Happy Birthday J K Rowling and Harry Potter…

July 31, 2007

Thank you Jo for giving us Harry, the wonderful journey and the lovely memories. Check out more Potter history here: http://www.floo-network.org/#history

I can’t resist a little recap of my own journey with the book/movies. I was first introduced to Harry’s world thru the movie – ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s stone’ when I was in college. I distinctly remember the Thanksgiving weekend movie and the tons of chidren who lined up to buy tickets! At that time the bug hadn’t bitten me; the movie seemed just to be a sweet children’s movie with a happy ending. I had no idea that some of the later books in the series were already out! My next meeting with Potter was in 2006 on a flight to San Francisco when I watched the second, third and fourth movie. It was then that the bug had bit me! Between April and June of 2006, I had read all six books, found mugglenet, leaky-cauldron, jkrowling.com and the many other Potter-dedicated sites, and joined the millions of fans waiting for the seventh installment. Enough about me, more happy stuff today.

And Happy win for Indian cricket team at the Trent Bridge test match!

Some quick musings on the test match: it was nice to see Zaheer Khan’s quality bowling, Michael Vaughon’s fighting innings, and Sreeshant’s spirit. Nice to see an attacking sub-continent bowler, very different from the tame Javagal Srinath and composed Kumble! Also adding drama was the little incident between Pieterson and Sreeshant which turned into an accepted apology (as far as KP was concerned). Loved Pieterson’s attitude there. He’s a class act!

Back to the Potter Mania: much has happened since July 21st. Jo has answered several questions about the futures of the the trio n the different interviews and what not. Check out mugglenet.com. You can’t miss any Potter news if you check mugglenet (with due respects to other Potter-dedicated sites). Also at mugglenet is a transcript of all the questions fans got to ask on live-chat; there were 120000 questions! Can you believe that? Unfortunately (and as one would expect) not all were answered, but I think we can get a good sense of closure. One of the questions I was dying to ask:
– What happened to the charecter who does magic late in life
Fortunately for me, someone else asked that; Jo’s answer: she changed her mind about that. Though, I think that character would have been Dudley!

Meanwhile, amazon search reveals that another Writing book that’s been raved about is Francine Prose’s ‘Reading Like a Writer’.

Can’t wait to get my hands on this!

Ciao for now!


Initial Reactions To Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (with many spoilers)

July 26, 2007

What a ride it was, reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows! Rowling has done an enormous job here. The book was such a page turner.

It has been a lovely experience to be part of the “Potter mania” (as it is called). I’ve never done something like this before: rushing to the bookstore on the day of the release, and opening Chapter 1 right after I paid for it, closing my ears when some people at mentioned the word “Harry Potter”, reading it at 2:30 am, etc. After all the wait, there was a definite treat!

Here are some of my initial thoughts. Plenty of spoilers here, so if you haven’t read Deathly Hallows yet, you may not want to read this (yet).

The book opens with Snape speaking to a Death Eater outside the above of Voldemort. I was surprized to read that: something told me since book 5 that he might really be on the good side. I liked the chapter where Harry leaves Privet Drive; the little exchange with Dudley was added a emotional surprize. I would have liked to see a little bit more conversation between Harry and Petunia Dursley, his aunt, but sadly that was not to be.

Action filled chapters followed with Bill and Fleur’s wedding, until I reached the middle when the trio deciede where to go looking for the horcruxes; Tonks and Lupin’s wedding was a sweet surprize.

It was very nice to read the part about Dumbledore: he comes off now as a rounded charecter, with his own flaws, which make him more real. I liked the fact that Ron leaves the Harry and Hermione and returns a little later, although I felt he returned a little too early. Harry and Hermione’s visit to Godric’s Hollow was a spine-tingling chapter; Bathilda Bagshot was Nagini! No wonder she refused to speak in front of Herminone; no wonder there were constant references to foul smell.

