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The Aftermath: We were all correct

by David Haber

Sometime a week before Book 7 came out, someone commented that Harry would die, but then come back. I think most everyone on the site thought it was a silly idea. But I told several people at that time that I thought that just might be the perfect solution, although I couldn't figure out how J.K. could make it work. J.K. did, of course! So, the half of the Harry Potter fans in the world who thought Harry would die were right! And the other half who thought he would live were also right!

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Reader Comments: (Page 55)

I just realized, after nineteen years would be 8 or 9 years from now, I wonder why JKR made her epilogue in the future?

Posted by anonymous on July 25, 2007 10:46 PM

What a wonderful thread this is, adding to my understanding of the book immeasurably... notwithstanding the dozens of people who post as though they were the first to figure -- "Good Lord, 'Victoire' must be Bill and Fleur's daughter!" Thanks to you all.

My personal read on all this:

JKR had a Herculean (Odyssean?) task in balancing the book between (a) being true to the canon and her scores and scores of hints made over thousands of pages to the most scrutinizing aunce outside of Biblical scholars, and (b) somehow making it fresh and surprising. In my mind, she did it brilliantly. Kudos to her and to continuity editor Cheryl Klein. So, if JKR didn't write it the way YOU envisioned it, pardner, well, then she did her job. And, even if she didn't, as Tonks pointed out, it's HER book, after all.

For those of you who are "disappointed in the book" -- hey, you obviously finished it and its 700+ pages in just a few days, rather than getting bored and setting it aside. How many books in the last 20 years have you been so devoted to? 'nuff said.

I envy the many who posted here who felt so emotional over many scenes -- particularly those of loss -- that they broke into tears. Alas, I -- a crusty, middle-aged guy who tears up over greeting card commercials -- didn't feel that touched. I suspect it's largely because I was in such a hurry to finish it, and at 3:30 in the morning of a reading marathon I'm not that sentimental.

Great literary moment -- when Harry gets to Snape's last memory in the Pensieve and realizes that (a) he had to , and (b) Dumbledore set it up that way. In other words, in an instant, Harry realizes both that he has to sacrifice himself and that the man he's trusted with his life for seven years has seemingly betrayed him. It reminds me of the scene in Scott Turow's Burden of Proof when you go through the whole book thinking one thing, and then a character is cleaning garden tools and... well, I won't ruin that book for you but, this one is much more powerful.

The epilogue? I think it was fueled in large part by the whole debate over the years over which wizard would end up partnered with which witch at the end of it all, which JKR pretty much ended last year by deriding the fantasies of those who thought Hermione should end up with Harry. I think much of the disappointment among those in the "Harry & Hermione" camp is propelled a little by the movies -- where Hermione comes across as more of a babe than she does in the book, Ron seems to be kind of a goony er... prat, and Ginny is flat out plain. Why would Hermione settle for an irresponsible, dimwitted, self-centered guy like Ron, when she has in her life a guy who is better looking, more intelligent, and courageous and self-sacrificing beyond belief? It seemed awfully forced when Harry had to blurt out after Ron's return from cowardice that he just viewed Hermione as a sister, and where Hermione finally kissed Ron after his completely out-of-character allegiance to house elves (which was nothing compared to Harry's devotion to Dobby). And I never got what Harry saw in Ginny over Hermione; Hermione showed brilliance, devotion, humor, resourcefulness, character, and depth of intellect. Ginny? She was a talented Quidditch player, a fine witch, and a good snogger.... swell... Anyway, apart from her actual decisions as to who would end up with whom, I think that's all the future that JKR felt she owed us.

Also forced was the scene where Molly takes on Bellatrix. Hey, if Bellatrix can whack numerous professional aurors and sed wizards (like Sirius) and hold off the three young wizards with whom she was dueling, how can a housewife whose only known s is whipping up a meal from nothing suddenly whip a fastball... er fast curse... past her? And, the line: "Stay away from my daughter, you bitch!"? A direct, cheesy rip-off from the penultimate scene with Sigourney Weaver in the first Aliens movie. I was expecting Neville to get the there, but he got the better over Nagini, so that one's forgiven.

