Saturday, December 09, 2006

The End of Harry Potter? - David Langford

A little while ago, Kelly of Big A, little a reported that David Langford's The End of Harry Potter was the prize in a Guardian/Waterstones competition to guess the name of the final Harry Potter novel. David kindly sent me a copy of his book to read and review.

The book, I'm happy to report is full of Langford's trademark wit and sense of humour, but it has its serious moments too. He looks at such questions as "What are the remaining Horcruxes, the places He Who Shall Not Be Named has stashed his soul so he can never die?", "Does Harry himself bear a part of the Dark Lord's soul in his scar?", "Is that why Harry understands Parseltongue - and if not, why does he speak the language of the serpentssss?", "What will happen when Harry is technically a grown-up, and no longer under the protection of his Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia?", "Is Albus Dumbledore really dead?", "Whose side is Severus Snape really on?" and "What will the last book be called?"

Langford also takes a serious look at such things as the use of Memory Charms on Muggles, the use of Mandrakes in Herbology, and the prejudices of pure-blood wizards, and he discusses the place of the Harry Potter series in various children's literature traditions.

Probably my favourite (and by far the funniest) chapter is called "The End of Harry Potter" (no question mark) in which Langford offers some parodies of other famous tales - thus, "The Classic Fantasy Version" sees Harry and Neville set out for the "Cracks of Doom at the Pyramids of Furmat in the Dark Lord's own realm, the Land of Voldemordor, where the Shadows lie". They are followed by Kreacher, the house-elf of the Black family. Harry is about to throw the final Horcrux (the RAB locket) into the "Cracks of Doom" but then changes his mind saying he's "Basically too nice" and it's down to Kreacher to send the locket (and himself) into the fire... We also have "Professor Trelawney Predicts" (which is full of Sybil's bizarre predictions for Harry's death), "On the Cutting-Room Floor" (in which Voldemort, the Darth Lord, tells Harry he is Harry's father !), and the "Parseltongue Proclamation" which begins: Sssssssssssssss. ! After which Langford offers a few serious comments about what Harry will definitely or probably do - turn 17, go to Privet Drive, attend Bill and Fleur's wedding, find the remaining Horcruxes, etc.

This is a good book, an interesting mix of the funny/silly and the serious, and comes highly recommended.


Nancy said...

Did you enter the contest?

Michele said...

Indeed I did...