It was heart-wrenching to see Harry’s wand break! The wand that made the Patronuses, the wand that saved him from Voldemort, irrepairably broken. Harry’s internal debate about the Horcruxes vs. the Deathly hallows, his guesses on his ancestry were an emotional roller coaster. I liked how Wormtail’s life debt to Harry was repaid, but it seemed a little hurried. I think there could have been a little more dialogue there; just one sentence and Wormtail yields; it was still sad to see him die.

Moving on the last ten or so chapters were the most heart-wrenching; there were many emotional moments: Dobby’s death, Harry digging his grave, and many more.

Severus Snape: what a admirably complex character! Cold and despicable on one side, but pitiably sad on the other. I loved the little tidbits about Snape and Lily; Lily could have redeemed him from Death-Eaterhood if it weren’t for James. I loved how Harry sees in the Pensieve that Snape had started to care for him (another very emotional moment). I also loved how JKR showed this to us through the Pensieve; having Snape say that to Harry in person would have been too cheesy, unnatural, out-of-charecter and have taken the magic out of that moment. I also admired how JKR established how Harry came to know that he himself is a Horcrux: not from Snape, not from Dubledore, but through their conversation from the past. I wish Snape had lived!

It was the pinnacle of sadness to see Harry walk towards his own death, a very heart-wrenching chapter describes his thoughts and feeling at this horrible hour; he wants to see his friends, he wants to talk to Ginny, but he knows that that would only make it harder; he fears it, yet he is ready to face it, for the greater good, to accomplish what Dumbledore asked of him. How brave of him to return from death (if you choose to interpret it that way), when he had the choice to stay away from the mad life that he has had. In an awe-inspiring “resurrection” chapter, Harry chooses to return to the worldly realm, parallelling Gandalf’s return in Lord of the Rings. Another beautiful emotional touch (and surprize) is added when Narcissa Malfoy declares dead, a very alive Potter after hearing from him that Draco is alive and in the castle! Lovely indeed, JKR!

The chapter about the flaw in Voldemort’s plot with the Elder wand was just Rowling’s most genius chapter! I couldn’t stop saying “wow!”. Harry was the true master of the Elder wand: yet he uses it only to mend his own broken wand and then chooses to return it to where it belongs, where it can do no more harm: in Dumbledore’s grave.

Some things I would have liked to know/to have seen:
– What happens to the Dursleys?
– Did Petunia think Harry was Snape’s son? (she refers to ‘that awful boy’ back in the series)
– what had Dumbledore written in his letters to Petunia
– Why was Teddy Lupin not living with his godfather?
– Who was headmaster at Hogwards after Voldemort’s fall?
– Did happened to Luna and Neville?
– More dialogue between Harry and Hermione
– Snape one last minute with Harry, where he says something to him

I think the most beautiful moment for me, in the book is when Harry has named one of his sons, who inherited Lily’s green eyes, Albus Severus Potter; when the little boy expresses his worry over the possibility of his being placed in Slytherin he says (something to the effect of) “…you have been named after two Hogward’s headmasters, and one of them was the bravest men I have ever seen (referring to Snape) and he was Slytherin. ….If you are placed in there, then Slytherin has gained a good student!”. Way to go Harry!

Albus Severus Potter – that sums it all up for me!


Last Minute Harry Potter Predictions – ** No Spoilers**

July 20, 2007

Yes, the fever is at its peak now, a little under a day left for the release of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”. So I thought I’d make my last minute predictions for the ending. If you are worried about spoilers, no I won’t write about them in this post, primarily because I have no first-hand info, nor do I believe some of the stuff that I accidentally came across on the web.

