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Saturday, July 21, 2007

If I squeeze you too hard, God knows I'll break you

Well, it's over. I have finished the last Harry Potter book. I waited at the bookstore for hours last night with Fisher and a few other adults, but mostly a bunch of kids. Yes, I felt a little bit geeky, but I gave up any pretensions of being cool long ago.

It took me eight hours to finish it. I am not going to give away plot details here, but if you do not want to read anything about the book, STOP RIGHT NOW. This is especially important if you have talked to me about theories, because I am going to discuss my reaction to the book.

I mean it.

Since you're still here, I'm going to assume that you are taking on responsibility for not being spoiled. In fact, if you're worried about learning the ending, I'd advise you to stay off the Internet until you've finished the book.

I've been a fan for years now. One of those weirdo fans who searches for clues and is openly mocked, even by friends. I've had theories for years and have scoured the earlier books, looking for hints to the ending. So I wasn't really caught up in the recent backlash against the New York Times when the paper printed an early review of the book. I already had a pretty good sense of what would happen. The only thing I learned from the review was what the Deathly Hallows were, and this wasn't a huge blow.

But I definitely had my theories, and I knew that today it would all be over. I resisted the temptation to jump to the back of the book. I admit: I did look at some early spoilers, but I found them very unsatisfying. There were lists of characters who would die, but all of the lists were different, so there was no way to know which was right. In any case, the list does no good to anyone who likes to read: what's important is how the death moves the plot along. I had a list in my head anyway, and I was reasonably certain that I was right, based on clues in the earlier books.

Well, I was right about many things, but incredibly wrong about one of the biggest issues that has been batted around ever since book six. Actually, when book six came out, there were five big questions:

  1. Who is RAB?
  2. Is Dumbledore really dead?
  3. Is Snape evil?
  4. Is Harry a Horcrux?
  5. What's the last Horcrux, and where is it?
I was convinced that I knew the answers to all five questions. It turns out that I got four out of five right. Well, to be totally honest, I wasn't convinced on one of the questions. I was reasonably certain, though, and with this one, I think that's as far as anyone could have gone. My geekiness has paid off. Yes, there was a gleam of triumph in my eye as each secret was revealed.

However, I got the ending wrong. Through years of study, I had worked out the pattern the books were taking, and had a general sense of how it MUST end and how it would have to happen. I solidified this into a theory of how the climactic scene would end. If I do say so myself, it was a pretty good theory that strung together several of the loose ends that had never been really explained but that I was reasonably sure I had figured out.

Unfortunately, I was wrong. Not about the pattern or the loose ends or how the end would come, but my theory about the scene was wrong. This is hard to take, because I was very sure. It is related to my error from the five big questions: I was so sure about that one that I got the ending wrong. Yes, I am a bit annoyed with myself.

I also got the list of deaths wrong. I had used clues to work out a list of people who would die, and I was very close, but missed a few and guessed a few others incorrectly. This is sort of spoilery, so if you want to see my list, highlight the space below. I repeat: this is NOT a list of the people who actually die, it is the list of people I thought would die.

Voldemort: Duh.
Snape: I had an elaborate theory about how this would happen.
Lupin: I thought that all of the Marauders would be dead at the end of the series.
Wormtail: He has to repay his life debt to Harry.
At least one of the Weasleys, with my money on Ginny: There are so many of them that it seemed at least one of them had to go, and I thought Ginny was the logical choice because she's Harry's girlfriend and because of a clue in book five.
Draco: I thought he would run away from the Death Eaters and be killed.
Hagrid: It just seemed like Hagrid's time to go.

And now it's all over. No more theories and no more clues. I'm not sure how to feel.


Cin said...

I know what you mean. Sigh.


I was wrong about many things (I thought there was no way Harry could be a Horcrux and I thought Ginny was a goner), but I was right as to why Dumbledore trusted Snape, and why Snape hated Harry, yet protected him fiercely. I knew only unrequited love of Lily could have caused that. We discussed this on the phone on Friday, Megan.

There's only one death I am upset about, and that is Tonks. WHAT was the mother of a newborn baby doing in the final battle? Did she love Remus and Teddy so little that she would abondon the baby and go running after her husband?

I love my husband enough to die for him. I love him more because I am willing to live for him, so his kids will always have a parent. I'm married to a Naval officer; believe me, I've thought about this.

And did you notice the genders and spacing of Harry's kids, Megan? Sound like a Muggle family you know? ;-)