On Saturday I went to K-Mart. The Book was sold out. Dymocks next, and they were sold out too. So I went to Borders and there was a queue like it was a music festival with only one portaloo. Sod this, I thought to myself, it’s only a fairly average children’s story! So I went home. The next day, having chastised myself for not queueing for the rest of Saturday, I slunk back to Borders. I was rewarded as there was no queue and plenty of copies left.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

So, now I’ve read the most anticipated novel of our time. I’m not going to review it in any detail or give anything away that will spoil it for those of you that haven’t read it yet, but I’d thought I’d share some overall impressions on it.

It’s more of the same, naturally, and all the loose ends that you might need tying up do get tied up. It’s dark, as all the books have been getting progressively darker, and the casualty count is high. Given where the story was headed, there needed to be a lot of fallen warriors along the way for the story to keep its integrity. There’s also a slight increase in the use of language too, so parents may want to be advised about that. Ron has taken to saying “effing”, for example. Quite tame really, but maybe not when you need to explain what it means to a ten year old. Especially when you need to tell them not to repeat it at school. “But, Sir, this effing homework was hard!” There was also one incident of “bastard” which parents may choose to edit for younger readers.

I found the pace of the book to be rather strange, with long drags in the middle that really seemed like nothing more than killing time. However, events did occur during these times that became integral. Then the end of the book was frenetic and almost rushed, slamming to a close very quickly (except the enormous pile of cheese that is the epilogue). It really seemed like the book was written under enormous pressure to get it good and to get it finished as soon as possible. It seems to suffer a little bit because of that.

There are no questions at the end concerning where allegiances lie and heroes are proven to be human after all. Everyone that appeared along the way seems to get a mention, some of them rather shoe-horned cameos, but no one misses out. New heroes are made and most questions are answered.

I do have a number of issues with it that I won’t air here for fear of spoiling it for you, but on the whole it is a satisfying read. After ten years, seven books, thousands of pages and untold speculation, I’m glad it’s over. No one can deny that it’s been one of the most phenomenal literary events of recent years, so in some ways it’s nice to have been a part of it. Read the book while it’s all still fresh and you can tell your grandchildren when they read it, “I was there, you know!”

Or, in my case, “I was there, but couldn’t be arsed to queue for an hour. So I was there again the next day.”