Harry Potter!

July 23, 2007 at 07:11 PM · I hadn't pre-ordered but it was available at my local bookstore Saturday morning. I reviewed a bit from the last book on Saturday afternoon and then started reading. I finished Sunday evening after spending most of the day.

People my age grew up with Star Wars and as much as I still love it, I think HP is better. The relationships that witches and wizards have with their wands really reminded me of the relationships string players have with their instruments.

Replies (95)

July 23, 2007 at 08:34 PM · Yep, I read it and loved it!

I totally agree with you on the magic - wand connection and the musician - violin connection, but I never thought of it myself.

I was amazed that some of my theories were correct though!! Although I thought the ending was a bit to happy and dandy...

I read really quickly, so I bought it at about 11.30am on the Saturday, and finished that night at around 1.30am.

July 23, 2007 at 11:20 PM · I read til 2am and finished the last 20 pages after I got home today. I LOVED it. I thought it was well done and not too happy as it all turned out. I thought that Harry's comments to Albus Severus were very sweet.

July 24, 2007 at 03:46 AM · No, but everyone I know did.

July 24, 2007 at 11:30 AM · i've read til page 300-something and it's pretty awesome.. and i have to say that i'm a bit surprised that i could get this book on the first day of its launching so easily here in my country.. no waiting in lines or anything!

July 24, 2007 at 12:00 PM · The only ones who had to wait in lines here in the States were us crazies who _had_ to pick it up at midnight exactly...

The only plot question that's been running through my mind after reading the entire series (and enjoying every minute of it) is: if the Dursleys were such horrible people, why couldn't Dumbledore have placed Harry with Lily's parents instead of her sister? Presumably they're still alive, but they are never mentioned in any meaningful way. Wouldn't it have been better for him, since they accepted that Lily was a witch and Petunia never did?

Ah well. The next time I see J. K. Rowling, I'll ask her. It was a wonderful series of books, and I hope that it's not the last we hear of her.

July 24, 2007 at 01:55 PM · I didn't wait in line either (in Massachusetts). There was a big party in Harvard Square with costumes and even a band, "Harry and the Potters." But on Saturday at noon (after a full night's sleep), I went to lunch at my favorite Thai restaurant and then went to the bookstore in the same block and picked it up.

I'm thinking that Lily's parents may not be alive anymore because otherwise that's a good question. Given how young everybody else is, they'd probably not be that old yet either. It surprises me how young everybody is in the HP series, for example, how young Lily and James were when they had Harry. And that wizards don't seem to go to college or graduate school. Maybe, since Lily and Petunia's parents were "only" poor Muggles, they met an "accident" or "disappeared" during Voldemort's first rise to power, and that's another reason that Petunia is so fearful and bitter.

July 24, 2007 at 02:55 PM · Pre-ordered from amazon:)



July 24, 2007 at 02:56 PM · Ahhh, I had to stay up past midnight, but I just finished HP yesterday. I can't believe it's over! I loved it.

Haha, but now I REALLY need to practice or my wand, er, violin isn't going to do my bidding.

July 24, 2007 at 03:35 PM · My daughter got it 12:30am Saturday morning. She stayed up all night(morning?). She woke me up at 7:30 to announce that she finished the book and loved it. While she was catching up on sleep during the day, I started. So far, so good. I agree with Karen that HP is better than Star Wars. For me, it is.


July 24, 2007 at 05:40 PM · I got it about 12:15 AM Saturday morning, but had to attend a wedding on Saturday and the Cubs game on Sunday. I devoured it yesterday, though... I'm satisfied with how it ended, but am sad it's over!

July 24, 2007 at 07:21 PM · I haven't gotten my copy yet :(.. but when I do I don't think Ill have a problem.. here in NY there are plenty left..

July 24, 2007 at 09:58 PM · It took me two full days to read it. I wanted to make sure that I could picture exactly every description in my mind so that I could remember everything easier. I often reread passages if I lost concentration. I knew Snape was good the whole time and I knew Harry was going to live. I did read the last three words of the book before I started reading the beginning. I kind of spoiled the book for myself. I can't wait until the movie comes out so I can compare it with what I pictured in my mind. Now I don't know what to do with myself lol.

July 24, 2007 at 10:56 PM · There actually are so many connections to the violin, or atleast that's what I felt when I read it. I can't remember what most of them are but that wand-wizard thing really was like BAM.

July 25, 2007 at 01:38 AM · Bought it 1pm on Sat. finished it sunday evening. I could swear I heard violins in the background while reading the last chapter.

July 25, 2007 at 02:50 AM · christopher,

aaww you spoiled the ending for me!! hahahaha thx for it though. deep inside i really can't wait to know.

speaking of harry potter, i just love the film's music. i like john williams, but he stopped composing for the movie after the 3rd or something.. but the new composer is also great.. does anybody know his name? is it james newton howard?

July 25, 2007 at 02:57 AM · I started reading it at about 10PM on the 21st, read till 2 AM, went to sleep, woke up seven hours later, grabbed the book, and finished it at 2:00 that afternoon. Bloody brilliant book--I'm sad it's over but it was such a satisfying ending. I'd been afraid of an anticlimax, and it sure was not. (I was so proud of Neville Longbottom!)

July 25, 2007 at 01:56 PM · And Mrs. Weasley was something else, eh? =)

July 25, 2007 at 03:34 PM · Oh, she always is. I was a little ticked off by the false-alarm re-appearance of Viktor Krum--thought he was going to actually figure in the story, rather than just showing up for one chapter. Boooo.

