I didn’t bawl this time. The first time I read the novel, I noticed a lot, and I should emphasize a lot, of classic mythic themes. Chapter nineteen is especially rife with traditional British archetypes. Harry Potter’s journey from orphan boy to hero aligns itself flawlessly with Joseph Campbell’s Hero With a Thousand Faces. I can easily see how Christians would be both thrilled with the series and off-put by some of the things that are said. (Eventually, the quotes I’ve collected from this novel will manifest on my regular blog and it will be easy to see which would be offensive.)
The themes of redemption and friendship continue to develop and there are more losses, much beloved characters included. And some characters, who have yet had an opportunity to truly shine, prove themselves to be just as courageous as any of the expected heroes. Life and death and love—the novels are an invitation for much discussion and even meditation. I had to remind myself time and time again that these were written for children, more so in the later novels.
Character development and the pacing of the narrative are nearly flawless. And I can’t really say too much more lest I give away more than I had intended. Suffice it to say, the movies do a good job of telling the story, adding scenes to flesh out where the novels themselves become more expositional. Of course, I don’t mind the exposition. I like to get inside the character’s heads, to feel and think along with them. I don’t have a single complaint. Well, maybe. Maybe I could complain that the series came to an end although I knew it would happen.
Full disclosure: I did tear up a few times. Not even the same place when, the first time I was reading it, I had to close the book because I couldn’t read through my tears. I had more emotional self-control this time. Yes, I got tears in my eyes but I never had to stop reading altogether.