But, these are small quibbles. Some incredible lessons were imparted. People are not all good or all bad -- witness Dumbledore with all his faults amidst his apparent goodness, and Snape with all of his courage hidden under his nastiness.

Not all jerks are bad people. And even if they are, they sometimes make you stronger by not letting you get away with anything less than your best. Nerds and flakes can sometimes be incredibly strong people -- I love what she did with Neville and Luna.

My final thought. This series... and this book... have been so powerful, that many of us in some small measure view this part of our lives in a pre-Harry vs. post-Harry time frame. How often can you say that about a book? A wonderful, wonderful experience.

Posted by Jay Hughes from Berkeley, CA on July 25, 2007 10:46 PM

I reckon Harry Potter and the ly Hallows is just too sad and also- TOO SHORT. has anyone else noticed that the longest book is no. 5? anyway, IT WAS SO bad when Snape d, because he was actually NICE. i cant believe he LOVED LILY! i cried so much. i reckon if there had been Fawkes still in the book, Fawkes could have healed snapes SNAKE BITES. i hate Voldemort. as if he would want to split his soul anyways?

its so sad when you get to go into voldys flashback to the night when harry's parents d. you see harry playing with james and i wish that they didnt .

anyway, i agree that there ARE WAY TO MANY GAPS in the book. pretty stupid how wormtail d. and how draco ended up with a kid called Scorpius?

anyway. it was too short. took 10 hours for me to read.

Poor tonks' mother lost her daughter, her son-in-law, her husband. LIKE ALL HER FAMLY. at least she still has little teddy!

Posted by AMANDA from SA on July 25, 2007 11:00 PM

To Phoebe from the Phillipines:

Hi Phoebe, thanks for your comments. i guess we have to agree to disagree about why harry lost his possessions at the begininnig of the book.

just to clarify, i was only saying "out of body" experience as a generic description. whatever it was, i didn't like it. i felt it was a bit far-fetched for my taste.

as for hermione...i was referring not so much to her doubting harry and trying to keep him focused or what not, but rather her obvious mistakes or accidents, like her blowing up harry's wand, yaxley clinging on her cloak when they arrived at #12 grimmauld place, etc...i am sure these were not intended by dumbledore....just mishaps that i felt were an least for me anyways.

as far as horcruxes vs. hallows. perhaps you misunderstood me. i understand what jkr is trying to do, i just didn't like it, that's all. i think i would have enjoyed the book more if it focused on one central plot, per se, like the other books.

too much dumbledore--again, i understand everything that was going on about this. my criticism is just that--i didn't like it. i would have preferred less dumbledore in the book.

thanks for sharing your feedback!

To Missy from Cleveland:

Harry was supposed to be torn between finding the hallows or the horcuxes. At Shell Cottage, he had an imaginary conversation with Dumbledore, musing that Dumbledore gave Ron the Deluminator because he knew Ron always go back to help his friends, that Pettigrew have a bit of regret in the end, and he concluded that Dumbledore knew he would find it hard to resist abandoning the search for the hallows if he knew, and that Dumbledore made it this hard for him on purpose so as to give him enough time to understand that the hallows is information for him to know but not objects to claim for himself. That was why he decided to talk to Griphook first, before talking to Olivander, indicating his decision to NOT go after the elder wand.

Hermione did not screw up. Dumbledore said at King's Cross that he relied on her to slow Harry down enough to fully understand what he needed to understand.

The chapter at King's Cross is not an out of body experience. Read the last 2 lines. Harry asked if it was all in his mind. Dumbledore said yes, but it doesn't mean it's not real.

Harry lost both Hedwig and the firebolt not because Ms. Rowling wanted an expent way to get rid of them, but to illustrate that Harry was stripped of all the MATERIAL possesions he held dear, which included his holly-phoenix feather wand, which came a little later. Ms. Rowling highlighted that point (albeit subtly) with Ginny's birthday present to Harry.

p.s.: Ms. Rowling dealt with the too much Dumbledore in the story issue too. Re-read Harry's conversation with Aberforth. Harry made the decision for himself to follow Dumbledore's instructions. He thought a lot about what Dumbledore would have done, but the decisions and the resolve to see things through were all ultimately his own.

