End Of Harry Potter [Paperback] by Langford, David Paperback – May 10 2007
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It should be obvious that I'm getting my geek on. With Book 7 coming out in less than three months, and having reread all the books, I found myself craving something "Potter". I don't care much for discussion forums because an awful lot of ridiculous theories get mixed in with intelligent discussion, so I thought this would be fun.
The author, David Langford, is a 27-time Hugo Award winner. Those are impressive credentials. He's a very bright, funny guy, and knows the Potterverse well enough to be a more than able guide. Some theories I'd seen, others I'd thought of, but he did manage, more than once, to slip something in that took me by surprise. For example, when discussing Dumbledore's trust of Snape, he opined that perhaps Dumbledore does NOT trust Snape in the way we think he does. He discusses Rowling's ability to fool us in depth, like a magician waving a rabbit in front of our faces but convincing us that we can't see it. She's a master at that. What other kind of trust might Dumbledore have? He might trust that Severus Snape will do exactly as he expects him to, play the part Dumbledore wants for him, and go back to Voldemort's side. So, when he says that he trusts Severus completely, he's saying that he trusts him to be untrustworthy.
I'm not sure that I believe that, but it was a new thought, a very valid one, and made me sit up and pay more attention.
If you're tired of discussion forums, this is a terrific place to turn.
One aspect of THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX I missed was the linkage of Rowling's life and the symbolism of Umbridge's actions. As a single parent living in poverty, Rowling was confronted with well-meaning but overly bureaucratic social workers. Umbridge's character emerged from Rowling's experience with social workers. An extremely important and eye-opening article that Langford cites is Benjamin Barton's article entitled 'Harry Potter and the Half-Crazed Bureaucracy' in THE MICHIGAN LAW REVIEW volume 104, May 2006. I teach a course in community organization and will require my students read Barton's work. The contents will help social work students understand the impact of their actions on clients' capacity to succeed.
I can make two points that will help a person decide whether to read THE END OF HARRY POTTER?. First, if you read this review after the publication of THE DEATHLY HOLLOWS, you're too late. The central theme within Langford's book is connections within the first six novels that lead to the last. Thus, THE END OF HARRY POTTER? will not be enjoyable if THE DEATHLY HOLLOWS is read first. Second, the Rowling's purpose is reminiscent of Roddenberry's. The original STAR TREK was intended to be a morality play made palpable to the general public. The Harry Potter series achieves the identical objective. The easier route in life is succumbing to evil. Harry (or Rowling) shows that the long term consequences of taking the moral path is a self actualizing experience that is more satisfying than any short term pleasure.
Langford is a master of the written word and THE END OF HARRY POTTER? is worthy to read.
The absence of unbrideded speculaiton was actually a bit of a mercy. Some of these books create massive theories that are nothing but a house of cards. Remove one card and the entire structure tumbles. It annoys me when these several authors go off on these flights of fancy. While these various theories could occur, the chances of them actually occuring are miniscule. I want to see facts and logical inferences - not wild guesswork.
I think author David Langford didn't project as much as I had anticipated because, in truth, almost anything is possible in book 7. Despite writing six preceeding books, Rowlling has done an amazing job of keeping her options open. There is simply a lot of stuff we don't know and that we can't reasonably anticipate until we read the 7th book. Langford follows the clues down their varios paths, then moves on without feeling the need to add unsubstantiated guesswork. The nice thing about this is that it primes us for the upcoming book - gives us the threads to pick up when we identify them in book 7.
As I've said. I bought the book primarily to help me solve some of the upcoming mysteries. I don't think the book did that, yet I still highly reccomend it. It was well written. It flowed and was a good read. It was intelligent and thoughtful. I think the nicest thing I can say about the book is that it will make the reading of book 7 more enjoyable.
I don't want to give the book a 5 star rating because it wasnt' "super de duperdy" great. But it earned a very, very solid 4 stars. I can't imagine anyone who is pondering the mysteries that the 7th Harry Potter Book may contain not enjoying this book.
There are so many directions the book could have taken.
What I specifically expected was speculation about "where to from here" with some of the main characters. The back cover also implied this.
Not the case ...
It is a collection of speculation about what will happen in future books pulled from blogs and conversation based on whatever the current book was in the chapter being discussed.
Some of the theories are interesting, but, given that all the movies/books are out now, there is not much here for the average reader.