July 25, 2007 at 03:57 PM · Does Harry quit magic and become an Interior Decorator?

July 26, 2007 at 12:25 AM · Yeah, that's what I was wondering in the epilogue too--what does he do for a living--maybe he's so famous he just does motivational speaking.

Rowling is brilliant. I don't know how she ties all this into such a neat little package. Very few loose ends. Only a couple that I could think of.

I also loved Mrs. Weasly--a good juxtaposition of female strength in that duel with Bellatrix (Bellatrix having all the outward appearance of strength while Mrs. Weasly had all the real strength, she was the true warrior--hooray for Mommies! Don't mess with Mother Bear).

For me, the pivotal moment came after Dobby's death. That was the moment Harry grew up and took the reigns of his own life. It was interesting later to compare his maturation at that moment to the baby Voldemort in Kings Cross--Beautiful writing.

July 26, 2007 at 12:57 AM · Ohhh, is THAT what that weird, mutilated thing in Kings Cross was??

July 26, 2007 at 04:00 AM · Yep, that was Voldemort--his soul in limbo as a crying, mutilated, helpless baby. Pretty great imagery. Remember when Harry tells Voldemort "I've seen what you are" (or something like that) later on? Interesting when you compare that imagery with the duel between Mrs. Weasley and Bellatrix Lestrange. The interplay between power and helplessness is central to Rowling's work, imho.

Snape, of course, is a most complex character, and Rowling handled him superbly in #7. It was fitting that the reversal/revelation of Snape's character came after his death--that Rowling didn't push Harry and Snape to reconcile and forge a friendship which Snape could not offer Harry. I was also fascinated, and I'm still thinking about this, that of all Rowling's characters, she chose Snape to embody undying love. He paid a high price for love, and loved deeply, but never could quite allow himself to "break out of Azkaban" so to speak. We pay prices, but with a little courage we can summon a Patronus to deal with the dementors that keep us in our Azkabans. Snape's dementor, what he feared the most, was himself (self-loathing). And isn't it poetic that his Patronus (Lily) was the only one who, through offering her friendship, taught him to love himself. He loved her because she truly WAS his Patronus--when he was with Lily, he was okay.

Enough already.

July 26, 2007 at 04:21 AM · Maybe it's the half-bottle of Petit Verdot I just polished off with the homemade ravioli, but am I the only one who thinks that Kimberlee has overlooked her true vocation as an English Lit professor?

(For what it's worth, I'm a geek. Spent a day tying up loose ends by surfing from book to book trying to tie every clue in with its actual application. Or revelation. Or whatever the correct word is that the wine is currently making me forget.)

July 26, 2007 at 04:33 AM · I WANT a kreacher in my household!

July 26, 2007 at 05:54 AM · "Michael Avagliano

Posted on July 24, 2007 at 5:00 AM (MST)

The only ones who had to wait in lines here in the States were us crazies who _had_ to pick it up at midnight exactly...

The only plot question that's been running through my mind after reading the entire series (and enjoying every minute of it) is: if the Dursleys were such horrible people, why couldn't Dumbledore have placed Harry with Lily's parents instead of her sister? Presumably they're still alive, but they are never mentioned in any meaningful way. Wouldn't it have been better for him, since they accepted that Lily was a witch and Petunia never did?"

It wouldn't have brought out the incredible bias on all sides (Harry is supposed to be abnormal because he's a magician), also Harry doesn't hate them so much that he aquires a prejudism against muggles as Voldemort does. This balances things out again. Incidently, Jo Rowling had said that someone was going to acquire magic powers late in life and that we would find out what it was that Dudley had seen when the dementors were attacking him (his worst memory). None of this is in the book so it's quite possible that she was going to put in the book that Dudley actually has some memory of having magical abilities and that this was what he remembered when the dementors confronted him with his worst memory. That would have been quite hilarious but I noticed that JO's editors (as is common now adays) bother her about going on tangents when I believe her tangents are the most wonderful thing. Book 4 with Winky drinking Butterbeer out of sorrow for what happened to her master and her character coming out more (just because she's a character not because she had to be part of some diabolical plot that makes your hair stand on end and grabs you by the neck hurling you through the whole book at an insomniac pace). Book 5 also had more detours but then the whole plot thing takes over. If you go to her site. www.jkrowling.com somewhere she has or at least used to have edits that were removed. If you click on the hairbrush at her site you will get to a place which has edits. There's one Mopsy the dog lover listed there she left out because her editor asked her to. I would disagree with that.

A Dudley suddenly having magical abilities(which shall not be acknowledged) and then having to deal with the whole situation (um "He who shall not be name" and such) would be in one word: Hilarious. It might have been a bit too much however. What he would make of it now after book 7 might not be so disruptive but the books are over she says. I'm completely assuming about Dudley of course.

She did spend time telling people that things would be revealed that weren't.

July 26, 2007 at 05:52 AM · "Maura Gerety

Posted on July 25, 2007 at 5:57 PM (MST)

Ohhh, is THAT what that weird, mutilated thing in Kings Cross was??"

Yes... Voldemort was abandoned by his mother and the baby is left there under a seat, unwanted and left out of sight. Voldemort's skin was raw and rough, frayed looking... needing to be touched seems to be....I think the lack of love in comparison to Harry's first year is obvious.

JK Rowling has as one of her charities http://www.chlg.org/ where they are tryking to prevent such neglect of children.

Sorry I hadn't noticed that Kimberly responded already, that was a wonderful response.

