13 December 2007
Harry Potter: SPOILER ALERT
For the rest of you, it has been a long time since I last reported on my readings in the final volume of this series. October 7th, in fact.
The ending of the book/series was in some ways a disappointment. Harry gets to have things both ways. He gets to make a noble self-sacrifice -- heading off in the woods at one point to what he is certain is his death -- yet through some authorly non-magical wand-waving he gets to be still alive and well at the end of the novel, too.
And the wands. There's too much in the final chapters of this book about wands. There are rules in the wizardly world about wands, and who can steal a wand from whom and how effective it will be when stolen. These rules are much discussed, and various wands show up where they aren't supposed to be. But it is all rather more confusing than any pay-off would warrant. The final defeat of Voldemort didn't really require all the stagecraft with wands.
Still, Rowling isn't just mechanically tying things up. She still has her moments of inspiration. The final appearance of the giant spiders, for example, was both unexpected and appropriate. It will look great on a movie screen when they get to that one.
And given the vastness of her achievement over seven volumes now, I'm willing togive Rowling a pass on some of the clumsiness here.
For the sentimentalists out there: Harry ends up married to Gina. They have kids and are sending them off at the famous fractional train platform in the final pages.
Ron and Hermione and there, too, sending their kids off to school, their own destinies to be determined by the sorting hat.
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.