Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

SPOILER! The Spin-Off TV Show?
New books dissected over email.
July 24 2007 6:19 PM

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows


Illustration by Charlie Powell. Click image to expand.

Will, you're not alone in your distaste for endings that focus on cozy domesticity. "Fray" poster jack_cerf points out Orwell's comment on Dickens' happy endings: "This is the type of the Victorian happy ending—a vision of a huge, loving family of three or four generations, all crammed together in the same house and constantly multiplying, like a bed of oysters. What is striking about it is the utterly soft, sheltered, effortless life that it implies."

And Frayster AaronD echoes other posters by arguing—fairly convincingly, I think—that in the long run what matters about this book is not our opinions but the opinions of children who read the book: "There are a bunch of logical, well-reasoned arguments on this site for why the book may be a disappointment. Not a single one of these arguments stands up to the rebuttal: Imagine being 12 and reading this book." I freely admit that 12-year-old me would have thought this was about the greatest book ever written.


Does that disqualify us from treating the book as an object of criticism somewhat above its age bracket? Not at all! But it does remind me that my hours reading the book—spent mostly sitting on a blanket in a sun-dappled park in my neighborhood—were delightful ones completely free of any of the criticism that the book inspired after the fact. Despite all my griping, I'm grateful to J.K. Rowling for writing a book that's so spellbinding for so jaded a reader.

Polly, you say you hope that J.K. Rowling's next project will be short, funny, and in the spirit of the earliest books in the series. I must confess that Deathly Hallows' epilogue didn't feel like the definitive end point that so many others see it as, and that Rowling by her own admission hoped it would be. Perhaps it's blasphemy to even suggest it, but didn't the epilogue read to you as a perfect seven-page treatment for the pilot of Hogwarts: The Next Generation, airing at 5:30 weekdays on The N? Think of it! Short, silly half-hour stories, set among students preoccupied not by the specter of unthinkable evil but by the more daunting prospects of homework, cliques, and navigating their way through adolescence. Harry and Ron and Hermione could show up only for Very Special Episodes, as their kids have the happy, peaceable childhoods Voldemort denied them. I know I'd watch!

Dan Kois Dan Kois

Dan Kois is Slate's culture editor and a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine.

We're welcoming to our discussion novelist and comics writer Brad Meltzer, who in his career has had to tackle the daunting prospect of writing stories—and endings—for such beloved characters as Superman, Batman, and the whole DC comics universe. He's soon to tackle a character that feels (to me, anyway) at least as canonical as Harry Potter: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, as he writes for Dark Horse's new Buffy: Season Eight comic books.  Brad, how scary is it to write characters who have become so well-known as to have a life of their own? How hard is it to kill off characters in whom fans have become deeply invested? And has fan response ever convinced you that a decision you made about a well-loved character was the wrong one?



The World

The Budget Disaster that Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola

Are the Attacks in Canada a Sign of ISIS on the Rise in the West?

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

Is It Offensive When Kids Use Bad Words for Good Causes?

Fascinating Maps Based on Reddit, Craigslist, and OkCupid Data


The Real Secret of Serial

What reporter Sarah Koenig actually believes.


The Actual World

“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

In Praise of 13th Grade: Why a Fifth Year of High School Is a Great Idea

Can Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu Pull Off One More Louisiana Miracle?

  News & Politics
Oct. 23 2014 3:55 PM Panda Sluggers Democrats are in trouble. Time to bash China.
Business Insider
Oct. 23 2014 2:36 PM Take a Rare Peek Inside the Massive Data Centers That Power Google
Atlas Obscura
Oct. 23 2014 1:34 PM Leave Me Be Beneath a Tree: Trunyan Cemetery in Bali
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 23 2014 11:33 AM Watch Little Princesses Curse for the Feminist Cause
  Slate Plus
Oct. 23 2014 11:28 AM Slate’s Working Podcast: Episode 2 Transcript Read what David Plotz asked Dr. Meri Kolbrener about her workday.
Brow Beat
Oct. 23 2014 4:03 PM You’re Doing It Wrong: Puttanesca Sauce
Oct. 23 2014 11:45 AM The United States of Reddit  How social media is redrawing our borders. 
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 23 2014 7:30 AM Our Solar System and Galaxy … Seen by an Astronaut
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.