Bother Hitler and Stalin had comparibly horrible youths where basic attention was missing (plus in their cases a father who was VERY violent, Hitler was in a coma for three days after one beating by his father).

It's curious that Dumbledore would say that there is nothing that can be done "you cannot help" is the first thing he says to Harry there.

I have to say I disagree again, but that would have been a completely different story. I would say that at that level of consciousness one can help heal emotional wounds (a consciousness beyond the physical and yet part of it), but that's a completely different magic then dragon's blood, wands and killing curses. What's going on in a society which doesn't recognize such wounds and why wasn't Hitler allowed into art school? What has art become? The reason Hitler didn't get into art schol was because he couldn't draw human beings and rather than seeing he needed some help there (what is the condition of being human to a boy who has only seen violence and neglect) he was again made to feel inferior. Had he gone to an art school which recognized the real spiritual energy of art to help heal emotional wounds, things would have been different.

I hope JK Rowling's books point out to people what happens when there is such neglect and um.... check out her charity.http://www.chlg.org/

I was very happy that Harry never tried to kill Voldemort or anyone else. Somewhere along the line I think in creation (in reality) the wounds are all healed....Does Merope finally pick up her son from this neglected place she left him out of sight after he dies? I would hope that's what happens.

July 26, 2007 at 05:56 AM · "From Gerard Tan

Posted on July 25, 2007 at 9:33 PM (MST)

I WANT a kreacher in my household!"

Open the book again.


You still don't see him?

He's still not part of your household?

He's got to be SOMEWHERE!

If it get's to be a really needy situation, anything will do of course.

July 26, 2007 at 06:37 AM · muggles rule

July 26, 2007 at 02:17 PM · I spent the entire weekend reading and finished Sunday. Here are my two cents: (Spoilers below)

Favorite Parts:

Dudley is a sweet little boy

Kreacher is a friendly elf/rallying other elves

McGonagall leading the charge in the Battle of Hogwarts

Hermione sacrificing her family and using the memory charm

Snape's thoughts ( so sad!), and especially sad how Snape gets one last look at Lily's eyes before dying

Ron's return after abandoning them and Hermione's "warm" reception

Didn't Like:

Not enough Luna, Ginny, and Neville (3 of my favorite characters... I guess there was a bit of Neville at the end)

Epilogue- so Neville becomes a teacher, what about Harry, Hermione, Ron? how is George doing? :sad:

Random deaths- Lupin & Tonks? Colin? Whattttt are you kidding me? Why?

Too much tents booo

Overall it was amazing, and I was so depressed after reading it because I feel like I've lost all my Hogwarts buddies... can't believe the series is over =(

July 26, 2007 at 06:18 PM · Roelof,

Yeah, that was one of the loose ends I noticed too--what happened to Harry's grandparents? It's not really important to the story, but I guess it's one of those things she doesn't choose to elaborate on, so we just have to accept that they are dead as we are told that Petunia is his only living relation.

Voldemort was neglected, but so was Harry--there was a lovely line about that, something like: "Voldemort, Harry, Snape--the abandoned boys."

In psychology, I was taught that neglect translates into rage and that a large percentage of prison inmates were neglected as children. On the other hand, what constitutes true neglect is certainly a gray issue as is personal accountability. I would say that Harry is a good example of one who discovers true freedom--making a choice and being completely accountable for that choice. Imho, much of Dumbledore's intention centers around preparing Harry to truly make his own decision and take the reigns of his own destiny. I'm learning a great deal about teaching the violin as I ponder Rowling's Dumbledore character.

Emil--hope you enjoyed that wine, buddy. I'm sure my blabber sounds better that way. I don't know what is wrong with me. I can't ever read strictly for plot.

July 26, 2007 at 07:00 PM · My friend finished it in one 19-hour sitting. She stayed up all night.

July 26, 2007 at 07:39 PM · A question I had was - is it now permittable to use the Unforgivable Curses? Like when Harry was in Gringotts?

July 26, 2007 at 09:12 PM · That's another thing Harry had to grapple with, wasn't it? It was always possible to perform the unfogivable curses, but the decision to use them or not--the moral question--whether or not to, that's a murkier matter, and I'm so glad J.K. thought to take Harry through that difficult journey.

"The Greater Good" is definitely a two-edge sword. Making a decision like that is kind of like playing the last page of Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso--close your eyes, dive in, hold on and hope for the best.

July 26, 2007 at 09:22 PM · Using an unforgivable on another human is a life sentence to Azkaban.

But at Gringotts, they're just goblins, really.

July 26, 2007 at 09:47 PM · Kimberly.

What I said was that Harry did have a mother's touch the first year of his life. Voldemort's skin (at King's Cross) appears to have suffered from not having the touch he needed as a child. "Psychology" will teach you about that as well I think.

Harry's mother didn't abandon him. I can only imagine what it would be like to be a little child and feel like an unwanted object. In fact I have helped someone like this and have seen the devestation such feelings can cause!

I think perhaps J K Rowling is trying to point this out as she does with her charity work I listed earlier.

Perhaps the whole saga will help some would have been Voldemort see that he has some emotional wounds that are getting in the way of him seeing what's on and what isn't.

July 26, 2007 at 09:55 PM · " Luke Liu

Posted on July 26, 2007 at 2:22 PM (MST)

Using an unforgivable on another human is a life sentence to Azkaban.

But at Gringotts, they're just goblins, really. "

Liu shame on you.

And on the other side "they're just muggles."

Or "they're just house elves."

