Friday, July 2, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J.K. Rowling (audio)


So here we are, ten months and 1 week later. Effectively, my kids spent their entire 4th and 6th grade years listening to the Harry Potter Series on audio, and what a wonderful journey it was! My daughter and I had read the entire series in print many times (with the exception of the last book), but nothing quite compared to the audio experience in the capable hands of Jim Dale. Now when it came to the final mac-daddy, we were more excited than with any other. After all, there is no movie yet to ruin everything. Plus, I’d only read the book once, like a crazed fiend in a death race, right after it was released. Except for major plots, I’d honestly forgotten all the details.

So instead of regurgitating everything that happened, I’ll leave you with some of my personal highlights and comments (spoilers ahoy maties, for those wish to remain untouched):

* Return of the Nazis. After the death of Dumbledore, and Voldy took over, it was nothing less than a reign of terror, closely resembling Nazi Germany. One-sided interviews/witch-hunts were being conducted by none other than the abhorrent Delores Umbridge, trying to identify muggle-borns so they could be tortured and persecuted. It was chilling. Too bad the Centaurs didn’t finish her off when they had a chance.

* I refused to believe he is really gone. When I read this book initially, I kept looking for loopholes that would indicate that Dumbledore was still alive. I was in serious denial. Even though I knew this time around that he was decidedly dead, I still had a childish wish that I’d missed something the first time around. The blue eyes in the mirror shard? The doe patronus? HE CAN’T BE GONE! HE’S JUST IN HIDING!

* The first half of the book was really SLOW. To me, it seemed like Harry, Hermione and Ron were doing a lot of aimless running around. After about mid-point, however, it picked up steam and everything was ‘splained. There are absolutely no loose ends here, which, after ten months, I would have no patience for the existence of such. On the other hand, while motivations and sordid histories are laid out naked before us, and all the questions that we had accumulated for the last 10 months were answered, it did seem a bit contrived. I could almost envision Rowling adding that little purgatory conversation between Harry and Dumbledore as the last ditch opportunity to answer anything that was left unresolved. And was I the only one that thought the epilogue was just a bit much? It was sweet and all, but could we get any more predictable?

* Bad guys turn good. I loved the fact the Kreacher and Harry found common ground and some affection for each other. I loved the fact that Snape was redeemed, even if it happened post-mortem. He was love-sick, poor fellow. Didn’t it make you want to give the man a hug, greasy hair and all? Narcissa Malfoy even throws Harry a bone and saves his life at the end, for the simple reason that she desperately loves her son. The little rat bastard.

* I LOVED that Neville took out the snake. Dude deserved the honor if anyone did.

* Harry gets the last word with Voldy. Yes, it feeds into the contrived ending business, but it was sincerely rewarding to see Harry face him down, hold him accountable for his actions, bring him down a notch or two, and call a spade a spade.

So where to go from here? I think the consensus is that we will now conquer the Lord of the Rings Series on audio. But no matter our next project, this audio experience will be something we never forget.

Deathly Hallows: 4 out of 5
Entire series: 5 out of 5




15 comments:

andreea said...

I think I only read the first book in this series. I do want to read the rest and I hope I will find some time in the future. Thanks for your thoughts!

bermudaonion said...

Reading your reviews of these audio books makes me want to take a cross country trip and listen to all of them!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

Congratulations for finishing! I agree with Kathy - I might have to take this on myself! (and doing it during a cross country trip would be just fine!)

Molly said...

You know, I bet this will be something that both of you children remember forever - and they will tell their own children about listening the entire series in 2010. What a terrific memory for all of you.

Now.....I need to get on that treadmill and continue working my way through Jim Dale's narration. I have only completed the first two books.

Jenners said...

I love that you did this with your kids ... what a great sustained thing to share together.

Serena said...

I haven't read any of these books, but I've seen all the movies. Wow, a comparison to the Nazis. That has to be genius.

Zibilee said...

Very cool that you made it all the way through!! I do think that the final book was probably my favorite, just for all the thrilling turnarounds and emotional climaxes in it, but really, I love this whole series. I am so glad that you and your kids were able to share this with one another. 10 months is a serious commitment! Kudos to you and your kids!

Beth F said...

I agree with the others -- great family project.

Michele at Reader's Respite said...

Well congrats on all that....long road, eh? FWIW, I've been slogging through the entire Outlander series on audio and I've been at it for a year and a half, LOL.

If you find a good narrator for LOTR, please let me know. I've got a copy of the Hobbit on audio, but the narrator is sucky.

Frances said...

The Harry Potter audios are really the gold standard for kid's ab. I have turned many a struggling or reluctant reader on to HP with the help of these. The only thing as popular with kids I teach? Neil Gaiman reading both Coraline and The Graveyard Book.

Melissa M said...

Thanks for the spoiler alert! If I every get around to reading or listening to this series I'll have to come back for your thought.

Darlene said...

I think it's great that you shared this experience with your kids. I like listening to the HP series on audio as well but I'm really getting a hankering to reread them again.

Trisha said...

Yay for Neville! And Kreacher for that matter. I can't believe you listened to all of these! That had to take so much time.

ds said...

Yep. I agree with all of your points. In fact, I still believe that Dumbledore lives (perhaps that will replace "Frodo lives"). Kudos to you and the kids for finishing all of the audios. That is a lot of time well spent.

May you have an equally wonderful experience with LOTR!

diaryofaneccentric said...

I never thought about the Nazi angle, but I can see that. And Neville at the end...LOVED IT! I agree about the epilogue, but it was interesting to see what happened to them all.