Happy Birthday, Neville!

Well, as many Harry Potter fans know, today is Neville Longbottom’s birthday, and tomorrow is Harry’s!

I probably wouldn’t have thought about that, but last night I finished reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and it was better than I could have hoped for. I won’t ruin any of the surprises, because I’m not that kind of a guy. I can’t stand it when people flip to the back of the book to see what happens before they even read it, and I certainly won’t take part in ruining stories for people. But I will say that all your questions get answered: What are the other Horcruxes? What really happened to Dumbledore’s arm? Where do Snapes’ allegiances lie? In my opinion, Book 7 was the best of the series. And after reading it, I can now say that I like the Harry Potter books better than any other series I’ve ever read – and that’s saying quite a lot.

I’ve read most of the Ender books by Orson Scott Card, I’ve read the Dark Tower series by Stephen King, the Lord of the Rings series by Tolkien, the Dune books by Frank Herbert, and many others, but I think I’m most impressed with Harry.

Too often, a series will start out great, but after a couple of books, the author seems to realize that he’s really got something going. At that point, a larger plot is often woven into the story that just wasn’t there in the beginning. I really felt that with the Dark Tower books. King seemed to have had a vague sense of where he was heading, but by the time we reached our destination, it was vastly different than the original feel of the story. Things got stranger and stranger as they went, and Frank Herbert’s Dune universe started getting pretty wacky around book 3.

But Rowling really impressed me with the Harry Potter books. In the beginning, they seemed rather mild. The ending (of the first book) definitely had some pretty cool elements, but the book was still fairly juvenile. As the books progressed, however, so did the overall story and the maturity level. And beginning in Book 4, readers found that major characters could actually die! The stakes had been raised! The depth of the overall plot grew with each installment, but it felt totally natural. I’ve never read a series that remained so consistent.

For me, the entire series has been a complete joy, and I count myself among those who are currently dealing with their withdrawal symptoms. I confessed to a friend earlier today that when I finished reading it last night, I immediately reread the last couple of chapters. Turns out, he did as well!

It’s rare that something that has generated so much hype actually lives up to its reputation, but the Harry Potter books do. If you’ve never read them, you absolutely need to. As Stephen King has said, “I think Harry will take his place with Alice, Huck, Frodo and Dorothy, and this is one series not just for the decade, but for the ages.”

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5 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Neville!

  1. I’m in chapter 16 of Deathly Hallows and can’t put it down. I’m happy to know that the series has a satisfying ending.

    I know what you mean when you talk about the series increasing in depth and maturity level from one book to the next. I’ve always thought of this as a sort of parallel to Harry’s maturity. It’s almost as though each book is written for an audience that is the same age as Harry (but don’t take that to mean that only children can enjoy the first few books; they’re all a good read). I love the way Rowling ages Harry and his companions throughout the books… She does it so gradually that you really don’t notice it at first, but her characters definitely do age. Really, she just writes her characters well in general. She writes about them in a way that makes you feel as though you KNOW them. In fact, I think I’ll go sneak in a few pages now….

  2. Man….you are about the 100oth person that has raved about Harry Potter books/movies. I have REALLY been thinking about reading the series, but a little overwhelmed at the fact that there are already SEVEN books! I only have time to read at night before going to sleep….so I fear that it would take me like YEARS to get through it. Is it worth it???

    I ususally read drama’s or biography’s. This would totally be out of my element. So…Convince me Nate…….. Should I??? 🙂

  3. Narey, you TOTALLY should! Who cares how long it takes you? The last book I read took me over a year to finish because I only read it on my lunch breaks at work. I can’t put Harry Potter down, though. I only have about 50 pages left and I’m going crazy right now wondering how it will end. And I’ve already decided that when I finish (probably this afternoon) I’m going to start all over again with book 1. You should definitely read them… you won’t regret it!

  4. Sorry it took me so long to reply to this, but YES! You should read them!

    Frankly, I’m surprised that it’s taken Ryley so long to get through them, and I’m very surprised that she was actually able to put the 7th one down with only 50 pages left.

    Here’s my prediction: Narey starts to read the Harry Potter books. Soon, Anna Beth is scrounging around for any scraps of food and attention she can find, Shaun is forced to do all the housework when he gets home from work, Narey forgets personal hygiene, and worst of all, none of this bothers her because she’s too interested in Harry Potter.

    Seriously, I don’t want to make your expectations too high. I love the books, and I think anyone who gets even a hint of enjoyment from reading would be a Harry Potter fan. But to be honest, I really didn’t get blown away by them until the end of book 3. I thought they were all enjoyable and hard to put down, but I didn’t become a raving fan until I finished the 3rd book. After that, I was hopelessly hooked.

    I really recommend starting them. You’ll read through them a lot faster than you might think. To quote Yoda, “size matters not…”

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