Or "they're just those animals in the forest that look like horses."

July 27, 2007 at 04:26 AM · I can see why you interpret the mutilation of his soul as neglect. That is a lovely and compassionate reading of the text. My take--the mutilation to his soul represents the natural result of splitting one's soul seven times. That was the choice Voldemort made. Ironically, Voldemort was so concerned about achieving immortality that he destroyed the one part of himself that truly was immortal--his soul.

Oh, and I think Luke was speaking sarcastically, not literally. Glad I've got a place to talk about the book. After I finish these books I'm always busting to talk about it and find out what everyone else is thinking.

July 26, 2007 at 11:04 PM · Harry Potter has something to do with a boy with dark hair and round glasses, and spells or something. Am I right?

July 27, 2007 at 02:35 AM · Roelof, Voldemort appeared as a mutilated, destroyed baby because of all the terrible crimes he had committed (and which had *literally* destroyed his soul), not because he had a rough childhood. Beethoven had a rough childhood too, and rather than become a mass murderer, he became one of the greatest artists in the history of the western world and has given joy to billions.

Voldemort (and Hitler and Stalin, for Chrissakes) were not sweet, innocent helpless little things pushed into evil by an uncaring world and a sick society, make no mistake, they CHOSE to do the things they did. People do have free will, no?

July 27, 2007 at 03:42 AM · Lord of the Rings is better than Harry Potter and Star Wars

July 27, 2007 at 08:39 AM · Maury I dont agree with your interpretation. When Voldemort was a baby he was neglected, he didn't have the motherly touch which a child needs and that part of his soul remained damaged.

You can get exasperated as much as you want when someone simply has a different outlook and say things like:

"Voldemort (and Hitler and Stalin, for Chrissakes) were not sweet, innocent helpless little things pushed into evil by an uncaring world and a sick society, make no mistake, they CHOSE to do the things they did. People do have free will, no?"

in the mean time using Christ's name as some sort of colorful expletive when he himself saw the human part of everyone.

And you go on with your whole diatribe which I have seen for months now as if one has to interfere with something that can take care of itself in order to cause a problem that is blamed on something else.

Fight all your self righteous wars, act like people who see the true cause of the problems are just wrong and forget to look that your holy society and all it's rules has for the duration it has lasted completely failed to correct the problems that occur time and time again in the form of the fascists and serial confusion bred by it's need for violence and the inherent damage to the human condition it causes and the lack of compassion for even children that it causes the way it damages people's self worth and their instincts. You seem to insist that someone, who is so emotionally damaged that they can't remember that love is there nor have the ability to trust, is going to be repaired into correct behavior by the very same fear based intimidation which caused the insensitivity which caused his or her neglect!

As to Beethoven, he had music and that is art and that heals the soul.

I'm really not interested in being part of your war Maura, it's your problem.

So you'll see why there's no response whether it's me Beethoven or who have you.

July 27, 2007 at 05:21 AM · Kimberly, I thought perhaps Liu was being sarcastic too, but I couldn't let that go...he he

Um, I think really Harry is the teacher. He came from a world beyond Dumbledore and Voldemort and knew things neither of them did. He is the once who discards the Elder Wand because it's too much trouble and can only perpetuate the cycle of violence as any weapon does.

A real school of magic is as little susceptible to the attacks of Voldemort and such things as that a human being can breath under water. Could he breath under water that would be a miracle, but no such miracle will ever become the source for the supposed need for a war to defend this school. Rather, that magic can only exist for healing. Harry tapped into that and perhaps showed J K Rowling something about it and what love is and magic. It's curious that she says that Harry came to her on a train and that the place where he ends up inbetween death and life is Kings Cross which is a train station....

I have to say that I find her whole war unreal. In fact I would say it is make believe rather than imagined. I also didn't like a lot of the violence in Quidditch and such. What Harry does is another matter and that portrays something more real to me. And it's a light that shines out throughout the book beyond any belief in war.

Harry is very much like Petrouchka or like Til In Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche of Richard Strauss in that he challenges death.

I agree about Snape. J K Rowling said in her interview this morning on the TODAY show that she didn't think Snape was a hero. She thought he did brave things but she didn't think he was a hero. Yet, the whole transcendence of Harry to make a different decision as to keeping the Elder Wand wouldn't have happened without Snape and his faith. And Snape was a hero in that he gave Harry his own thoughts so Harry could see what truly was going on in the pensieve (and it's not clear that Dumbledore wanted Harry to know this, that he needed to "die" in order for his soul to be free: in Petrouchka and Til these things also happen but there is no returning to the body). I don't think Snape's behavior was just part of something necessary to the plot so that the reader could know what was going on, him giving Harry his thoughts as his last living act was heroic!

I think you should read War and Peace by Tolstoy also, then you will perhaps see that war isn't this fairy tale quest of winning and losing. War is the epression of a society or societies desensitized to what the condition of being human really is and attempting to resurrect humanity by officiating the killing off of compassion and excusing violence.

As I have said already, music and art is something different, it does change things, it does work. And it is perhaps the only thing that will work the way things are going. People need to find that they are human rather than that their identity relies on being part of a system which says it's necessary to kill people in order to honor what life is about.

Art on the other hand shows the memory of life which art is about.

July 27, 2007 at 06:00 AM · Jeez Roelof I was sure I was the king of the run-on sentence! :).

July 27, 2007 at 08:35 AM · Kimberly

Now I remember!

