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DT: come reap

I was half the naked distance between hell and heaven's ceiling; and it almost pulled me under

Posted on 2005.18.07 at 14:13
How I feel about it all: goodgood
Soundtrack: Indigo Girls - Prince of Darkness
Okay, so HBP.

I'm not really good at writing the coherent, well-thought reviews like some of you have done, but I shall try.

First of all, I think this is the best writing JKR has done so far. Not just because it's for older kids/adults now, but it's just so cohesive. Thing X does not hover in space, it connects to Thing Y and Thing Z. Hopefully this review will be half as cohesive.

First of all, is Harry. Oh, Harry, how I love you. I've seen reviews that talk about how Harry is not your normal teenager, and well, he is and he isn't. He's normal in that he gets crushes, gets angsty, worries about grades, teachers, and what people think of him (as the parent of a sixteen-year-old, I can attest that all this happens to boys his age). He's not normal in the fact that he's almost literally been through hell in his sixteen years. Even less "normal" is the fact that given all the abuse and heartache he's had to endure, he remains, as Dumbledore says, "pure in heart". I think if Ron and Hermione hadn't been with him this whole time he wouldn't be so pure. But also I think while in history his and Voldemort's pasts are somewhat parallel, their natures are not. Tom has his Marvolo evil streak, and Harry has his Evans warmth. We don't know much about Tom Riddle, Sr.'s personality and I'd like to think that Harry's inherited more from his mother than from James, although there must have been something about James that made Lily fall for him.

Harry is also someone who is finally accepting his role in the war. His choice may be Hobson's Choice (as was said so wonderfully in a fic I read recently, I forget which one because I've read a lot of late), but he's accepted it, even breaking off with Ginny because he needs to be unfettered, as it were, to do what needs to be done. That Ron and Hermione choose to be with him is their choice, and he wouldn't have dreamt of asking them. He's realising that what's important isn't a girlfriend, or Quidditch (even wanting to follow Draco during a match because it was important), but Saving the World, because if he doesn't do it, nobody will, and there won't BE a world in which to have a girlfriend or play Quidditch. Go Harry.

I know Harry didn't grieve for Sirius as much as I thought he would, but he did an awful lot of Avoiding the Subject, which means that maybe the grieving will still happen. I'm just glad he didn't mope around feeling guilty the whole book (apparently, that job was given to Tonks, for some odd reason).

Then there's Ron and Hermione. I think they were both a little juvenile with the whole Lavender thing. Ron was upset that Viktor and Hermione snogged two years before? I dunno about that. Ron IS obtuse, but that's a bit much. And the birds? Geez, Hermione, you could have just yelled at him. They redeemed themselves, though, when they told Harry they'd go with him to find Snape and Draco and Voldy (oh, my!). HERMIONE IS QUITTING SCHOOL TO BE THERE FOR HARRY. Do readers realise how significant this is? Ron and Hermione are a big reason Harry stays on as even a keel as he does. *sigh* I adore the Trio completely. H/D is my OTP, but I love me my Trio, yes.

May I say I LOVE Remus' backstory? So much info on Remus crammed into so few lines. That's one of my problems--not enough Remus! I'd be happy if the last book was called Remus Lupin and the Lycanthrope's Curse or something. I love him, love him, love him. Which brings us to:

Tonks. WTF is wrong with her? She is NOT a mopey person. THIS IS NOT TONKS. Someone came along and gave her a character transplant, and it's not a good one. Okay, she can't make her hair pink or change her nose, but mope around like that? Maybe she's taking on Harry's survivor guilt along with her own, and okay, she's upset because Remus won't love her back, but you can't tell me that an intelligent and skilled Auror like Tonks would sulk around all day because she Can't Have Her Man. And speaking of Remus/Tonks, listen up, fandom: It is possible to ship R/T AND R/S. What's up with all this "OMG, Remus loves a woman, he can't have loved Sirius, JKR's trying to de-Gay him" nonsense? It's entirely possible that Remus is bisexual, folks. I'm one of those OMG S/R is SO canon, and Remus/Tonks doesn't change my mind at all. Remus is moving on, that's all. What DOES bother me is Tonks' odd and unnecessary personality transplant.

