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mrs. norman maine

I just finished it this morning. I need to let it simmer, but I'll say that the ending feels horribly fragmented and unsatisfying. The last few books have increasingly raised questions in their final chapters in order to bridge one to another, but this one was downright frustrating. It's not as if we're going to find out what happened to Little Nell in next week's edition!

The final chapters are also almost unbearably sad. I dread reading them to my kids, but then again they weren't that fussed when Sirius Black handed in his dinner pail. (Neither was I, frankly. He never had my heart the way Lupin does.)

Speaking of Lupin, he finally gets a few crumbs of happiness, bless him.

I'd be curious to see if Violet still has faith in Snape. I do. I don't know why, but I do. I believe he was just following orders. Yeah, yeah, so were the Nazis....but I think they were Dumbledore's orders, to save Malfoy's soul.

And who is R.A.B.?

Linkmeister

I finished it yesterday. I went to a Friday night opening and discovered very few if any little kids, but a fair number of teens. I took a few pictures of the crowd, but decided I didn't want to stick around till 1:00 am; I went back Saturday morning to get my copy.

I don't think I agree about the ending. This was the first real cliffhanger among the six, and it seemed right to me. It's not Watson finding Holmes' cloak and staff above the Reichenbach Falls, but it made sense (and that's all I'm gonna say about that till more folks have read it).

mrs. norman maine

Oh, say them! People should know better than to click on the comments section of a Harry Potter post if they haven't finished. They should know better than to be doing anything else than finishing, for that matter. I had a self-imposed media blackout over the weekend because I couldn't get to the mailbox until Sunday. (That Cape Cod father who deprived his son of the book until midnight Saturday is a bit of a prat, if you ask me. I'd even go so far as to him a git.)

Anyway, for anyone who has read through the ending and is pondering all those hanging threads, a friend writes this (warning: it's a bit long, even by my standards) about the initials on the parchment in the locket:

******************************************
As for the identity of R.A.B., my theory is that it's Regulus Black. It is based on nothing more but a general hunch based on the way JK writes. In OOTP, when everyone is cleaning the drawing room, a point is made by Sirius of his brother's name remaining on the family tree tapestry, and Sirius comments about his death: (OOTP pg. 112)

"No, he was murdered by Voldemort. Or on Voldemort's orders, more likely. I doubt Regulus was ever important enough to be killed by Voldemort in person. From what I found out after he died, he got in so far, then panicked about what he was being asked to do and tried to back out. Well, you don't just hand in your resignation to Voldemort. It's a lifetime of service or death."

(OOTP pg. 116)" There was a musical box that emitted a fainly sinister, tinkling tune when wound, and the all found themselves becoming curiously weak and sleepy until Ginny had the sense to slam the lid shut; also a heavy locket that none of them could open...."

So, based on those bits of information, I'm theorizing that Regulus is R.A.B., that he retrived the real locket Horcrux (the heavy locket no one could open). The horcrux is, and may still be at 12 Grimmauld Place if Mundungus Fletcher hasn't stolen it. In fact, I think in book 7, it's possible that we find that Regulus had been on a quest for the Horcruxes, and perhaps more than one of them is still hidden inside 12 Grimmauld Place, which now belongs to Harry.

Some fans are saying that R.A.B. being Regulus is way too obvious, and it wouldn't be like J.K.R. to hand us something so easily. I contend that the identity of R.A.B. is a minor detail, therefore J.K. planted that information as a "gimme".

Violet Mannion

I do not trust Snape any longer, and to tell the truth, I never actually trusted him, but thought of him as simply a tough, strict teacher whom I did not like. It gave me a shock when, well..... you-know-who (not voldemort) killed.. er.... you-know-who (again, not voldie) I have 3 theories. I know the second is correct but the first and last can't coincide with eachother, if my usage of this word is indeed correct.

1- snape is truly evil
2- he had to anyway, because if malfoy didn't, snape had to or he would have died thanks to the unbreakable vow.
3- dumbledore asked snape through legimency to... do it, and that's what he was begging for, not begging for snape to save him.