Yes, The Harry Potter which Dumbledore told that the poor abandoned truly hurt wretch (left under a chair out of view) was nothing he could help: yes that particular Harry told Voldemort to have remorse because he saw what he would become otherwise. Then, he could become whole Hermione had already taught Harry – if he had remorse.

Harry says

Think and try for some remorse Riddle, It's your one last chance, it's all you've got left Iv'e seen what you'll become otherwise. Be a man try Try for some remorse.

And then he actually tries to explain to Voldemort what will happen if he tries to kill him with the wand that has become his already.

The same Harry who Dumbledore encouraged to want to fight against Voldemort even if he would die as long as he could take so many Death Eaters with him. And the same Dumbledore who told Snape that if Voldemort killed Harry that the horcrux connection would be gone and Voldemort would be mortal again. The same Dumbledore who put on the resurrection stone and doomed himself to be killed by Snape.

Is that like enough already!

You know a plant grows to the light just because it's there. It doesn't decide to grow to the light it just does. If you put this plant in a cage where it can't reach the light it can't reach the light as little as a helpless child can walk off and find parents that will give it the love it needs to remember what love is when it's identity is challenged. Leaving the plant in the cage where it can't find the light and then deciding that the plant can decide to find the light or not... and then call it evil when you think it makes the wrong choice! Well, there you have it: It sits there like Lord Voldemort till someone takes it out of the cage! But don't touch it says Dumbledore, he doesn't exist says the ministry of magic, etc. etc.

No, I don't think that someone like Harry in the end, after seeing what Voldemort was turned into and couldn't transcend, I don't think Harry could judge Voldemort as being evil, otherwise Harry wouldn't have been spared from making the same mistakes. And Harry leaves Voldemort or rather Tom Malvolio Riddle to be taken in by powers which can heal his wound when he finds himself crying out for love there in between worlds, as any baby does who is abandoned.

And now why can't that happen on the earth!?

July 27, 2007 at 02:23 PM · Roelof: let's keep this an intellectual discussion and not descend into insults and name-calling, shall we?

The problem with your interpretation is that it essentially absolves someone like Voldemort (or, being serious, Hitler, Stalin or Vlad the Impaler) for all their crimes, by blaming external circumstances for everything. Like I said before, many people have had unhappy, even tragic childhoods, and they didn't all grow up to be mass murderers. Also, you shoot down my example of Beethoven by saying that his art saved him from becoming evil--well, how does young Hitler, the painter, fit into that?

So basically, the way I hear it, what you are essentially saying is "Oh, we can't blame Stalin for those 20 million innocent people he killed in the gulags--after all, his father was mean to him."

July 27, 2007 at 09:32 PM · Snape is a complex character. He could have BEEN Voldemort, the circumstances were right--he was a talented and creative magician, he was spurned by society and parents, but it's interesting that the love of Lily Evans saved him from that. Still, his heart could never quite open wide enough to really let her in, which was the tragic flaw in Snape's character. But, this is not Snape's story--though perhaps, after death he may have his heroic moment (recognition, catharsis etc..) And, as Luke pointed out earlier, there might have been a moment in which he was able to transcend just a bit when he looked at Lily's eyes through Harry just before dying.

Dumbledore is also a complex character, and yes, he is far from ideal. His fallability, oddly enough, is part of what helps Harry in the end--didn't you see that Roelof? Harry had to learn not to trust Dumbledore because he was perfect, but to trust Dumbledore in spite of the fact that he wasn't. Within that leap came the most important step--learning to trust himself.

Part of the maturation process is learning to make an enlightened choice (But, oh the struggle for enlightenment! We need all the teachers we can get for that). There's nothing wrong with blind obedience, but part of Harry's growth was coming to the realization that Dumbledore couldn't save him, that Dumbledore was not all powerful, and that Harry had to make this decision for himself. Had he followed Dumbledore blindly without earning his own knowledge (Hallows vs. Horcrux), things would have turned out very differently. As a teacher, I realize I am far from perfect. I am no more than a learner--and you are right, we learn together--the student is a teacher, the teacher is a student. I think that describes Dumbledore's mindset. He had so many pieces of the puzzle that were essential for Harry's growth, but Dumbledore realized early on that Harry's only chance for survival against Voldemort was in his own independent struggle. Instead of trying to "manage" Harry as if casting an imperius curse, he made Harry earn his own knowlege. Harry had to struggle for his own conclusions, and imho, that is what saved Harry. As a violin teacher, the aspect I appreciate in the character Dumbledore, is his willingness to let go of Harry, to have faith in him and to trust him. I hope I can do as much for my students.

In any case, isn't Rowling brilliant? Her books read me.

July 27, 2007 at 07:18 PM · Kimberly Dumbledore did try to manage Harry. He thought that Severus would end up with the elder wand and kill Voldemort after Harry was dead and the horcrux connection was over with. He intended Harry to be killed and that is why he encouraged Harry when he expressed the desire to fight to the death in book 5 in the broom closet.

It's only because Dumbledore's plan didn't work that Snape didn't end up with the wand.

Harry's real teacher was love, The love that a mother has. That's what saved him from death.

July 27, 2007 at 07:16 PM · Maura what I am saying is that a society which values people rather than weapons doesn't create such monster as Stalin.

Hitler wasn't allowed to enter the art academy because he couldn't draw people. There was a reason he couldn't draw people this was for a valid emotional reason given his youth. I think he would have found healing in art perhaps. Even if Hitler had become a Wagner (who he adored) and used his imagination to create operas which try to propogandize anti semeticism in a covert way. even then Hitler would have been something else then a Politician which created the wave of violence he did. If all forms of art were seen as a healing energy then the whole approach to them at an institutional level would also bring out such emotional wounds (and Hitler and Wagner might have discovered why they had such hatred and prejudism) in a way that they would heal: then, society would have to be different also to have such institutions.

