Potter Ponderings Finished the new Harry Potter, and loved pretty much every page. I liked that this book was a little streamlined from the previous installment, even if only slightly, and thought the story had a focus and drive that worked well. What Rowling is doing very well in this series, to my mind, is to very realistically age and, more importantly, mature, her characters. Even their first bumbling forays into the nasty, dirty world of sex are handled with humor, affection, and a real honesty, albeit a selective honesty that keeps us firmly in PG land. I suppose some might find the romance bits to be saccharine and besides the point, but to see them that way is, I think, to not pay attention to what Rowling has been telling us all along. As Dumbledore keeps reminding us, love is powerful, and Rowling is following through on this very key theme by letting her characters begin to experience romantic love.
Another thought I had upon completing the book was what the future will hold--post-book seven. Rowling has said on many occasions that she only foresees, if anything, writing encyclopedia-type supplemental volumes after she's finished book seven, if only to have something to do with the volumes of information and back stories she's developed in telling these stories. But given that perhaps the greatest strength of the series is this world she has built, and the intricacies and detail it's filled with, I have my doubts that it will just be allowed to lie fallow. Just think about the mountains of cash that will be left on the table if there are no more Harry Potter books. No, whether Rowling (who's still young, of course) is convinced to produce more Harry Potter books--even if they don't deal with Harry Potter directly but with the wizarding world in other ways--or whether she deigns to allow other writers to play in her sandbox, I suspect we will be seeing more Potter universe novels before the decade's out.
So much for the general thoughts. Now a wee bit of spoileriffic ponderings:
Count me among those who think Snape was acting under Dumbledore's orders when he killed him. Yes, he really killed Dumbledore, and yes, there will be real consequences from that. I wouldn't be surprised at all if we learn in Book Seven that, while Snape was acting on Dumbledore's orders, and while he truly is working for the good side, firmly on the side of the Order, that part of him, at least, liked killing Dumbledore. My hunch is that, in the end, Snape will be revealed to be jealous, vindictive, hateful man who is nonetheless working on the right side and who has a very clear sense of good and evil. And not because he is forced too, or because of some pact, but because he despises Voldemort and all he stands for. We will find out, once and for all, why Dumbledore trusted him so much, and it will not make Snape just heroic, but rather heroic, tragic, and full of anger. I concur with what others have put forth--Snape is the most interesting character in the whole saga.
I also think that Harry and Co. will, regardless of their intentions, be back at school for the seventh volume. Rowling just seems too fond of the formula (and not in a bad way) too ditch Hogwarts at the end, not to mention how wrapped up in everything Hogwarts has been throughout the story so far. Perhaps it will be revealed over the summer that the remaining Horcruxes are in Hogwarts. I don't know. Either way, I'm guessing Rowling's sense of symmetry will demand a school year.
I do think Harry and Ginny will end up together, whether towards the end of the seventh book or even right at the beginning. Again, love is key--and Harry will realize that he needs Ginny's love to prevail.
As for the rest of the mysteries (what are the remaining Horcruxes? Who is R.A.B.?) I am not Potter-smart enough to hazard guesses. I do look forward to learning the answers though.