I think that at that moment in time, he wanted to die, and wanted to show harry that... well, he sort of pulled an obi-wan-kenobi, and he froze harry so that he'd have to watch and wouldn't interfere. anyhow, he wanted to show harry that there is a sort of... er... "life" (i can't find the right word) after death (much in the sence of the force.)

Also- i was DEVISTATED when Sirius died!!!!!!! He was my all-time favorite character, and I suppose that my strong hope he'll reappear helps to persuade me that R.A.B. is, indeed, Regulus Black: *the locket that could not be opened
*the initials and, also;
*the fact that he wrote "dark lord".

I don't know what someone such as... mcgonagall would have written, but I also do not think that she would have dared to do what..... Regulus.... dumbledore, and harry did.
I think that maybe somethign like this happened-
Regulus backed out of something, perhaps a murder or maybe invading Hogwarts- whatever it was doesn't matter;
then, Voldemort sent death eaters after him to kill him. Regulus found out, and, in a sort of revenge or whatever, set out to find and destroy the Horcruxes.

On Dumbledore:
I wasn't really shocked when Dumbledore... died... as I had been expecting it. I was, however, surprised that it was Snape's doing. I suspected for about a chapter that Snape was the half blood prince, but the book's copyright was 50 yeaqrs ago- too long. I expect that means it was a handmedown from his mom.

also- i found it extremely revolting that Greyback actually bit people when he was in his human form. Disgusting. That borders on canibalism. Ick. Revolting!!

I was more worried (than I was about Dumbledore) when Malfoy said that he'd stepped over a body, and I was hoping so sooo much that it was someone such as Kingsley Shacklebolt, rather than Tonks, or, dare I say it, Lupin. (thankfully, it turned out to be Bill, and again, more thankfully, he wasn't dead)

I went to the midnight release as well and had LOADS of fun. I finished it Sunday night.
***and sorry if my post is too long.***

mrs. norman maine

Violet, what great observations! And a post can't be too long as far as I'm concerned, and I would think Uncle Lance would agree. (Warning: more spoilers in here):

As for your theories 1-3, as you know I am pondering #1, but just think there's more to the story then we know yet.

On #s 2 and 3 -- Do you think it's possible that this was an arrangement Snape and Dumbledore made previously, and knowing what Malfoy's actual mission was. That maybe Dumbledore would have to die for Malfoy's sins, as it were? And Snape would have to suffer for them?

Speaking of crucifixion themes, I'm wondering if you saw any similarities between Dumbledore's funeral and the ceremonial murder of Aslan in "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardobe?" Maybe you haven't read it, but I have a feeling you might very well have.

Unfortunately, Dumbledore wasn't resurrected, as far as we know. Even with Fawkes' song of mourning, which gave me some hope that Dumbledore would have a phoenix-like experience.

I have to ponder the rest of your thoughts later, because I have to pretend I'm working. Be glad you don't have to pretend to work for several more years ;-)

carla

I haven't read the book yet..and I skimmed through what appears to be giveaways to the plot. I won't start reading it for a few more days as I'm finishing a different book. And because I had to wait for both of my own kids to finish.

We attended the Harry Potter book release party at our local megaplex blue bookstore, Barnes and Noble. (The local bookstore, Powell's, is infamous here and I knew it was going to be worse for the crowds). We stayed for an hour. We'd preordered our copy of HPVI and decided it wasn't worth our while to stand in line for 2 hours to get a wristband to buy the book. It was by our estimation a mediocre event.

A few words on Rowling's role in getting kids to read: For mine, she was the starting point. My eldest has always been a reader. But 4th grade is when he really sorted it out properly and took off. The impetus was "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone". Since then he's read the LOTR trilogy + The Hobbit (in 6th grade) and is now on to more adult reading level science fiction/fantasy: Tom Clancy, Robert Jordan, David Eddings and so on. He's entering high school this Fall able to read and understand college level material.