Okay, now for Narcissa and Bella: I loved their chapter. I love Narcissa! She's living up to my belief that yes, the Malfoy nuclear family indeed loves each other. They're bigoted and wrong, and Draco is being unknowingly emotionally abused, but they are a loving family within the three of them. Narcissa is willing to risk her life for her child (as most mothers would), and woah, she loves her husband too. Who'd've guessed it? *g* As for Bella, she's not quite as crazy as we thought, but she's so addicted to Voldemort she can't see straight. I love her character; I hope we see more in book 7.

*sigh* Now for Snape. Such a mystery, such an enigma, such a wonderful, fantastic, incredible character. My Snape-love has gone up a hundredfold, and I already had such love for him. I don't think he's teh ebil, either. I think he has his own code of morals, and they're as ambiguous as his story is. He obviously killed Dumbledore because of the Unbreakable Vow; Draco couldn't do it. (*pauses to squee*), and Snape would've died if he didn't do it. So why, if Snape Is Not Evil, didn't he just die for Dumbledore? Because if nobody killed Dumbledore, Draco would have died. Snape did the deed for Draco, IMO. Snape didn't have to make the vow (or if he did, there was some other reason we haven't learned yet). I think Snape sees beyond good and evil. He's planted somewhere in between, and probably for very good reason. Besides, Dumbledore trusted him, and I think it's true that Dumbledore is Right Most of the Time. I think that maybe Dumbledore knew what was going to happen, but I also think that he was very glad at the end that it wasn't Draco. Also, Dumbledore knew that the DADA job was cursed, yet he gave it to Snape, anyway (although, as patchfire said, Quirrel was in for more than one year--maybe that was a Flint?). In any case, Dumbledore knew something was going to be up with Snape, and yet he still trusted him.

As for Dumbledore, he was pretty okay this book. I'm not a big Dumbledore fan, but I like him here, and how he was willing to sacrifice himself for what he thought was a horcrux, and how he was portentious in bringing Harry along to help him. And I loved his conversation with Draco. He really didn't want Draco to lose his innocence. There was something that Dumbledore knew, probably always, about Draco, or he would have hauled him in earlier, I expect, because, well. Dumbledore Knows All.

Which brings us to the last, best, finest thing about this book--Draco Malfoy.

Oh, Draco. Oh, Draco, Draco, Draco, my very dear, you are a Real Boy at last. This was everything I'd hoped for, and the biggest hope I had for the story, and the thing I honestly never thought would happen. She made Draco real. You can see him when he turns sideways, now. *g* He's real, he's a character, he's got a personality that's not cookie-cutter, he can cry, he loves his family, he has regrets, and hopes, and fears. AND HE COULDN'T KILL DUMBLEDORE. My Draco is Redeemable (although, as of yet he's still innocent, isn't he?)! He's also realising there's a big, wide world out there that doesn't centre around Draco Malfoy, and he's scared to death, which is so IC for him it isn't funny. And his obsession for Harry has been blotted out by his fear of killing and of dying. It's been transferred to Harry, though, so I'm happy.

Shipwise? I couldn't be more confident that H/D is not only alive and well, but fresh and new again. The H/D fics that come out of this book will NOT be like the others. Harry will have to find Draco, deal with Snape, and be in some situation that's new and unusual and not just OMG fight!sex inna hallway. I think my fic will be just fine, with some tweaking and figuring out of Snape's role in it. I'm even more determined to write it, now, as I think it will be better with the new canon.

I'd like to see what the Pumpkin Pie-ers and the Snarry people and the Draco/Ginny people will be saying about the latest Events. Also, I think there will be an upsurge in Snaco. Which makes me happy, because the ship makes so very much sense. And much, much more fresh, new, original H/D. I predict stories as sharp and gorgeous and wonderful as Underwater Light, Irresistible Poison, Love Under Will, all those oldies. H/D fandom, it's a whole new ball game for us. I can't wait to read the first efforts.

I've already ranted about the Remus/Tonks. I like Remus/Tonks, just not the whole Depressed!Tonks thing. I've also mentioned Ron/Hermione. *thinks* Yep.

