Wow. Holy Cow. Yes, that was a satisfying book. One of the best books I've read. Yes, Harry became a man. With that said, we shall commence to the spoilers, shall we?
Like Liz, I feel pretty good about my predictions. But how they were done, well... That made the book Great. The scenes that especially hit me: Snape showing Dumbledore his Patronus. Harry Potter with his parents and Lupin and Sirius, walking with them to his death. Harry explaining to his son Albus Severus that he was named after a headmaster from Slytherin, probably the bravest man he ever knew.
I was completely shocked that a piece of Voldemort's soul was in Harry. It was a very good reason for him to have to die, which I hadn't really believed in before, because no such reason had existed. Well, apart from all the stuff about the greater magic of love and sacrifice, which I'll admit foreshadowed it quite a bit. Even that, though, wasn't enough. Sacrifice without reason is just masochism. There's always a reason behind the great sacrifices, whether it's Harry's mother dying for him or Christ dying on the cross for us. It Accomplishes something. Anyway, I'm a little ticked that there was so much speculation about his death. What business do people have predicting the death of the main character? Don't they know how freaking rare that is?! I am, of course, ticked because I would have been even more shocked if it hadn't been for all that speculation.
As for his return to the land of the living, I did say that I thought he would be alive at the end of the book, but I'll admit my belief faltered a bit once I really expected him to die. I'm not sure how much it faltered. I would say the return was cheap, except, well, all of that stuff, all that explanation, everything's been set up since day one. We always knew this was the deeper magic, and that Voldemort would never understand it, and it would defeat him in the end. One's reminded of Aslan's explanation to Susan and Lucy of the Deeper Magic. And, that, of course, makes it not cheap at all, but the only way that any True story can ever end.
I'm glad Neville had a part in Voldemort's downfall! Especially because if Harry's plan had gone the way he had expected, he would have needed people to carry on, to kill the snake and then Voldemort. And why not? Harry did what the others could not, and then it would be their turn. But I'm glad Harry came back. (= And I'm glad Neville killed the snake before he knew it.
I'm also glad I forgot that I knew Snape was going to die (Joi mentioned at some point in the afternoon that Snape was Liz' favorite character, and later Liz arrived and mentioned that her favorite character dies. The two of you really were a bit excessively chatty last week...). It wasn't really a surprise, with people dropping like flies. But I did expect Snape to be vindicated before he died, not after. Poor Snape. But that made his story all the more tragic, and his story couldn't help but be a tragedy.
The fact that people were dropping like flies was so expected I'm surprised people bothered to bring it up. It's only really surprising when it's people like Fred or Lupin, and you expect even a few people like them to die in battle. But since people bothered to bring it up, I thought there would be more people like them dying. Not that I'm complaining. Makes me feel a bit cold-hearted that more of the deaths didn't hit me that strongly, but... ::shrug::
Some favorite moments:
“‘Death’s got an Invisibility Cloak?’ Harry interrupted again.
‘So he can sneak up on people,’ said Ron. ‘Sometimes he gets bored of running at them, flapping his arms and shrieking…sorry, Hermione.’”
“‘You trust him…you do not trust me.’” –Snape to Dumbledore about Harry
I like that Harry and Snape both suspected Dumbledore of this, that they were both unnecessarily jealous of his trust.
“‘He accepts that he must die, and understands that there are far, far worse things in the living world than dying.’” –Dumbledore to Harry about the "Master of Death"
When he said that before, I thought he meant that killing someone is not the most evil thing you can do, which is true, although it’s often treated like the worst evil in these books (don't want to scar the younger kids reading them). But it seemed like an odd thing to want to point out to Voldemort. What he meant, though, is really about the victim’s choices. And he’s right, Voldemort doesn’t understand, because the thing Voldemort fears above all is death. He underestimates the heroes because he thinks they would fear it above all too, and that once they’ve died he has won.
“‘Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?’” –Dumbledore
“‘You mean he was weak!’ screamed Voldemort. ‘Too weak to dare, too weak to take what might have been his, what will be mine!’”
All of a sudden I’m strongly reminded of a certain witch standing in a garden in Narnia, eating the fruit.
And that's all I have to say about that. At least on here, for now. Perhaps it is time to give Joi a call...