My youngest starts 7th grade in the Fall. Harry Potter turned her on to reading away from short chapter books and into the longer, more intense world created by Rowling. But she's more interested long term in Meg Cabot (The Princess Diaries) that aren't as long or demanding.

I guess in all it's a mixed bag (and not just a few words, oh well). I'm just grateful to Rowling for sparking my kids in a way.

burritoboy

When I was a kid, my reading consisted of:

6-12:
1. old Doc Savage novels my parents had found abandoned somewhere.
2. my mom's collection of Agatha Christie's
3. Oz books (there are over 30 of them, by the way)
4. Sherlock Holmes
5. D&D material
12-14:
1. regretably, I got hooked on L. Ron Hubbard's sci-fi fiction!
2. architecture books
3. my parent's Dostoevsky/Gogol/Turgenev/Checkov translations
4. travelogues
14-18
1. Raymond Chandler
2. philosophy
3. more architecture books
4. political theory
5. Herman Melville and Proust

God, I was a really weird kid.

Violet Mannion

Agatha Christie books are great. I had to read one for school, and after got another out of the library by choice. Harry Potter is still, most definately, my favorite. I am about to begin "Gone with the Wind", but of corse, I just had to read Harry Potter first.

Violet Mannion

Also- **spiolers**

I don't think Dumbledore is gone for good. He may not be alive 100% in book 7, but I think that he will come back in some way or another. I am hoping the same goes for Sirius, though that is more doubtful. I don't think Harry will go back to Hogwarts, either, as he has to find four horcruxes and destroy them all. Plus fight Voldemort himself. It is very hard to tell whether Severus Snape is truly evil or is following orders. I also meant to add something about Malfoy in one of the other posts that I made:
He's too nice. Not nice, exactly, but I don't think that he will actually be a death-eater to the point where, well.... I think he will be "nicer" than the rest, or come to the "better" side at the last minute. Judging by the way he was so hesitant on killing Dumbledore. If he did not have Lucius and Narcissa (but especially Lucius) as parents, I don't think that he would be as..... mean and evil. I think it is almost purely from his background, as is with most dark wizads, but it really shows through in Draco.

coturnix

I have read it on Sunday and liked it very much. In a way, I am glad that I guessed correctly on my blog - and for the right reasons - who was going to die.

I also love Lemony Snicket, but Hardy Boys are cheap carboard characters compared to The Three Investigators. T3I rock!

Anne Laurie

Joel Garreau had an interesting, if overwrought, outlook piece in Sunday's Washington Post online edition, claiming that Harry Potter is the Bob Dylan of the new generation -- the kids who've read & adored JKR's books from the start, who are now in high school or entering college. I can't argue convincingly on the topic, since I still haven't gotten around to reading any Harry Potter... yes, I intend to, one of these days; my husband has copies of the first five (the British editions) and enjoyed them all. Although I will say that there may have been more teenage girls than boys at the midnight Potter-mania event because teenage boys are, shall we say, more inhibited about being seen in public enjoying what is still presented as "a kid's book". The Boston news channels covered the bookstore parties on Friday, and the crowds they filmed seemed to break pretty evenly between males & females, but there were more very young (est. age 4-8) girls & no teenage boys at all given a chance to speak on camera. I assumed the news crews would have tried for "balance" & they either couldn't find teenage boys, or they couldn't get them to talk on-camera.

When I was 12, my two favorite writers in the universe were Andre Norton and Arthur Conan Doyle. I hope kids still read Norton, because she created some of the best smart, flawed, REAL teenage protagonists I've ever run across. Books like NIGHT OF MASKS and BEAST MASTER and THE X FACTOR and DAYBREAK 2250 A.D. were not only gripping tales of fantasy & adventure -- they reassured me that other people had been young & sensitive & vulnerable and not only survived but prevailed. Which, of course, may have something to do with the popularity of Harry Potter among kids today...

