07 October 2007

Harry Potter


Now that that's out of the way. I've continued my slow wanderings through the last novel in the Harry Potter series since I last discussed wizardly matters here. It has been slow because, well ... I've had other things to do. But I'm about two-thirds of the way through now.

As one might expect from a book of this sort, the pace picks up considerably between the half-way mark and the 2/3s mark.

I liked the introduction of the "deathly hallows" that gives the book its name. The three leads characters (Harry, Ron, Hermione) start seeing an odd geometric-looking symbol. When at last they hear an explanation for the symbol, it turns out the markings, which had seemed quite abstract (a triangle, a circle inside it, a line bissecting them both) have very concrete referents. The three objects, or hallows, are: a certain cloak, a particular wand, and a stone.

The stone here appears not to be the "philosopher's stone" or "sorcerer's stone" from the first book -- unless she's got a surprise in store to which I haven't come yet. Yet it is surely not unrelated to that.

I enjoyed the scene whereby the three lead characters are nearly captured by Death Eaters due to some treachery by Luna Lovegood's father, and the fact that his treacherous actions are, from his point of view, not only understandable but sympathetic.

That incident leads us -- as so much in Rowlings' work does -- to contemplate the etymology of one of her names. Xenophilius? Lover of the foreign or the strange.

I also like the way that, further on, even Wormtail, a justly despised character who was once Ron's pet rat, his "animal familiar," gets a chance to redeem himself.

That's enough babbling for now. All in all, it seems that the book deserves most of its hype, if not quite all.

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Knowledge is warranted belief -- it is the body of belief that we build up because, while living in this world, we've developed good reasons for believing it. What we know, then, is what works -- and it is, necessarily, what has worked for us, each of us individually, as a first approximation. For my other blog, on the struggles for control in the corporate suites, see www.proxypartisans.blogspot.com.