I overlooked the mild (and it WAS mild) H/G, because well, it ended, and it was pretty boring. I hope patchfire is right, that it was just Harry saying, oh, it's nice to have a girlfriend, and it won't rear its boring head next book. I'm not a fan of OBHWF when it includes Harry. I'd rather see Harry/Luna, or, even more, Harry/Nobody. I don't think anyone can be with Harry right now. It's good to see Harry acknowledging that, as well. He has to go it alone. The last leg of a hero's journey has to be alone (except if you're Frodo, who had his Sam, and thank the Maker for that. *g*) And Harry will have his Sam--two of them. It all does come back to the Trio, and I'm glad that I'm a Trioshipper, even if it's not my OTP.

*whew*. Well. That's my review, as rambling and unformed as it may be. Most I liked, some I didn't, but in the end it's all good, and my favourite thing is Draco, Draco, Draco, whatever his choices may be. My Real Boy. *loves*

My Current Music is the main theme for my fic. Canonwise, it's never been more true for Draco. Listen for yourself and tell me what you think:

Indigo Girls - Prince of Darkness

Oh, and willysunny? Can I still beta or is it too late? I was afk because of spoilers and then I got caught up in the squeeage. Am bad beta.

ETA: The horcruxes, the zombies, the Apparation test, Fred and George's shop, Draco's Detour, Dumbledore and Harry on Brooms, Harry force-feeding Dumbledore, all those were wonderful things. I tend to focus on the characters in reviews, is all. The story had just the right amount of twists and turns. I don't understand how some reviewers can say JKR is playing to the market, when she's just telling a story (which started a long time before there WAS a market), and doing a good job of it.


petulans at 2005-07-18 20:41 (UTC) ()
Dude, to me it seems to be a pretty good bet that Dumbledore was already dying from the whole ring thing from the beginnning of the book, and that Snape, as the person who treated him was perfectly well aware of this - why else have Snape, in that wonderful second chapter, mention about Dumbledore's injury, if not to be able to come back and say 'look, this was why Snape made the vow' and make Snape's decision on making the vow realistic whilst he remains 'good' - he could have refused the vow, stating that he wouldn't go against Voldemort's plans for Draco very easily, and it remains the main problem with the 'Snape is good' theory.
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2005-07-18 20:47 (UTC) ()
Well, this makes sense, but I still think that in the end it was done for Draco, or at least for the Malfoys as a family. Perhaps he had more than one reason for doing it.

I don't know if "Snape is Good"; as a matter of fact, I'd probably be upset if it were that cut and dried. But I don't think he's evil, either. I think he's one of the most human characters, really, but it's all inside; he doesn't talk about it. I think maybe that's part of why we got to see Snape's Worst Memory.
Sarah Rees Brennan
sarahtales at 2005-07-18 22:13 (UTC) ()
I am just so happy, Primrose. I have been yapping about how happy I am since it happened, I am an absurd tiny little cup full of jelly with marshmallows in it.
And plot bunnies. Plot bunnies and marshmallows.
Draco! I will never permit anyone to say another word about him being evil ever ever again. My heart is like rare steak when it comes to that boy: bleeding on a plate.
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2005-07-18 22:20 (UTC) ()
My heart is like rare steak when it comes to that boy: bleeding on a plate.

Yes. Oh, yes.

Draco isn't redeemed, not yet (although it's still in question whether he yet NEEDS Redemption). But, he's Redeemable. And he's real. You know, in a fictional sorta way.

*waves to bunnies on marshmallows*
(Deleted comment)
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2005-07-19 01:18 (UTC) ()
May I add ya to my friends list?

Sure! *shakes hand*
Pepper Sauce
ginamariewade at 2005-07-18 23:52 (UTC) ()
I got here from the daily snitch, I like your theories, and you quoted from the Indigo Girls, so you must be my kind of person!
I'm friending you.
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2005-07-19 01:19 (UTC) ()
*g* The Indigo Girls are goddesses. :)

