July 21, 2007

FINAL COUNTDOWN:

Harry Potter review: Is all well in the end? (Tibor Fischer, 21/07/2007, Daily Telegraph)

The mythology, jargon and cross-references that Rowling has built up makes Deathly Hallows nigh-on impossible to follow for the newcomer, despite the fact that Rowling has the characters discuss and regurgitate the plot at several points for easier reading.

Rowling has always insisted she had spent a long time mulling the story and she's always (like a good magician) had some surprising cards up her sleeve. The books have always gone as much backwards in time as forwards, and there are more revelations about the past of the Potter family, the now deceased Dumbledore, and my favourite character, Severus Snape.

There are very sound reasons why the Potter books have sold so well.

Rowling is extremely adroit at twists. The comic element that was so prominent in the earlier volumes (Rowling even indulged in a little political satire with the Ministry for Magic) nearly entirely evaporates here.

There is a huge set-piece battle between good and evil at Hogwarts as Voldemart's hordes besiege the school.

It's Armageddon. Ragnarok. But of course, it all boils down to single combat between Harry and Voldemort.

This part of the novel is far darker than anything in the other books and (although I doubt many of Rowling's readers will pick up on it) draws on the heroic stereotype from Achilles through to Christ.


We're on the Cape and were in downtown Falmouth tonight, where pretty much every business was participating in a big contest where you had to find letters, unscramble them, and sole a poem. There was an undeniable frisson of excitement when we peaked through a window and saw the crates of books in the backroom at the bookstore. Nevermind Ms Rowling's literary bona fides, she's created such a unique social phemonon that she deserves every penny she's made.


MORE:
Harry and the final party: As midnight strikes around the globe, fans line up for the seventh and last installment of the magical J.K. Rowling story. (Josh Getlin and Martha Groves, July 21, 2007, LA Times)

If ever there was a global party, this was it.

The lines began forming outside London and Paris bookstores early in the morning Friday — hours before Los Angeles readers woke up — and the scene was repeated across the United States as Harry Potter fans gathered for midnight bashes to celebrate the release of J.K. Rowling's final installment in the blockbuster series: "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows."

In England, at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, Rowling began reading excerpts to an exclusive group of 1,000 invited children in London's imposing 19th century Natural History Museum, a suitable substitute for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

A mile down the road in Piccadilly, several thousand fans besieged Waterstone's, the London bookshop that has become the focal point for sales of the book. Flourish and Blotts, where Harry bought all his school books, was never so crowded.

The fans came from all over: Australia, Israel, Italy and Spain. A group from Turin, Italy, appeared dressed as a Quidditch team. Some readers came from America.

"We're going to grab our copies and rush back and read and read all night, then get together and talk," said Rita Gill, 18, of Laguna Beach. Gill, dressed in wizard's robes, had been waiting since 6.30 a.m. Thursday.

She was joined by Bri Sanders of San Clemente. The friends are sad that the Potter saga is ending but, as Sanders said, "It's so exciting too."

"Yeah, I'm sad but I think it's right it ends now; everything needs closure," Gill said philosophically.


There's magic in the air as fans cross globe to buy Potter finale (TIM CORNWELL, 7/21/07, The Scotsman)
In Australia, a man had to be rescued from a freezing lake after jumping in to retrieve his receipt for a pre-ordered book. In Bangkok, the British Ambassador was to present the first of 10,000 pre-ordered copies.

In Britain, the children's counselling service ChildLine said it had enlisted extra volunteers to field calls from distressed fans.

Senior ChildLine supervisor Kate Trench said: "For many children, Harry Potter and his friends have become a major part of their childhood. Death and loss of any kind can make children feel upset, angry and afraid."

A supermarket price war saw the book selling yesterday for a third of its recommended price, with Asda selling copies for £5 and Morrisons undercutting it by one penny.

The internet marketer Amazon said global pre-orders had hit 2.2 million. That was a 47 percent increase on the previous record for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the last book. The Waterstone's chain said it expects to sell three million copies.

Edinburgh became a Mecca for British and international fans yesterday. Outside Waterstone's branch opposite the Balmoral Hotel, where Rowling reportedly finished the book's last words, the queue began at 11am.

New Zealand sisters Brittney and Steffi Silk were first in line. They had saved for two years to fly over for a four-day Potter tour in London and Edinburgh.

"It's the final Harry Potter book," said Brittney, 16. "I've been a fan for half my life, so I thought we would come and experience it where it started."

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 21, 2007 12:00 AM
Comments

Dude, love ya, even when you're wrong-wrong-wrong; nevertheless, as a heads-up, the word "frisson" is reserved solely for gay men to signal to other potentially gay men that they share that certain orientation. It's in the same category as "ouevre." Gay men use these words, and, of course, John Updike and, possibly, metros currying favor with Updike and gay men.

I figure your not understanding this stuff is probably a time zone thing.

Posted by: Palmcroft at July 21, 2007 9:08 AM

Palmcroft:

unless of course . . .

(hmmm, men with beards always have something to hide (and doesn't Andy Sullivan sport one?), all that prison-beyatch talk, the Cape, isn't Provincetown there? . . .)

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at July 21, 2007 11:54 AM

"... ChildLine said it had enlisted extra volunteers to field calls from distressed fans."

The brits have really lost it!!!

Posted by: erp at July 21, 2007 11:59 AM

If you've never felt a frisson you don't know what you've missed.

Posted by: oj at July 21, 2007 12:19 PM
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