Posted by Missy from Cleveland on July 25, 2007 11:06 PM

One another question that haunts me is, how did the sword of gryffindor get back into the hat? I thought the goblin had taken it away. Also, it had to be the original sword because the horcrux (Nagini) was destroyed.

Posted by Bharath from Bangalore, India on July 25, 2007 11:36 PM


I don't think the plot would have moved forward quite as well if Harry has not been able to have these glimpses into Voldemort. I would say they are a legitimate plot device.

Harry, this time, learns to harness these glimpses to his own ends. This shows he is growing up, learning to harness his ss and abilities. The glimpses move the story forward or give us glimpses of scenes or areas we would otherwise not have access to. I think they are vividly done, giving us confirmation that in spite of his growing power Voldemort still has his weaknesses.

Posted by Marjorie from New Zealand on July 25, 2007 11:39 PM

I want to know how the basin got refilled with the liquid after RAB had drunk the contents and Kreacher had taken out the locket and replaced it with Regulus's?
Any ideas? Or have I missed something obvious?

Posted by Susannah_B from Kent, England on July 26, 2007 12:44 AM

I was both surprised and thrilled by Harry Potter and the ly Hallows. Surprised that various readers posting to this site were able to guess most of the remaining plot twists. An example, it seems, of the wisdom of the crowd. Because of Jo�s comment a few months ago that she saved one character from but ed two others, I thought that she could mean that Harry would live, but Ron and Hermione would . For once, I was happy to be wroing.

One of my favorite parts of the book is Kreacher�s transformation. It was so moving to hear the story of Regulus�s courageous sacrifice. Near the end, I loved the scene at the siege of Hogwarts when Kreacher leads the elves into the great hall with a rousing battle cry.

There were so many amazing moments at the end: Harry�s meeting with his parents, Sirius and Lupin; his sacrifice in the forest, and King�s Cross when he meets up with Dumbledore at last�I felt that Jo truly put her heart into these pages. But the most poignant character in DH is Snape. When we learn his backstory, the series falls in place, and we have to agree with Harry when he tells his son in the Epilogue that Snape was the bravest man he ever knew. Even Dumbledore tells Snape that he is �� a braver man by far than Igor Karkaroff � sometimes I think we Sort too soon.� An interesting comment which �� leaves Snape looking stricken.� �Stricken� to me fits this complex, conflicted & courageous character. At this point, Snape seems to stumble on a possibility: he could have been a Gryffindor and what then might his life have been like?

Posted by Ellen from Pasadena on July 26, 2007 01:03 AM

why do people keep complaining about the book? we're supposed to be fans not critics! the unanswered questions like who is head of hogwarts are left to our imagination! if you look carfully all the little things that dont make sense acctually do! the thing at Kings cross was part of voldemorts sole as dumbledore hinted. all this thing about the elder wand is abit confusing but im sure it does make sense!
well done jk! great end to a great series!

Posted by hannah from uk on July 26, 2007 01:45 AM

Someone asked what 'i open at the close' meant on the snitch.
I think this meant it open at the end of everything, when you are ready to close the chapter that is your life... he could only open it whe he was prepared to and then his parents etc appearing gave him the courage to go through with it.

Posted by tonks from london on July 26, 2007 01:57 AM

Ashley R. 'I open at the close' I believe meant that the snitch would open at the 'close' of Harry's life - as he walked to his (or as he believed he was walking to his ). He got to see his family, and they gave him strength and support.
SM - thanks for your reply regarding the cloak (and Tony too). However, MadEye Moody MUST have been able to see through the cloak because Harry makes frantic gestures and mouths that the map and the egg are his - in the chapter 'The Egg and the Eye' of GoF... 'For a few seconds, he and Harry stared straight into each other's eyes' (pg 409 UK).

Posted by Orlando from England on July 26, 2007 02:45 AM

We know Voldemort left the diadem in the Room of Requirement understanding that no one would be able to access it - then when Malfoy uses the said room to sneak Eaters in to Hogworts why didn't he realise others could access it?

Posted by James from Liverpool, UK on July 26, 2007 04:06 AM

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