It's not impossible to say Lord Voldemort might learn to understand his own devestating hatred of muggles and half bloods if he would understand it comes from being abandoned as a child and this is a Universal problem in society. He might actually change thought pattern in general as to how people get the way they do. That's a completely different magic though. Who's to say that the magic which spared Harry didn't at the same time bring Voldemort someplace where he could find the love he never had and that beyond that there is a Universal energy where there is no seperation between anyone.

In the end I think the greatest problem IS Stalin's guilt because it's just that which makes him so violent. Someone repeats the same pattern over and over again because he hates himself so much he makes himself into something everyone hates and fears make believing he loves having such power and that gives him an identity.

There is forgiveness:

I'm not saying that that's having yourself tortured to death and glorifying it. I'm saying that's deciding to stop perpetuating the cycle of violence rather than deciding to indulge in feeling the pain. There's is a place you can call home that's beyond all that violence.

Both the hero and the villain indulge in feeling the pain in a war. The one doesn't know how he's hurt and wants to inflict that pain on everyone and the other is hurt because of the damage done when someone has no outlet for their emotional wounds.

Also, people go on about Stalin and Hitler so much and I use that example because their youth is known but there were much worse massacres of people completely overlooked. The United States is founded on the massacre of 60 million indigenous people who were truly wiped out systematically. They were seen as either having to be subordinate to the exploitive whims of the invaders or to be exterminated. The same Washington whose troops were given food by them so they wouldn't starve at Valley Forge ordered his people to burn their crops when they wouldn't submit to being controlled by the invaders.

I'm not saying that such people (Stalin Hitler and worse) are hurt children and send all the Girl Scouts to help them as if they can be picked up and cuddled. I'm just trying to offer the cause of the problem.

July 27, 2007 at 07:20 PM · Okay, Roelof, you win. This is beyond me.

July 27, 2007 at 07:51 PM · I guess there's two sides: There is the side of Dumbledore that just wants to be supportive of Harry but there is the side which is calculated.

He also doesn't tell Harry about the prophesy and that that's the weapon Voldemort is looking for, and he himself says helped to cause Sirius' death.

Dumbledore himself says that he was too overprotective. He caused a lot of problems in his youth being overprotective of those he loved and the guilt is what surrounds his death in the end when he puts on the resurrection stone thinking he would see his loved ones again....and it's curse.....

Dumbledore isn't incapable of overlooking disruptive rules when people might find their own answer however.

July 27, 2007 at 07:34 PM · Kimberly you said "In any case, isn't Rowling brilliant? Her books read me."

Read many people:

Read Dickens and Chaucer and Shakespeare and the Bronte sisters and Thomas Hardy and George Eliot and Virginia Woolf and Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman and William Golding and um

Read and Read and Read

There's no greater textbook to history and the human condition

July 27, 2007 at 10:50 PM · You want human condition? Read Chekhov and Dostoyevsky. ;-)

July 28, 2007 at 07:33 AM · Greetings,

anybody else cautious about the similarity between Gringotts and Gringolt?

Bad Dobby

July 28, 2007 at 10:40 AM · I agree, Kimberlee, except that I think there's plenty wrong with blind obedience. I think Rowling draws the line between individual responsibility and societal responsibility in just the right place. Blaming "society" and a neglectful childhood for a person's evil choices is wrong, but so is letting societal institutions and authorities off the hook by blaming all evil on individual choice. Many of the characters made bad choices and could have been like Voldemort or Grindelwald--Snape, Draco, even Dumbledore. But acts of love, friendship, and basic human kindness helped them make better choices. Tom Riddle made such evil choices that he took it a step beyond everyone else, and couldn't be helped. But he wouldn't have ever been anything but a pathetic baby unless other people followed him and helped him and became death eaters. So I guess I think that Roelof has a point, not because Tom Riddle could have necessarily been saved by a better childhood, but because love and kindness could have--and eventually did--enable other people to make better choices and defeat him.

July 29, 2007 at 12:27 AM · Well, Karen, that was a beautiful post, well thought out and expressed clearly.

Blind obedience. Hmmm . . . we rely on that don't we? I mean, a child must often trust his parents when they tell him not to run into the street. When we teach the violin, we have to give the child a structure, which they follow for discipline's sake, and because they trust their teacher. At some point, they gain independence, but, I think they earn that as they are ready. Much of that readiness comes from trust and obedience to authority figures.

I don't disagree with Roelof, and I think social responsibility is every bit as valuable as personal responsibility. It seems, as you so aptly pointed out, you can't have one without the other.

July 28, 2007 at 03:07 PM · Buri, I've sure noticed...every time it said "Gringotts" I had to blink a few times quickly and shake my head a bit. (Where IS Ilya, anyway??)

July 29, 2007 at 01:10 AM · Lord of the rings, imo, is much better than harry potter (the books and the movie).

July 29, 2007 at 06:58 PM · Here are a few reasons why I have put off reading any Harry Potter:










The New Yorker

The Economist

The Atlantic


Wilson Quarterly

New York Times

Charles Rosen

Harold Schonberg

John McFee



George Elliot

Jared Diamond

Steven Jay Gould



July 29, 2007 at 10:08 PM · I read the latest Harry Potter book over several days. I took my time, did some other things including other readings, and completely enjoyed the book.

