Okay, so that was quite a title. Moving on.
As you've probably noticed, this is a series on book endings. Sooo . . . I'll be talking about book endings. This little paragraph is just a disclaimer explaining that, so I don't have to mess with a "Spoiler Alert!" announcement every time I write one of these posts. Sound like adequate warning? Good.
Today, I'm going over Deathly Hallows. J.K. Rowling cuts from the main wrap-up of the book to an epilogue set 19 years later. In that epilogue, you learn that Harry and Ginny have three kids, who they're seeing off to Hogwarts. The fates of a few other characters are revealed, Harry talks to his kid about a few of his own experiences at Hogwarts, skipping to the ending now --
" 'He'll be all right," murmured Ginny.
As Harry looked at her, he lowered his hand absentmindedly and touched the lightning scar on his forehead.
'I know he will.'
The scar had not pained Harry for nineteen years. All was well."
Maybe I expected too much, but this ending really didn't do it for me. It seemed too abrupt, almost . . . I don't know. Forced, maybe? The words didn't flow, if you know what I mean. Read the last two sentences out loud. Is it just me, or do they seem sort of -- stilted?
The only Oprah episode I've ever watched was the one where she interviewed J.K. Rowling in Scotland. There, J.K. explained that she'd originally intended the last word to be "scar," but something -- either she didn't mention it or I, you know, forgot -- made her change her mind. Instead, she wanted the last line to be "All was well". She did just that, but in some ways, I wonder if it would've been better if she'd stuck with "scar".
Also, this is just personal opinion, but I generally don't like it when authors end series with a tell-all epilogue set a number of years later than the rest of the book, the rest of the series. With Mockingjay, I wasn't 100% sold on the idea, but I've accepted it over time -- and that's the only book I actually like the post-story epilogue for. But that's another post, isn't it?
In her interview with Oprah, J.K. also talked about how she'd grown close to Harry -- understandable, since he's been her protagonist since 1990. (Plus, you know, her stories of him catapulted her into fortune, fame, and writing legend.) And after he'd been through so much, it makes sense that she'd want him to have a happy ending; she probably felt like a mom toward him, fictional character and all. But sometimes, you just shouldn't give the obvious happy ending. The series had plenty of darkness in it, so I feel like this ending should've had some, too. Perhaps something not quite so positive, something a little more subdued, bittersweet? Look at all the people (yeah, I always call characters "people") who died throughout the books. I'm sure she could have referenced something to make the ending feel a bit more melancholy.
Still. I can't really call J.K. Rowling out for anything -- she's a genius, literary royalty, agreed? I love tons of other stuff that she did with the series, and how she wasn't afraid to kill her darlings. She deserves tons and tons of praise -- and she gets tons and tons of praise. All I'm talking about here is the ending she wrote for the series, which, unfortunately, I wasn't all that impressed with. Not when I really think about it. Because if I had to make a list of the top endings, out of all the books I've ever read? Deathly Hallows wouldn't make the cut. And that's surprising, I think, considering the impact that Harry Potter and his adventures had on so many readers, on the world itself.
Agree? Disagree? Both? Feel free to share your thoughts.