Friday, June 7, 2013

HP Readalong ~ Deathly Hallows 20-28


Hi everyone!  Long time no see!  Since we last met, I have moved 1700 miles away, missed BEA, and barely managed to finish this week’s reading.  Oh, I also wrote my entire post for this week and then Blogger lost the entire thing except for one gif.  Thanks, Blogger.  I’m going to try to piece it back together (in WORD this time, and then cut and paste), but I’m rushing now because I’m expecting my movers to show up soon, so this will probably not be my best post ever.  Oh well.  Happy Harry Potter Day!

So, to sum up this week:
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Dobby freaking dies.  DIES.  WTF.  This is quite possibly one of the saddest deaths in the series except maybe for Hedwig, who reminds me of my cat, or Sirius, who was Harry’s last chance for a parent.  All Dobby wanted was to help Harry Potter and be free, which is pretty much what everybody wants, and he dies for it, which just sends a terrible message to all the other house elves out there.  I do have to say that I really respect Harry’s decision to manually dig Dobby’s grave, and the implicit acknowledgment that magic can be impersonal and even inhuman.  Dobby’s purpose in life was manual labor, and it is only fitting that somebody should do such work for him.

For another WTF moment, Luna is captured by the Death Eaters?  Whaaaat?!  That is the worst, if only because if given the chance, Luna would totally sit down and politely listen to Voldemort tell his tale and then through one off-the-cuff phrase, would make him see inside himself and become an actual good person.  But no, she’s just thrown in a dark basement with a rather creepy old man and we never even get to hear her story.  That is the poopy.  At least the Three save her so that she can continue to spread the word about Crumple-Horned Snorkacks and generally be awesome.  I don’t blame Xenophilius at all for what he did to Harry, et al., to try and save her.  When he shrieks, I must save Luna.  I cannot lose Luna, my heart just breaks for this little, eccentric man who has already lost his wife and fears he will lose his only child as well.  It’s only right that he would do anything to get her back, and I’m just glad that Hermione is brilliant enough to get them out of there (though isn’t it unlikely that they’d be able to Apparate out of his house what with common magical protection? But shh, that’s not the point).

Speaking of Malfoy Manor, let’s talk about how interesting Draco’s character is in this section.  Last time we saw him, he was lowering his wand rather than murdering Dumbledore, though it’s hard to know if this was him changing his mind or just cowardice.  Earlier in that book, Harry hit him with some powerful Dark magic, so it’s pretty safe to assume that no matter what, his feelings towards Harry haven’t changed at all.  However, when given the opportunity to turn Harry over to the Dark Lord and earn back his family’s respect and honor, Draco waffles.  The choice between power and humanity is not as easy as Draco one thought it was, nor is Voldemort as great as his father always said.  Draco’s struggle is very likely the thing that saves Harry, who he seems to see suddenly as a classmate, not an enemy.  I love the complexity underlying this seemingly simple character, who I never really thought about until the sixth movie came out and we saw that he had real feelings.

Since this post is all about characters and not so much about events, I’m going to talk about Fleur.  She’s a pretty minor character in this book, but I love how much she has matured.  She is efficient and helpful, and not at all obnoxious, wanting to protect rather than reach for glory despite dangers, which is how we first met her.  The change in her character started the moment that she saw Bill’s face and decided to marry him anyway, and I’m glad that the change held true for her.  It is disappointing though that she has simply turned into a housewife, with no other apparent way to define herself, a lot like Mrs. Weasley.

A quick note about the invasion of Gringotts: I find these scenes to be a little hard to believe.  There are way too many moving parts for Harry to keep track of and it’s pretty unlikely that they would have even made it into the building, with or without Griphook.  I do really enjoy it though, especially at the end when the dragon blazes an exit for them.  The mass destruction of old and revered wizarding establishments in this book is really powerful, showing the cost of fighting back and also of being stuck in the past.  Who knows, maybe during reconstruction, the goblins of Gringotts will get some calculators.  One can only hope.

Only one more week!!

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19 comments:

  1. I thought with regular wizard houses, you can apparate OUT but you can't apparate IN. Right? That would make sense. Or maybe, ooh, maybe only the owners of the house can apparate in. Because otherwise, like, that would be making a really convenient perk of being a wizard much less convenient.

    Re Fleur: We don't really know that she's become a housewife, though, do we? She and Bill are both hanging out at Shell Cottage because they're in hiding. We don't know what either of them do for work after the war is over.

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    1. That's true, we don't know for sure what Fleur's up too, but all we SEE is the housewifery. At least Bill does some of the dishes too.

