The Last Book- end of a Journey

Well, it's over. All the wait, all the frenzied, anxious wonderings- it's all over now. The last word has been written and the quill has been put down, and if our favourite muggle-'witch of words' picks it up again, it won't be to depict another year in the extraordinary life of one bespectacled Harry James Potter. And so, how does it feel? Relief, that Harry Potter lives, or perhaps disappointment for those wise cynics who would have preferred an unhappy ending? Yeah, I have come across some disgusting spoilsports who reckon Harry should have died, and the reason one of them has given on Yahoo Answers is, and I am quoting-"...should have died because for some reason, Harry gets on my nerves." Well, I think if the hero of a book gets on anybody's nerve, then he/she should put it down, read other things and spare us from their strange ideas of 'poetic injustice'. For my part, I feel a bit strange. I was older than eleven when I first discovered Harry in his cupboard under the stairs, but I shared his surprise and his feeling enchantment as he made his way through Diagon Alley and Hogwarts. I read the first four books within a space of a few weeks, so I can't say I grew up with Harry, but I accompanied him as he grew up. So, I suppose it feels a little strange to think it's really the end of the journey, that there would be no more waiting for the next book, that I won't be searching mugglenet and HPANA for some clue Rowling might have slipped(I would still be visiting for the remaining movies, of course) and that I won't be counting the dates till the new book is released.
And so what about the last book? Well, to me it was intense, action-packed. From the moment we see Harry Potter in his bedroom at Privet Drive till Voldemort finally falls in the Great Hall of Hogwarts, there is hardly any time to breathe. It's like jumping from one event to the other. The opening chapter with Voldemort at Malfoy Manor sets the mood and he and his deatheaters are after Harry sooner than we could be ready for it- chasing him in the skies across three counties, nearly missing him at Bill and Fleur's wedding and then right afterwards at a deserted muggle cafe on Tottenham Court Road, the Ministry of Magic and Grimauld Place, at his native village- Godric's Hollow, then in the house of Xenophilus Lovegood- the father of his friend who pays for his outspoken support to Harry, and then, finally getting caught and imprisoned at Malfoy Manor, escaping again but only to land up in Gringotts- the wizard bank and almost getting caught, escaping, finally to turn up where Voldemort expects him to go- Hogwarts and walking willingly to his own death. And throughout the constant changing of locations, the aimless moving that at a point of time disillusions Ron and Hermione and even Harry, we are given clues that ultimately falls neatly into place. This is the most amazing thing about Rowling's writing, how all the pieces fall neatly into place in the end, how the plot is tied up, in each book individually, and taking the series as a whole. And it makes us look at the whole issue of making the right choices by throwing new light on the character of one whom every Harry Potter fan, like Harry himself, had come to see as infallible. He had been carried away by his talents and abilities in his youth, he had been, by his own admission, selfish and bitter before reality hit him hard in the form of death for his sister and although never evil, or whatever Rita Skeeter and Ron's Aunt Muriel would want us to believe, Rowling shows us that the greatest wizard on earth could be human, and susceptible to human follies.
And then, what about Snape? Fanfiction writers have been saying for ages that he had loved Lily, some went to the extent of saying that Lily loved him back and (bless us) Harry was actually Snape's son! Jokes apart, 'Prince's Tale' was undoubtedly one of the most moving chapters of the book. But does that make James Potter a hateful character? One of my friends, my best-friend in fact, declared that she hated James. But if we hate James for what he was like to Snape in school, we have to hate Sirius as well, and Sirius Black, I am sure, is one character all HP-fans (ok, most of them, making exceptions for those who wanted Harry to die) love. Ok, James was arrogant, but Snape on the other hand was immersed in the dark arts, and having a muggle-born best-friend didn't stop him from joining the service of a wizard who talked about pure-blood supremacy. No, I am not trying to find fault with Snape here, but what I am trying to say is that neither James Potter nor Severus Snape were perfect individuals. And yes, they detested each other so they hexed each other whenever they got the chance and Harry was unfortunate enough to land up inside a memory that showed Snape at the recieving end. I do not agree with Snape that James had saved his life 'only' to save his own friends from being expelled, nor when he says(at the end of book6) that James would have never attacked him unless it was four-to-one, it could not have been more than two-to-one- because Lupin was the good boy in the group, and Pettigrew was content to watch his bigger friends do the honours. And I am convinced that James Potter, whatever he might have been as a school-boy, was a brave man and a great wizard. He was, after all, Harry's father. So the purpose of this long lecture? Snape is a tragic character and I feel bad about the way he died, and the fact that he died before Harry realized what he truly was, but that doesn't make James Potter a bad person. I am going to have an arguement with my friend about it, but no matter, we frequently have these little 'discussions' over HP books and movies, over Abhishek Bachchan and Hrithik Roshan, over Indian cricketers and countless such 'important' issues.
Going back to the book, I think Rowling made it a point to prove beyond doubt that there's a war going on, and so there deaths, and important deaths. Not at the end, like books 4, 5 and 6, but from the very beginning. if we leave Charity Barbage out as someone we never came across in the other books, it begins with Hedwig, Moody, Ted Tonks(ok, we meet him briefly, but he is father to an important character), Dobby, Fred Weasley, Remus Lupin, Tonks, and Colin Creevay. Hedwig- who was annoyed with Harry for not letting her out of her cage fulfills the promise Harry had made to him ("..and then you can fly again.") in a way Harry never had dreamt of, Moody- who knew and had expected Voldemort to go after him, Dobby- who had promised never to try and save Harry's life again at the end of book2, Colin Creevay, always so taken up with Harry, Remus and Tonks- the parents of an infant, dying in what Rowling calls an echo of what Harry's fate when James and Lily died, and finally, Fred Weasley who had planned what his friends would wear at his wedding only a few months back. Rowling has been ruthless, brutal, if you ask me, with these twins who wanted to sell laughter in a strife-torn, war-ravaged world. "Can't you tell us apart even when we are Harrys?" must have been the last time they would get the chance to play on their identical appearances, because soon after this, George Weasley, feeling 'saint-like', would be telling Mrs. Weasley- "You can finally tell us apart, Mum." And then the time would come when there would be no question of mistaken identities, because one of them would die. We get a picture of happy life 19 years later, we hear of Teddy Lupin, obviously happy, Percy- not much changed, Neville in his element with herbology, Victoire- the daughter of Bill and Fleur and we assume they are happy too, but we don't hear of Charlie, and we don't hear of George Weasley either. Is he still selling laughter? I would like to believe that "Weasleys' Wizarding Wheezes" is still making roaring business, and he did open the Hogsmeade branch that he had planned with his twin, because the world could still do with a laugh. Another important person we miss in the epilogue is of course, Luna Lovegood. What do you reckon she is doing? Editing the Quibbler? Or has she gone on a World Tour to look for a Blibbering Humdinger?

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