J: So, Beth, we're off to a good -albeit longwinded- start. Now tell me, was there anything you didn't like? Anything you'd change?
B: Too much mucking about in that smelly old tent!! That didn't work for me at all. I'd like to think that the story would have been stronger with a little less tent-centered action and more about what was happening to those who were fighting the death eaters on the "outside." This was supposed to be the big climax of the series and it felt like most of the exciting action was hpapening elswhere for huge chunks of the novel. But honestly, that's a minor nit-pick. It wouldn't have been a Harry Potter novel if it didn't ramble off somewhere that didn't quite make sense for a while.
J: Well, I've got to agree about the tent. Plus I did keep getting the sense that said tent was a little too convenient of a device. Got everything - well okay, many things - you need all tucked in the bag that you don't lose. So our Scooby gang (pardon the mixing of genres here) is "riding under the grid" but not really. I would also - if pressed, and remember I adore this book with all my heart - have liked a little less info to be presented through Harry's mind meld with Voldy and fewer references to how Harry's scar "prickled."But hey, as you say, these are minor points.
J: Okay - next question might not be for everyone, but it's my blog, so here goes. Since you're my cohort in crime in all things Joss Whedon, are there any Whedonesque (ooh, cool word) parallels you'd like to make? (I personally think JKR is a Joss fan, but that's just me.)
B: Joss Whedon rules!!!!!!And I like that - cohort in Whedonverse crime! We should have a secret handshake or dark mark or something.
J:Great HP reference, Beth. Now on with the rest of your answer.
B: I know you are thinking that I'm going to talk about Snape here, because he's the most obvious Whedonesque character, but I"ll leave that toyou since I know he's totally your secret Harry Potter BFF.
J: So true. So true.
B: The 'verse parallel I keep coming back to is the strength of the ensemble and how it works out that triumph over the dark monsters is not always accomplished through some single person or miracle. If any of the characters had been eliminated from the main triumvirate of Ron, Harry and Hermione, things would have ground to a halt. (And they kind of did when Ron left). They learn that they truly need each other, they grow into their unique strengths and they come to understand that they don't exist in a fate-driven vacuum - no matter what some darn shanshu prophecy might say - it takes a village to kill a dark overlord, what else can I say.
J: Heck of an answer, Elizabeth! I was even reminded of the end of season one of Buffy. Like Harry, she believes she has to die to save the world. And she's willing - sort of - to do so. But you're right, I will focus a bit on my darling Severus Snape. Guess I've always got a soft spot for the redeemable baddie. Spike. Snape. Yup. Seeing the similarities. Willing to sacrifice for the pretty lady. Not what he seems on the surface. Morally ambiguous right to the bitter end. Just how I like 'em. I adored discovering that the silver doe was Snape's patronus in honor of Lily, his unrequited love. Okay, Sev didn't build a Lily-bot or anything (hey, now wouldn't that have been cool!) but still. The parallels are definitely there. And of course, I've always thought of Harry=Buffy; Hermione= Willow; Ron=Xander. Always. Even if I'm pretty sure that was never JKR's intention. It was still there for me.
J: Guess this post is gonna end up with a part 3. So just one more for today. I have my own list of favorite moments and moments that made me cry. One that stands out is in the Malfoy's Manor chapter when Hermione is being tortured by Cruella Deville - oops - Bellatrix. Ron's cries of "Hermione!" when he is not only terrified for her safety but clearly finally willing to admit how much she means to him, just got me. Ron also made me laugh hysterically during the "Silver Doe" chapter. All that meditative dream like narration, interrupted by Ron's classic, "Are you mental?" Love, love, loved it. So how about the Beth list of faves?
B: There were so many moments in the book that I enjoyed: the Oceans Eleven style break-in at the Ministry of Magic, the reunion of Ron and Hermione in the woods, the craggy relatives at the wedding. Oddly, the moment that sticks with me the most is a very sad one. Having to bury Dobby was soo difficult. I still get teary just thinking about it. But really, didn't it all just gel at that moment? It was terrible and awful and very grownup. Burying the people we love is the most difficult and humbling thing we have to do as we get older. Also - Mrs. Weasly cursing as she opened a big ole can of whoop-ass on Bellatrix Lestrange was worth the price of admission all by itself.
J: Yes! The most shocking application of a swear word in all of children's lit!! And totally well -deserved!! (by the by, did you notice the use of "effing" in this book? Also a little jarring considering where the stories started out. But I digress)An awesome kick ass moment. I'd also have to add that I shed some tears during the epilogue. I know some folks aren't fond of it, but I very much liked it. That's all I'll say, because I know you're going to discuss it tomorrow.
Til next time...