Tuesday, July 24, 2007

On reading the final HP - SPOILER WARNING

SPOILER WARNING: Do not read this blog if you have not yet read the 7th Harry Potter book or are in the process of reading it.

I read the final book, 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows' last night and my reaction to it is two-fold. One the one hand I feel a sense of loss as the world now has one thing less to look forward to. One the other hand - I guessed the plot fairly accurately at the end of the previous book. Believe if you will my guesses:

1. Snape was the good guy - tick
2. Snape killed Dumbledore on the latter's orders - tick
3. Harry Potter was a Horcrux - tick
4. HP does not die at the end of the last book - tick

What made HP-7 an interesting read for me was the introduction of the 'Deathly Hallows', another new concept and just as interesting as everything else that makes up the world of 'witchcraft and wizardry'!

Shocks to the system:
1. Death of Hedwig just when I got a plush owl free for pre-booking the 7th book at Borders.
2. Death of Lupin and Tonks - I guess the cycle repeats!
3. Use of expletives! - To my recollection JKR has never used such language in the previous books (I might be wrong here!). Im not big on profanity of any sort and personally, if I were to write a book that was read by everyone from the age of two to two hundred, I might choose to be a little careful. Although, who cares what I think, JKR could buy my alliegiance now!

I am unsure as to whether I liked this book. I loved the last six books without a doubt. They got consistently darker and twisted in ways, yet I liked them. This one, im unsure and HP fans might have my head for this but I cannot really pin point what did it. Now, the main reason that I find HP appealing was that it was so closely knit with the 'real' world. School, books, sport, exams, ministers, laws, family and finally good vs. evil. Things that we encounter in everyday life were just turned on their head and given a new perspective in a new world. JKR has also written 'Magical creatures and where to find them' and 'Quidditch through the ages' and these books were ...strange. I could not really identify with them because, quite simply, they are complete fantasy, make-believe in their entirety. So also, some aspects of the 7th book.

The magical world appeals to me much more than the world that we inhabit. Unlike our world, in the magical world nothing is without almost immediate consequence. In fact, if a person breaks a vow, or goes back on a promise, or does not do their task, they are punished by what seems like the forces governing the world right there, right then! Bravo! I say.

In my opinion Deathly Hallows is by no means a children's book and JKR has long since moved on from being the author of a best-selling children's book. In fact the only 'child-like' aspect of it is that it is in the realm of magic that events occur. It does not have the innocence that characterises Enid Blyton and a child's innocence is what we lose in adulthood. In saying that, JKR does beautifully to capture the fear even terror at times of someone as powerful and sadistic as Voldemort. At times, I was afraid to turn a page and in the final duel between the Dark Lord and Harry, his feelings never felt so real. What amazes me is how the story comes together. Through seven books, this tale of massive proportions never loses the plot! To those supreme powers of plot-building and intertwining, I bow!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Is it worth it?

This blog is not as expected, expected would be some exciting story about my travels through Europe - yes it was pretty exciting!
This blog is about whether it is really worth leaving home to come and study in a foreign land, in sub-zero temperatures where one can barely walk let alone think of new ideas!
So what brings on this rant?
We bought a new home. This is my parents did and my sister ( who is a lucky undergrad and only has to study on university working days and gets half the year or some such absurd amount of time off!) flew back for holidays and is moving into the new home as I type.
Home is my refuge, my stability and I am OK with travelling the world as long as I know where home is (not just the suburb but the position of every table!).
After nearly a decade of hard work and determination my parents have finally got our haven, the perfect beach side home that we dreamed of (I think that is what it is, since I have only seen the top of it on google earth so far!).
Last night the emotions took over and I wept for not being there for the 'pooja'. For the first time I am not there to go shopping for 'pooja' things with my dad. Not around to pick the flowers, buy the umpteen things on Ma's shopping list, go back with dad to exchange things and laugh because we always make the same mistakes. Not there to make the calls, take the calls, return the calls - just not there.
So now you think to yourself - 'she's in Australia for Pete's sake, hop over to NZ and stop the moaning' - well not to simple. There's this monster called 'paper submission' looming over my head and since this whole Tour de Europe, now seems ill timed - well there you have it.
And ill-timed not just for the reasons stated above but also for the weather! Canberra is freezing and I am frozen. My aged symptoms are back with a vengeance and are wrecking havoc on my already weather-beaten body. Inhuman I tell you! Gods have mercy!
So you tell me - is it worth it or should I just gun it back home, double speed?