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No. of Recommendations: 1
spoiler (I haven't finished reading it, but I don't mind spoilers)
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I had to ask who Sirius was as I didn't know. She explained that he was Harry's Godfather and then continued with,
"I liked him. Harry liked him. He was going to go live with him. It was just too sad."


There's literature, and there's marketing. IIRC, there was supposed to be a death of a "major character" in HP IV. We got the death of Cedric Diggory. While Cedric's death should be very upsetting to the other characters, it isn't very upsetting to the reader. Cedric just wasn't that major a character in the literary sense.

So when I read the spoiler that Sirius was going to die, I thought that this was another one like HP IV. Kill off someone who means a lot to Harry, but who wasn't that major a character in a literary sense. So far, I'm pleased to see some character development in Sirius before he bites it. This should build us up to where we care more when he dies. I was a bit annoyed to see the hospitalization of Arthur Weasley; it looked too tailored to the "someone you care about is going to die" hype.

When I re-read this series five years from now, the hype won't matter. The writing will stand or fall on its own merits. Arthur Weasley's hospitalization should look better then.

The good: Harry is considerably less than perfect. His rages, including raging a bit irrationally, are consistent with being a troubled teenager. (I'm raising one, and it looks really familiar.) This is also consistent with what's gone on in Harry's life. The stuff Harry has been through could reasonably be expected to produce depression and potentially worse mental health problems. Harry's conduct is consistent with this. I get the feeling that J.K. Rowling has had to deal with a troubled teenager.

The bad: Hermione's patronizing attitude towards house-elves and continued efforts to liberate them are, at best, comic relief. She's supposed to be a smart girl; can't she learn?

The ugly: The casual changing of laws to remove Dumbledore's power at Hogwarts just isn't very believable. If the Ministry of Magic can do that, why has Hogwarts been allowed to be so independent for so long? If the Ministry of Magic can't do that, why don't we see legal appeals by adult witches and wizards? We are never told the political structure of the magical world. We see the bureaucracy, but we don't see elections or a legislative body or a heriditary aristocracy. We see a Minister of Magic concerned about public opinion and keeping his job, but we don't see whether he is elected or appointed. If appointed, we don't see who can appoint him. The whole political thing doesn't hang together in a coherent whole. Yeah, I know--you don't put that kind of detail into children's books. But it would be nice if it were worked out logically and could be explained in an appendix, a la Tolkien.

Patzer
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