Monday, July 25, 2005

OK. Where's the next one?

My journal entries have been a little sparse last week, because I was reading the Harry Potter book.  So was the amount of sleep I got most nights.

But, I finished it by Friday, at which time productivity could return to normal.  Considering how many copies of the book were sold, I wonder if the overall amount of homework completed in this country dipped last week.  Perhaps the GNP, as well.

Quite liked it.  Perhaps the best of the bunch.  I was pleasantly surprised by this, because I'd thought the last one (Order of the Phoenix) kinda blew.

Here's the thing.  Despite the impression my late-night reading sessions may have given you, I'm not what you'd call a Harry Potter Dork.  I read the books, I see the movies -- that's pretty much it.  I don't re-read all the previous novels before I start the next one.  I just trust in my memory (and whatever sort of summary the author provides) to get me through.  And this has been something of a problem with the last couple of books.  Firstly, Rowling provides no summary.  OK, the books are a worldwide phenomenon and obviously she doesn't feel the need to waste a chapter or two reminding everyone what's been going on.  But some of us could really use it.  Before reading this book, if you'd asked me, I could've rattled off the names (and some distinguishing characteristics) for some twenty characters in the series.  Maybe twenty-five, if pressed.  Now that number might sound impressive, but it's nothing compared to the dozens of characters that float in and out of these books and which Rowling expects us to remember whenever she drops them in.  Well, I don't.  Not hardly.  And this has detracted, somewhat, from my enjoyment of the fourth and fifth books in this series, because Rowling expected me to actually be up on all these people.  Indeed, it was sort of necessary to know who was who and what was what in order to understand all the plot twists.

This latest, Half-Blood Prince, takes place almost exclusively in the universe peopled by the twenty-some-odd characters I'm on good terms with.  Right there, it puts the book ahead of its two most recent predecessors, simply because I know what the hell is going on.

The other thing I liked about this book is that I had absolutely no clue what the hell was going on.  By the time you're just a few chapters into the book, the story's three main mysteries have been set out for you.  (More or less:  Who is the Half-Blood Prince?  What is Draco's task?  If Dumbledore is right and Snape is good, how the hell is he going to get out of this one?)  And by the time I got to the climax of the book and all was revealed, I could confidently say I had no idea as to the answer to any of these questions.  (At one time, I'd considered the right answer to one of them, but rejected it.)  I like to think I'm pretty good at guessing plot twists, yet for the sixth consecutive book, Rowling got ahead of me.  But what made this book better than the last few was that this time she was playing fair.  No more making the plot depend on characters or old plot elements I can't remember -- she played on a level playing field with players I knew well, and she still beat me good.

Can't wait for the next one.  Because I'm sure that, between now and the time it comes out, I will have forgotten everything again.

1 comment:

mamacass1021 said...

I understand what you mean.  It's gotten to the point that I don't even try to figure out what's going on and just enjoy the ride.  I do go back and re-read all the books whenever I get a chance.  No I'm not a die hard Harry Potter fan just a readaholic.  :-D