The Heretik

Books change lives, whether we read them together or alone. Read together, books make a bond between readers immediately. Books read alone, when revealed to another, reveal who we are in the words of another.

grishaxxx

I got my copy in Saturday's mail (with the same packaging and warnings), but the magic hour had passed and I could rip it open with a clear conscience. Finished it last night. My own hunch that R.A.B. is Sirius's brother seems to be the general opinion among the knowledgeable (more knowledgeable than me, at any rate!!). What intrigues me now is what's going to happen re 12 Grimmauld Place. That should be interesting.

I think Lance is right about the confluence of this series and the rise of the giant reader-friendly bookstores. B&N even has comfy chairs. I miss the small bookstores of my youth in Chicago - the academic ones in Hyde Park, and Stuart Brent downtown (which was beautifully comfy, and you could talk to Stuart). Small World Books on the Venice boardwalk was (and I hope still is) a terrific literary bookstore, with a peerless mystery section, author meetups and readings - don't let the beach location fool anyone.
And here in Portland there's Powell's - "City of Books" is entirely apt. More on that some other time.
What was I reading at the same age as the Potter Kids? Oy, that's a tough one - all over the map. I loved mythology - Greek, Norse, Native American, Arthurian, whatever I could find, and it was often by accident. Astronomy. Archaeology (there was some cross-fertilization there). There was a cave-boy period. Geography and exploration. Physical sciences (I was not much of a bio guy for some reason - maybe it was Mom nagging me to become a doctor...which did not happen). History was pretty good, as long as it happened in foreign places - Russia, China, not the Old West. I loved Uncle Scrooge - HE went after the Philosopher's Stone decades before Harry. Later on, I was quite a good fit with Indy.
My cousin, on a visit, pressed some Arthur C. Clarke on me and that was, over time, very fruitful. My 5th grade teacher read us Tolkien and C.S. Lewis (and tons more) and those certainly set me off. That was a particularly wonderful experience; the whole class was involved in the books, Ms. S. invited feedback (and acted on recommendations, from time to time). A firm rule, however, was that you couldn't read along with her - go ahead and read the current title at home, if you wanted to, but listening was a communal experience, and she was rock-solid on that. I still think a wise strategy - we all bonded over those books.
A little older, everyone wanted to read 1984 and Brave New World - sex! Yay!! And, of course, we all did.

Need to stop somewhere. I want to add that JKR did a crack job of writing from a boy's POV about the impulse to snog - she kept it clean, of necessity, but I think she nailed us. I'd be interested in knowing what all those girl readers think about that.

sjgould

No spoilers here!
My daughter turns 10 soon, and I've been pre-reading the HP books for her sake -- especially after #4 (I thought the ending was too grisly for her, so I TOLD her my version -- she was none too happy). My main complaint about JKR is we often have been "hostage" to her learning curve as she navigates the story arc. Too much recap, a bit clumsy at times. H-BP sheds much of this I think, and serves as transition to the Big One. 652 pages is practically a relief! There's plenty to keep readers like Violet churning out the possibilities and I am more than glad to step aside and let my 'Pooky' read it -- when she gets back from camp, of course. Any guesses as to how long #7 will be?

Sydney

A suggestion for harry potter lovers. I think Madeline L'Engel's "A Wrinkle in Time" series is one of the most brilliant fantasy series written.... ever. I also love HP and the sophistication of the writing, even though they're "children's books", is astonishing in both series. So if you like HP, you'll probably like her.

Violet Mannion

JK Rowling said that she's pretty sure it would be shorter than Order of the Pheonix. I was dissapointed. Call me crazy.

Also- I was thinking about trying that series. I really reccomend, personally, Inkheart, by Cornelia Funke. Charlie Bone books are alright as well, as I tried one when my younger sister said they were good (so yes, they're a bit below my level). They're alright, but I felt I noticed a lot of stolen bits and pieces of Harry Potter. As an example, one book has a snake on the cover, and is called Charlie Bone and the Invisible Boy. One of Charlie's distinctive features, as well, is his thick hair. They're alright, anyhow (for fans of HP). I also liked the Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy. Oh, and I loved, almost as much as Inkheart, The Golden Compass. The Subtle Knife (the second) is good as well, but the third is definately not half as good, I thought.

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