Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
I'd just like to preface this with the fact that I liked the book and found it really entertaining. This'll be somewhat incoherent, but I'll try to put it together.
On the incoherent side of things, Jesus god Neville. Neville continues to be a brilliant badass who I really really like. I will also say that Neville is vastly more successful than Harry in some ways: while Neville has his own set of problems, Neville does not end up being found by his enemies six times throughout the book, which Harry does.
While I liked the book, it also showed how clunky JKR's characterization tends to be at times. Both the Dumbledore background and the Snape background are...well, huge infodumps. Though I will give the Snape background that we only had to hear it once, rather than six times.
Even though I found Dumbledore's story interesting, I was tired of it by the last time that we heard it. Yes, you were an asshole. We know. You feel bad. Get over it; you're dead. On the other hand, getting to see Aberforth say "my brother sucks, you know why?" was sort of neat. We've always seen that Dumbledore was manipulating Harry to do stuff; finally someone is calling him on it.
On that subject, ow for poor Snape. I can't imagine how it must have hurt to be convinced to make protecting Harry his whole life and then be told it was so that Harry could die at a time that Dumbledore chose. Seriously, Albus, way to be a jackass. I cried over Snape and no one else in this book, sad to say. I thought the whole BY THE WAY, THIS IS SNAPE'S TRAGIC PAST was a bit like a brick to the head - badly done - but it was sweet and horrible to see his friendship with Lily fall apart.
To explicate the crying about Snape and no one else...I thought the deaths in this book were done badly. It might be because I rushed through it, but Fred's death was...sad but I really didn't care all that much? And the offscreen deaths seemed too rushed, as well as my questioning why Remus and Tonks have to die. I didn't feel too emotionally attached to them...I know Remus' upset is supposed to evoke sympathy, but given the circumstances, in which the Wizarding world is falling apart and no one is safe, his moaning about his child being a werewolf seems a little ill-timed, and either juvenile or as the only way he can avoid thinking about current events.
Moreover, I expected this book, at least, to get into the idea that Not All Slytherins Are Bad. Now, okay, Narcissa saved Harry's life by not revealing that he was alive, and Slughorn was helping out in the Battle of Hogwarts, but really. And of course there is Snape, who was a Good Slytherin, but Snape has his own whole backstory that removes him from a good position to show that Slytherins can be good people. (In good part because it means rejecting all the friends he made, who we are told were Death Eaters.) I mean, Pansy Parkinson says to get Harry and everyone is united against her...except the members of the Evil House, Slytherin.
It probably doesn't sound like I liked the book - I really did. It was a great ride and flowed quickly; I didn't want to stop reading it. Neville was badass, Luna was wonderful. Molly impressed the crap out of me at the end. It was good to see, in a way, that Dumbledore was human, not perfect, and that that was okay, ultimately. Overall, it's not a great book, but it's entertaining, and that's all I expected from it.
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