A Talmudic Reading of Michiko’s ‘Harry Potter’ Review

Courtesy of Scholastic (book), istockphoto (magnifying glass)

J.K. Rowling has already expressed her disappointment with the New York Times for publishing Michiko Kakutani’s early review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. We, on the other hand, were delighted, so hungry are we for online information about the books that remains (mostly) spoiler-free. Kakutani wrote her review very carefully, considering the fact that she composed it at 700 words per second, so the review reveals little of substance, but we still found ourselves reading it carefully for hints and clues. A compendium of our responses (minor but not insubstantial spoilers ahead!):

Michiko says: “And true to its roots, it ends not with modernist, Soprano-esque equivocation, but with good old-fashioned closure: a big-screen, heart-racing, bone-chilling confrontation and an epilogue that clearly lays out people’s fates.”
We say: Oh, thank God.

Michiko says: “The overall conclusion and its determination of the main characters’ story lines possess a convincing inevitability that make some of the prepublication speculation seem curiously blinkered in retrospect.”
We say: Hermione and Ron will lurve each other 4-ever!

Michiko says: “At least a half-dozen characters we have come to know die in these pages, and many others are wounded or tortured.”
We say: Yikes! So long, Hagrid, Bellatrix, Snape, Wormtail, and … um … Tonks?

Michiko says: “Harry’s weird psychic connection with Voldemort … seems to have grown stronger too, giving him clues to Voldemort’s actions and whereabouts, even as it lures him ever closer to the dark side.”
We say: About time Harry explores his dark side! David Yates’s film of Order of the Phoenix added this as a much-needed subplot, and we’re glad to see it rear its head in the final book.

Michiko says: “One of the plot’s significant turning points concerns Harry’s decision on whether to continue looking for the Horcruxes … or to pursue the Hallows, three magical objects said to make their possessor the master of Death.”
We say: We wish we hadn’t read that.

Michiko says: “Harry’s journey will … send him backward into the past, to the house in Godric’s Hollow where his parents died, to learn about his family history and the equally mysterious history of Dumbledore’s family.”
We say: Finally, we’ll get to learn more about Dumbledore’s brother Aberforth, “once prosecuted for practicing inappropriate charms on a goat”!

Michiko says: “Characters encountered before, like the house-elf Dobby and Mr. Ollivander the wandmaker, resurface, too.”
We say: Dobby?! Aw, crap.

An Epic Showdown as Harry Potter Is Initiated Into Adulthood [NYT]

A Talmudic Reading of Michiko’s ‘Harry Potter’ Review