Sunday, July 17, 2005

Harry Potter release party

There's been no knitting this week. My hands have really been hurting for the past 2 weeks and I've avoided knitting while letting my paws heal. My only progress was a bit of seaming at Friday night's release party for Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. knuknitter turned me on to this event, since some of her students from Shakespeare camp were performing at the party. A group of younger kids performed scenese from Midsummer Night's Dream and then the older group performed a more or less complete (abbridged) version of Much Ado About Nothing. Both groups did really well, getting some good audience reactions.

San Mateo bookstore "M is for Murder" hosted the book release event and did a great job of putting together fun & entertaining stops for the kids visiting "Hogsmeade". They had converted the sidewalks behind all the shops into a series of booths for various Harry Potter topics. They had some fortune telling, Quidditch sign up, a sorting hat, and some vendors selling book lights, stuffed wizard dolls, and Hogwarts school ties. Some of it was hokey and some probably didn't sell very well, but there were a LOT of people on the streets and in "Hogsmeade" all evening.

Our group wandered through Hogsmeade and the bookstore between performances and then queued up around 11:30 to wait for midnight. by this time our group was 8 people, including my brother, knuknitter, my
husband, Mel and her husband plus two more friends of knuknitter's from the SF Shakespeare organization. Mel, of course, brought her knitting and so we gals stood in line talking about brioche stitch patterns until we drove the men to drink. There was a midnight countdown and our group of 8 adults walked away with , um, 8 copies of the book.

Today after a some unavoidable engagements in the morning, I settled in around 3pm to read Half-blood Prince. At 12:30, I finished the book and handed it over to my DH for his turn. (He meanwhile enjoyed our lazy afternoon & evening by re-reading (no joke) books 4 and 5. He's a machine!)

Book report: This is my favorite Harry Potter book yet. After 5 books in which Dumbledore and McGonigall ask multiple times per book "Is there anything you want to tell us, Harry?", finally Harry is starting to have grownup relationships with his teachers. I enjoyed Harry in another leadership role, as in Book 4 where he led the covert defence against the dark arts lessons.

I think Rowling is improving as a writer. The writing style was more engaging and let me stay in the story world better than some previous books (Book 4 seemed especially clunky, with very uninventive sentence structure. Book 5 just needed editing. The angry Harry was no fun to live with for, what?, 800 pages?)

More good things: We saw more different points of view in this book, which increased my interest. The sheer number of characters and relationships qualifies the book for "epic" status. But even with so many lines to follow, the plot moves along quickly and makes pretty good sense, with one really dumb hole on page 434.

Some bad things: There were a couple of big "whaaaaaa?" moments for me - a typo on page 10 had me worried that this book would be a tough slog, and a detail as late as p 521 had me asking "what did I miss."

The middle section had the most laughs, starting around page 195 with a very funny encounter with Professor Trelawny. Around page 400 or so, humor takes a back seat as the plot pace quickens. I was writing down page numbers where interesting things happened and my notes got much denser as we move towards the end.

So. Engaging, well-structured, a bit busy with characters & concepts from all the previous books. Possibly not a great book for young readers, like 7 - 9, just due to number of people to track and motivations which may not make senbse to them. But I dug it. I have a ton of ideas about what happens next - what we will see in Book 7. Can't wait to find some other big geeks like myself who have finished the book to discuss it with!


Blogger Abigail said...

I got mine yesterday, but I'm only on page 60. I noticed the same typo on page 10 and another on page 38 that made me wonder why the copyeditor got paid. (Probably not fair, but hey, I'm picky that way!)

I look forward to reading the rest of it. :)

July 17, 2005 11:22 AM  
Blogger julia said...

I'm still only on page 150. I've been trying to read and knit, but that just doesnt' work for me. I also noticed the typo on page 10, not the page 38 one though. What was that, Abigail?

Rest assured, when I'm finished I will let you know. DH still hasn't gotten past book 3, so I can't really talk about them with him!

July 21, 2005 4:37 PM  

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