I love to read books that reinforce the idea that goodness in all forms is better than badness and that the goal never justifies the means.

July 29, 2007 at 10:12 PM · What is the connection between violin and the potter.

If with potter you mean the dealer of pot there is a connection with violin a drug or liquor threads. probably

July 30, 2007 at 01:21 AM · Barbara Tuckman

Annie Proulx

Stephen Ambrose


Saul Bellow

Salmon Rushdie

Kazaburo Oe

Virginia Woolf




Ok, Maybe not Kant.

July 30, 2007 at 01:27 AM · C'mon. Everyone knows Harry Potter isn't Great Literature on par with the likes of Tolstoy, Voltaire, Balzac, Chekhov, Shakespeare, etc. etc. etc. Does that make it less worth reading? It's the dog days of summer and J.K. Rowling tells a damn good story!

But in the interest of full disclosure, here are the authors I have been reading lately: Boris Pasternak, Elizabeth Kostova, Sandor Marai, Vaclav Havel, Florence King, Adam Mickiewicz, Sandor Petofi, Istvan Deak, Alexander Pushkin......AND J.K. Rowling. ;-)

July 30, 2007 at 08:59 PM · Oh yea if anyone hasn't read this article, it's really good and rowling explains what happens to the characters after hogwarts...


July 30, 2007 at 10:11 PM · Scott, "Falkner" has a "u" in his name somewhere. And what, no Cicero???

Also, Young Gerety, if you haven't already, check out the spy thrillers by Alan Furst. They are a good fun read, and most are set in...Eastern Europe!

Oh, yes, "Harry Potter". My oldest niece has started to read the novels. So I asked her, "Sweetie, do you like the books or the movies better?"...She replied, "The movies!". Sigh.

August 2, 2007 at 01:27 AM · Kimberly:

Going back to Dumbledore:

It seems that Dumbledore did actually have a notion that Harry wouldn't or couldn't be killed by Voldemort after Voldemort had some of Harry's blood in him (book four). I remember Dumbuleedoor (as the French would say) reacted to the news of Voldemort having Harry's blood in a manner which made Harry think he saw a gleam of something like Triumph in his eyes. Then Dumbledore sat down looking old and tired Harrry noticed. Voldemort actually thought that Harry's blood would make him stronger than other people's blood!? This is what kept Harry alive however.......

I think the wand is very interesting, how Harry's wand having been made from one of two feathers that Dumbledore's phoenix gave for wands (the other was the wand give to "we know who"), this wand then took on Harry's goodness and Voldemort's skill or power. It seems though that this wand had to be destroyed for awhile for two reasons

1) So that Harry would acquire the wand of the person who the Elder wand had chosen and

2) So that perhaps he would stay out of trouble a bit for awhile and not get to eager with something that had taken on something of Voldmort.

Voldmort's Horcrux's had to be destroyed but it seems that Harry's wand sort of went out of knack almost by itself (thanks to Hermione's Confringo spell). The same goodness that saved Harry stepped back and sort of let "all hell break loose" (ie I at first spelled this "all hell break lose" and had to edit it LOL) till things were so ridiculous that there was a place left for Harry's goodness.

If you carefully read Rowling I think you will see that in the end Love was the ONLY answer and all the rest was unecessary or showed just that namely "Only Love has the answer."

August 2, 2007 at 01:33 AM · JK Rowling herself mentioned on her Website Authors that I found I loved as well (Edith Nesbit and William Golding)

She herself says read read read

August 2, 2007 at 02:22 AM · Oh and Maura, I did check out that book you mentioned from the library The Good Soldier Schwiek. it's HYSTERICAL!

I didn't get to finish it though, will have to try another time....

Does he get put in jail for suggesting that a fly could poop on the Emperor's portrait?

And he wasn't even tortured!?

I think things now adays are just muck anyhow.

I long for the time of Marie Antoinette when pundits were punished properly.

Why would anyone want to reincarnate from the good old days!?

People now adays say whatever just pops into their head (even about poop)....

I just wish that Jaroslav Hasek had finished the story so I could see that Schweik (or Sjvek the foul pacifist) was properly punished!

I guess I'll have to wait FOREVER!

November 30, 2007 at 07:55 PM · Schwiek, I'm reading about him again. I was just kidding of course that I hate pacifists...

Also looked at Harry Potter movie again (with the tournament); and, I have to say it's real genius ,in the subsequent, books how she made me think that Dumbledore wasn't dead – you'll have to read it to find out whether he is. I actually – my friend who I was sure was Dumbledore – I had to avoid letting him know how happy he made me. I guess I somehow knew we would be separated....sad still. I just felt rather like Chopin losing his favorite student, Carl Filch, to some disease.

Sorry for my temper tantrums...I'm sure I made more than a few people feel like complete inanimate jerks...not that I'm proud of it mind you.

November 30, 2007 at 09:17 PM · I had some nice people stop by my place and gave me the "Watchtower & Awake" Magazines! Then two nice boys came by and left me the "Book Of Mormon". What an odd day!

December 2, 2007 at 06:21 PM · Well, this is a true story (despite that the people who think they raised me would look at me unsettled if I tried to tell them.)

A friend of mine, she had a get together with friends frequently. There was a mystery guest. Shorty after this, my friend woke up to find herself three feet up off of her bed. After settling down back into her bed, she called the person who had brought the mystery guest:

The mysterious clue my friend had yet to find out was:

The mystery guest was a psychiatrist.