Nice to meet you.
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2005-07-19 01:21 (UTC) ()
Oh, and OMG you must meet patchfire. Fellow Georgia liberal. :)
One damn minute, Admiral.
trempnvt at 2005-07-19 05:44 (UTC) ()
I think this is quite a good post. Will take more time to respond later.
Emma Grant
emmagrant01 at 2005-07-19 05:45 (UTC) ()
Oh, yes -- it was all about Draco for me too! I was so terrified that this book would cement Draco as a DE, and I never imagined that JKR would give us quite this much! The H/D shippers win! ;-)
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2005-07-19 10:44 (UTC) ()
H/D is very much a new fandom again, I think. But it's not just that for me. Draco is finally a whole character, and that's what's making me happy the most.
Grammar Police
frappygoddess at 2005-07-19 08:23 (UTC) ()
You've completely summed up all the wondrous joys (and rare frustrations, such as Tonks' personality switcheroo and H/G) I encountered in HBP. Seriously, we agree on everything. It's like we're sharing the same mind. O.o

The book was all about Draco for me, as well. I always liked him, but it wasn't until HBP that I really jumped on the Draco love bandwagon. I am so glad JKR has decided to make him an actual, fleshed out character. I was expecting her to, after her interview mantra of "I don't understand why people like Draco, he's not supposed to be likable." It always seemed to me that she doth protest too much. There was this one horrible, sickening moment when I realized that it was entirely possible for Draco to die. I actually had to set the book down, take some deep breaths and steel my nerves before reading on. I've never had a reaction like that to a book. It's safe to say Draco has joined Remus and Luna as a favorite character.

Speaking of Remus and Luna, there wasn't nearly enough of either of them, but what we did see was wonderful. I too loved the backstory on Remus getting bitten; I think we'll be seeing an increase in fics about that incident. I hope for more of him in the seventh book, as well as Luna. I'm a mild Harry/Luna shipper as well; it's really my only het. ship. I just feel that if Harry were to end up with any of his female contemporaries, Luna is the best choice for him. Harry/Ginny was just meh. Of course, H/D is my Harry OTP all the way.

I'm in complete agreeance about the Remus/Tonks debate. It doesn't disprove Remus/Sirius at all, and I wish both sides of the shipping debate would see this. All the opponents of S/R say that Remus' relationship with Tonks is proof that he can't be gay and could never had had a relationship with Sirius, and all the S/R supporters are mourning the sinking of their ship. No one takes into account that Remus could be bi, and that he's just moving on (which is what Sirius what have wanted for him, I'm sure). It's very irritating.

And you mentioned Indigo Girls. I think I love you. Do you mind if I friend you?
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2005-07-19 10:49 (UTC) ()
I just feel that if Harry were to end up with any of his female contemporaries, Luna is the best choice for him.

Oh, me too. I love Luna. I think they'd be good for each other, actually, because he'd love her even with the butterbeer cork necklace or whatever it is.

And you mentioned Indigo Girls. I think I love you. Do you mind if I friend you?

The Indigo Girls are my unofficial H/D band (even though the song I posted is All About Draco). Friend away! *g*

History Has Dreamed Of Us
inkandalchemy at 2005-07-19 22:22 (UTC) ()
Am I the only one who expected Luna to hook up with Ron? *laughs* I soooo thought we'd see Ron/Luna and that that, rather than Ron/Lavender, would be what brought Ron and Hermione together.

I agree, though, I don't think Harry should be with anyone. The whole Harry/Ginny thread was cute but, in my opinion, less than spectacularly written.
robinhoo at 2005-07-20 22:43 (UTC) ()
AMEN, inkandalchemy!!! I totally expected a Luna/Ron hookup, and am damn disappointed that I didn't get it! Ron/Lavender made me want to stick my whole hand down my throat and retch for hours; in fact, all the overt "romantic tension" in this book I found utterly nauseating. I'm glad Harry and Ginny had their moment, but I'm in perfect agreement: Harry, like Frodo in Lord of the Rings, shouldn't be with anyone. I know that "love" is the massive banner under which Harry flies, whereas Frodo's stated banner was "pity" (actually, empathy), but especially since Rowling seems to be pairing off all her characters (Jesus, how extraneous was the whole Bill/Fleur thing?!), Harry needs to be the character to show that romantic love need not be the apex of all types of love, i.e., the type of love toward which all of one's life has been building. Harry needs to be much, much more complex than that. (In truth, though, I think we'll be seeing Ginny again at the end of book 7, yark.)