So, off to business:

1. Will Harry bite the dust?

No, I don’t think so. I think he will live, at least physically, but there will be something that saps the essence of what we know to be Harry Potter. I think this can happen in one of two (if not more) ways:

a) Harry will live, but with the loss of his magical ability. Maybe he will be forced to choose between loss of his magical ability and life at the cost of letting Voldemort live. Maybe he is a horcrux, but the part of him that will survive when he or someone else tries to kill him will be a Harry sans his wizarding abilities; alternately, maybe Harry himself is not a horcrux but looses his magic as he destroys the last one. In this case, Harry loses the happiness of being part of the enviroment that he has loved (the magical world), and will be confined to being a Squib in magical world or a miserably unhappy Muggle.

b) Harry will live with the guilt of murder. (See #2 for more). Taking of the life of someone, even if it is that of one as evil as Voldemort, can leave an indelible scar on “pure souls”; this seems reminiscent of Frodo, who lives on with the guilt of having performed the big “no-no” deed wrt the Ring (in The Lord of the Rings). Will Rowling have gone this way? I think not- its too ‘paralellistic‘ to Tolkien’s ending.

2. How will Voldemort die? (Yeah, I do believe he will die in some way or the other)

a)Harry ‘”Avada Kedavra“‘s him, leading him to a guilty “life after” (as in #1 b)
b) Harry doesn’t use the forbidden spell, but something done by a Death Eater might backfire from Harry’s wand; or he might be inadvertently used in the process of Voldemort’s final fall. Again, many classics have the theme of ‘..evil will shall evil mar’.

3. Is Snape evil?
No, I think he is good, or will turn out to be one in book 7, but it may not be the simple case of him being Dumbledore’s man through and through. He might still have had contact with/conspired with Death Eaters until some point in the series (book 4, 6?)

4. Who won’t make it?
Remember Rowling said something about a blood bath. Here are my guesses:
Hagrid
– Ginny
Buckbeak
Grawp
– One more of the Weasleys (other than Ron)
Dobby
– Lupin or Tonks

That’ll be all for now. Anyway, we will all know tomorrow.


Last Minute Harry Potter Predictions – ** No Spoilers**

July 20, 2007

Yes, the fever is at its peak now, a little under a day left for the release of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”. So I thought I’d make my last minute predictions for the ending. If you are worried about spoilers, no I won’t write about them in this post, primarily because I have no first-hand info, nor do I believe some of the stuff that I accidentally came across on the web.

So, off to business:

1. Will Harry bite the dust?

No, I don’t think so. I think he will live, at least physically, but there will be something that saps the essence of what we know to be Harry Potter. I think this can happen in one of two (if not more) ways:

a) Harry will live, but with the loss of his magical ability. Maybe he will be forced to choose between loss of his magical ability and life at the cost of letting Voldemort live. Maybe he is a horcrux, but the part of him that will survive when he or someone else tries to kill him will be a Harry sans his wizarding abilities; alternately, maybe Harry himself is not a horcrux but looses his magic as he destroys the last one. In this case, Harry loses the happiness of being part of the enviroment that he has loved (the magical world), and will be confined to being a Squib in magical world or a miserably unhappy Muggle.

b) Harry will live with the guilt of murder. (See #2 for more). Taking of the life of someone, even if it is that of one as evil as Voldemort, can leave an indelible scar on “pure souls”; this seems reminiscent of Frodo, who lives on with the guilt of having performed the big “no-no” deed wrt the Ring (in The Lord of the Rings). Will Rowling have gone this way? I think not- its too ‘paralellistic‘ to Tolkien’s ending.

2. How will Voldemort die? (Yeah, I do believe he will die in some way or the other)

a)Harry ‘”Avada Kedavra“‘s him, leading him to a guilty “life after” (as in #1 b)
b) Harry doesn’t use the forbidden spell, but something done by a Death Eater might backfire from Harry’s wand; or he might be inadvertently used in the process of Voldemort’s final fall. Again, many classics have the theme of ‘..evil will shall evil mar’.

3. Is Snape evil?
No, I think he is good, or will turn out to be one in book 7, but it may not be the simple case of him being Dumbledore’s man through and through. He might still have had contact with/conspired with Death Eaters until some point in the series (book 4, 6?)

4. Who won’t make it?
Remember Rowling said something about a blood bath. Here are my guesses:
Hagrid
– Ginny
Buckbeak
Grawp
– One more of the Weasleys (other than Ron)
Dobby
– Lupin or Tonks

That’ll be all for now. Anyway, we will all know tomorrow.