December 2, 2007 at 09:25 PM · I'm confused.

December 2, 2007 at 10:48 PM · its easier to understna din Hungarian.

December 3, 2007 at 03:33 AM · Mara, come on!

You don't think the psychiatrist was my friends bed without her knowing it do you!?

Or in it it or whatever.....

typos you wnant

December 3, 2007 at 03:36 AM · István, sajnos még nem értem...

December 3, 2007 at 04:12 AM · Stephen, your sandwiches make me hurt?

December 3, 2007 at 04:14 AM · Gasp, with this weather it's understandable.

Further more, my friend had to like sort of ...like swallow a bit to get back down to where the mattress was.

December 3, 2007 at 04:24 AM · Mara, one thing I've had like that is when a yellow kitchen rag (which could also be considered a dish rag or towel) came flying at me to hit me between my ankle and knee. You see the ankle is one joint and then the knee the next and the third would be above those but....are there insects which have one which would be in-between our ankle and knee as well as the hip joints?

This gives another meaning to that jelly legs spell....didn't work on me though.

I'm not insect or na-sick-om-oy-yeah

December 3, 2007 at 04:25 AM · Actually István, it meant "unfortunately I still don't understand." But I like the sandwich idea...

Roelof, I think your metaphors are a touch too Symbolist for me...

December 3, 2007 at 04:28 AM · well, considering that Nasa thinks it knows the distance to the moon. Would one have to have cloven feet and an extra joint to know for sure...whether anyone has really been to this virgin moon territory or not?

December 3, 2007 at 04:44 AM · Cripes...when you think about it enough, how do we know ANY of this exists? Maybe we're all floating in pods of pink goo and hooked up to a giant sinister computer that's making us THINK the real world exists as is...

December 3, 2007 at 04:55 AM · Well, the computer I MYSELF see that has pink goo also has lots of metal coming out it. The hoses which one sees coming out of sinks with an extra nozzle. In fact, I don't know why one would call this a computer, it looks more like an upside down sink with one too many limbs. Maybe this is what happens when you take the 10 pipers piping and add two of the 9 drummers drumming. Then (with the 12 lords a leaping), you get 2 groups of 12 each male creatures with limb like devices...

December 3, 2007 at 05:08 AM · Of course the 7 drummers drumming (it is a bit obvious with the number 69 at large that one would have 9 pipers piping, thus these are drummers instead) – this would make it more like 7 dudes a dunkin left over. I suppose.

Drummers drumming, dudes a dunking...

excuse me here I turned into Nicholas Nicklby's mother from of course Charles Dickens Nicholas Nickleby

December 3, 2007 at 04:54 AM · We're not all pink! But I suppose we are all goo.

December 3, 2007 at 05:02 AM · Yes, but I am concerned (if you read the books) about poor Ronald and that brain thing with tentacles that gets at him.... book 5 in the 35th chapter, Beyond the Veil

brain... pink....

December 3, 2007 at 05:10 AM · Mara, I think you described it better with pods. Me with my autism because of the mercury in my mouth, I must have been thinking of the dentist and all of thos metal hoses.

December 5, 2007 at 06:01 AM · Well, at least Ronald isn't worrying about that pussy of Hermione anymore, the one that supposedly ate Scabbers and was a man eating in it's past incarnation I'm sure!

December 5, 2007 at 06:06 AM · Do you have ANY idea how much of a double-entendre you just made with the first half of that sentence....*childish snicker*...

December 5, 2007 at 07:37 PM · Mara it was supposed to say a Man eating tiger....

really I forgot to put the word tiger in evidently

December 6, 2007 at 02:57 AM · Uh, that was the *last* thing I was thinking of...

December 6, 2007 at 11:44 AM · LOL. no I wasn't referring to the pied piper eating all of the rats...

I do have to say, that since I mentioned spirits and such, and spiritual mediums: you have to be really careful with mediums. The one who ended up being put into a trance by Mozart's mother was like Lord Voldemoort or something. He was relaying info by mouth and he was doubting the information so she put him in a trance – so she could be a bit clearer. Then, he said he had never felt so much love between two beings as between me and her; then, I was told he was blown away by it; and then, after a year, he started being so devious it's not mentionable how funny it is (and don't get me started on Brad Pitt's antics either...there's as little space to fill up with that as it would be were I not being extremely mild about Dylana Jenson's behavior).

And Voldemoort was blown away by love too – you see – so be extremely careful what kind of people you would get involved with would you want to contact spirits.

December 6, 2007 at 01:38 PM · That reminds me...next time you talk to Chopin, tell him to say hi to Liszt for me.

December 6, 2007 at 08:01 PM · Mara, unfortunately, I think Chopin is having a duel. By the time that he comes out of it, he will have fainted; George will have poked a hole in someone with that stick like device which smoke comes from; and, it will be such a talk that Liszt will stay completely clear of it since he's had enough attention already.

Next time he puts his gnarly old hand on me, I'll let you know: it's a real killer.

Let's see if we can increase the glissade.

December 7, 2007 at 02:52 AM · Come now, that's a scene from "Impromptu"!

December 7, 2007 at 06:05 AM · Yeah sure "impromptu."

You guys are so gay you're lying to me all the time anyhow, I thought I'd just kick in a bit.

Actually the truth is

Chopin on fainting at the duel:

"well wouldn't you?"

December 7, 2007 at 07:29 PM · NO, I wouldn't, I'd like um, think that something to do with Trelawney or so would......


And since this is inevitably never enough:

You can also try the French Academy...


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