I'm not into the HP-fic thing at all, so my take on the book is uncoloured by all the fanfic elements that have effectively become canon, but I have to agree that I loved the dimensionality JRK gave Draco, finally. And hopefully most people can see that Snape's Avada Kedavra curse was not as straightforward as Harry's taking it to be, so I'm looking forward to unsnarling the thread that is Snape.

Overall, though, I have to say that I found this book totally disappointing. It felt to me as though huge chunks of quotidian backstory was cut out, and I like diving in and knowing the mundane events of Harry's/Ron's/Hermione's lives. I felt that there were a number of rather pointless threads in this story (Bill/Fleur, Depressed!Tonks ICK) that made it seem less cohesive to me than the others have; but that may well be, just as much, in large part because this story -- more, I think, than any of the others -- ends on a genuine cliffhanger. More than Books 1-5, this one is unfinished; it's not a self-contained story at all. It's the Two Towers of the Harry Potter series. And there's the last thing that drove me bonkers about this book -- JRK lifted, wholecloth, so many elements from Tolkien: the door of Moria/the cave; the Watcher-in-the-Water-meets-the-Dead-Marshes/the Inferi; even Dumbledore's last words to Draco about mercy/Gandalf's words to Frodo in Moria about Bilbo's pity. I know, I know, I should see it as flattering... but I felt kinda robbed, like, "D00d, JK, I've already read this book; where's yours?"

Sorry, Prim, I don't mean to be a big downer in your LJ. It's just that nobody else on my flist is finished reading it yet!!!
History Has Dreamed Of Us
inkandalchemy at 2005-07-20 23:45 (UTC) ()
AHHHH someone else who sees the Potter/Tolkien connections! *dies of gratitude* Everyone else is telling me I'm just seeing things because I'm so LotR-obsessed, so I'm glad it's not just me. I mean, I thought it was blatantly obvious with the Dementors/Ringwraiths, but they didn't see it. And did anyone else catch the references to wizards called Odo and Proudfoot (and wasn't Odo Proudfoot one of the hobbits at Bilbo's birthday?)

Anyway, I'm really with you on the Harry+romance thing. There is SO much to life beyond snogging/dating/marriage; not that those aren't nice things, but I was so hopeful that JK would keep Harry as an example that one doesn't have to have a Significant Other to be happy. Oh well. I'll keep my fingers crossed for book 7, ne?
robinhoo at 2005-07-21 00:03 (UTC) ()
*squee* You noticed Odo and Proudfoot too? Yay!!!

Yes, I'm hoping that, since JK herself didn't marry until her late 30s, she'll be willing to pass on to kids that you don't have to be attached to another person romantically in order to be a fulfilled and productive person. I'll be crossing my fingers for book 7 with you!
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2005-07-21 17:57 (UTC) ()
I noticed the Watcher/Dead Marshes connection, but there are so many tips of the hat to various and sundry in the series that I didn't mind it.

I also think that there was all that other stuff (romance, Quidditch, yadda) to show us that this is indeed a story about a boy, not a man, yet, which is written from that boy's POV. Harry is indeed putting away childish things (wanting to chase after Draco rather than playing his beloved Quidditch, for example), but there's a big part of him that's still a child. There's also a HUGE part of him, I think, who wishes so very hard that he could BE a kid just like everyone else, although by the end of the book, he's realised he can't, and does indeed put aside his childhood (of which I think Ginny and Quidditch are metaphors of a sort).

I used to be a whole lot more upset with Dumbledore for what I (and Harry, in OoTP) considered manipulation of an innocent child. This book gave me some sympathy for him, because I think he genuinely loved Harry. After all, if he showed such concern for Draco, how much more would he do for Harry? I'm still not with the OMG Dumbledore!Love, but I think I grok him better now.

So, yeah, I loved this book. I think it's my new favourite, PoA moving just slightly into an almost-tie second place.
(Anonymous) at 2005-07-23 16:31 (UTC) ()
That's an interesting reaction, because I personally? Don't think I'm going to majorly change the way I write Draco (or H/D) - he's still to me a needy, bitter, enraged, despicable little bigot who is in many ways evil, and incredibly self-deluded. From the way he (and Narcissa and Bella) talk about his mission and his glory and his arguments with Snape; he may not be a killer, but I think he wants to be.
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