I tried to get the nerve to start reading. Three times, I opened and closed the book, never letting more than the first word register. But the fourth time, the first sentence wormed its way into my brain. And that, as any Harry fan knows, is all it takes to get hooked. I read the entire thing in two sittings.
  • “Oh,
  • “GASP!” And a happy gasp, at that. Perhaps this makes me a glass-is-half-empty sort of person, but I’d become convinced that Harry was a goner. And so I read the final few chapters in disbelief, wearing a huge, slightly goofy grin on my face. What a perfect ending.

My journey into the fantastical, brilliant mind of J.K. Rowling began in 1998, when I was six. I saw a book on a table in our living room, and was drawn to it because of its colorful cover. It didn’t look like the kind of book my parents would read, so I, already an avid reader, opened it. And suddenly, the hand of Rowling came out, grabbed me, and pulled me, careening, into a new world.

My passion for the books has never waned. But I must admit I was frightened to read this last installment, for I felt the characters would leave me at last. But I put my trust in Rowling, who had never failed me before.

And now I can breathe a sigh of relief. Everything, from the unveiling of Snape’s secret love, to the explanation of the ways of life and death from Albus Dumbledore, was executed perfectly and without rush. Rowling kept her flair however, with great and terrible battle sequences, just like old times. It was like a great meal, perfectly portioned, and I was satisfied. For Rowling has told us from the very beginning: In time, everything will come to light.— Francesca Federico, age 15

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I am now put into a position to find a fault with a fabulous book — and I’ve read all the previous Harry Potter books at least eight times and this was the best one. The action was great from the start, with the maneuvers of the Death Eaters as they were trying to attack Harry, his friends and the members of the Order of the Phoenix.

What I didn’t like is that there was sometimes too much action; it wasn’t as realistic as it could be. Each adventure happened too quickly and there were too many coincidences. Also I loved the conversations between Ron, Hermione and Harry in the previous books, and there wasn’t as much this time.

The most memorable character for me was Belatrix Lestrange, the Death Eater. She was so crazed, and so deeply devoted to Voldemort, and it was amazing how she was killed almost the same way as her cousin, Sirius Black.

For me, the 11 major deaths were very interesting, the way people died and how that corresponded with the plot. For example, it was sad to the point of tears when Dobby died only moments after saving Harry, as was the death of Hedwig, my favorite character.

The realization that one of the greatest series is over will take a few weeks to handle. Just like how Voldemort wanted, there will be no more happiness.— Paolo Federico-O'Murchu, age 10