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    2. Wasn't Fleur working at Gringotts when she met Bill? So maybe once the war ends she'll go back to working there. I hope so. I never quite get why Mrs. Weasley doesn't work, since her kids are all off at school and taking care of a house isn't at all a full time job when you have magic at your disposal.

      Sometimes I like to think that she sells the eggs they get from their chickens at a local farmers market or something... IDK.

      Also, good point about Bill helping with dishes and such. I never once got the impression that Mr. Weasley did anything to help around the house, except make dangerous flying cars in the shed.

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    3. Good point about Bill helping out with household stuff; it bothers me that Mr. Weasley doesn't ever seem to help out with anything at home. Except for building illegal flying cars in the shed, etc.

      I don't get why Mrs. Weasley doesn't work, since her kids are off at school and taking care of a house isn't at all a full time job when you have magic at your disposal. But I guess maybe she takes the eggs from their chickens to the farmer market or something? Ehh.


      PS I tried to submit a comment earlier and it deleted it, so apologies if this shows up twice!

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  2. "Dobby’s purpose in life was manual labour, and it is only fitting that somebody should do such work for him" -- I always connected the non-magic digging as being more personal but this is amazing and holy crap just makes it infinitely more sad. 'scuse me, got to go cry now.

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  3. I thought Fleur worked at the bank? But pretty much no one goes to work now, because it's too scary out there w/ Death Eaters ruling everything. And not that there's anything wrong with being a housewife, cause I totally would. But yeah, I'm glad she turned into a likable character.


    Draco is such a tough character. I just can't forgive him for being such a horrible little bastard in all the other books, but I'm glad that he seems to have a distaste for Voldemort's reign and isn't rushing to crucify HP just to save himself.

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    1. I think I said that wrong. I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with being a housewife, it just didn't seem like the path of a Triwizard Champion AND it is all we really see of Fleur. She doesn't, I don't know, read book or do crosswords or say interesting things. She just does dishes and tends to the injured, and I always thought there was more to her than that. She did work at Gringotts, but she said that that was part-time and just for her English. I always assumed that it was temporary and over at this point, but I could be wrong.

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  4. BOO to blogger for losing your post, but I have to say that this one is pretty kick-ass.

    You said much more coherently than I did all of my feelings about Draco in this book. And it's all the more important because his family's life is at stake when he doesn't confirm that it's Harry Potter in front of them. I don't blame Xeno one bit for wanting to give up Harry to save his daughter, but juxtapose his actions with Draco in this book and it's pretty clear that Draco has come leaps and bounds from where we met him in Madame Malkin's back in Book 1.

    Your insight about Harry's digging the grave by hand as a subtext for honoring Dobby's manual labor? That's just brilliant.

    Good luck with all of the moving hassles. Where do you live now?

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    1. Aw, thanks!

      I'm living in Austin, TX now! I love it here already. Now to get a job...

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    2. Austin? Cool city. Check out Book People if you've not already done so!

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    3. I've read about it but haven't been there yet. Thanks for the reminder!!

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  5. You have been so busy! I hope all went well with your move though I am sad it meant you could not join us for our BEA Tailgating.

    "Dobby’s purpose in life was manual labor, and it is only fitting that somebody should do such work for him" I did not think of this but now that you pointed it out, I think I'm going to go and cry some more.

    The Xeno scenes are so heartbreaking and you are SO RIGHT about Luna turning Voldie around with a single sentence because that is her power.

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    1. Luna should be a therapist. Yet another thing that the wizarding world needs.

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  6. I feel like the Draco thing is more that he still doesn't necessarily like Harry, but now that he's seen the full force of what Voldemort can do, he's reluctant to be responsible for submitting ANYONE to that, even Harry. Which is kind of really nice? And then there's the bit earlier in the book where Harry saw Draco being all scared and felt bad for him, and it's like AH! Our boys are growing up.

    I would love to hear Luna's story and also to see her having a chat with Voldemort. That would be awesome.

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    1. Yeah, the changed dynamic between Harry and Malfoy is interesting and satisfying on both sides. They no longer hate one another on principle, which suggests that their principles are becoming more in line.

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  7. Luna is amazing. I love that Olivander was so sad to leave her. Man, I would like to hear some of the conversations they had. With Luna's ability to accept fantastical things and Olivander's knowledge of wand lore, dang, is all I can say.

    Yes and double yes to your thoughts on Dobby and Draco.

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    1. Oooh, the conversation between Luna and Ollivander WOULD be interesting!! Never thought about that before...

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  8. Oh god, Luna as V-mort's therapist. I'm dying.

    I never really appreciated how much she contributes to Harry's well-being until this readalong. I thought she was a Colin-Creevey-esque throw-away character but with more lines. I WAS SO WRONG. Never change, Luna.

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