Pop Culture Gadabout
Sunday, August 19, 2007
      ( 8/19/2007 07:34:00 AM ) Bill S.  


POTTERMINIA – As I noted in my discussion of travels in New Mexico, I finished the penultimate Harry Potter book (Half-Blood Prince) on the train ride down: after wanly slogging through the first 250 pages or so, riding coach through the boring Illinois and Missouri prairie was just what I needed to push me further along into the book. For all the talk about J.K. Rowling's gifts as a storyteller, I've always found her utilitarian writing style more than a little off-putting, particularly in the extensive passages leading up to each book’s slam-bang action set-pieces. I've also grown pretty impatient with the fact that, even after five years and increased lionization as the "chosen one," Harry still can't convince either friends or teachers that his suspicions are worth looking into. Granted, the lad's occasional displays of young teen dickishness (believably captured by Rowling) can get in the way of his attempts at having his message heard, but still . . .

That noted, once we got past the build-up and the curiously uninvolving mystery of the Half-Blood Prince's identity to the part of the story where Dumbledore and Harry go off searching for their first Horcrux (Was there a hint that these things even existed before this book? Cause it sure seems like there should've been!), the book took hold and didn't let go until its believably downbeat conclusion. Have to admire Rowling's dogged commitment to her story, even if it sometimes comes across too sternly serious for its own good. Considering the usual publishing schedule, it won't be another year until the final volume appears as a big thick Scholastic paperback and I'll be, maybe not eager, but definitely ready to read it. By then, I should've forgotten most of this summer's Spoilers . . .
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Pop cultural criticism - plus the occasional egocentric socio/political commentary by Bill Sherman (popculturegadabout AT yahoo.com).



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