August 05, 2007

Welcome Back Potter

To (belatedly) commemorate the release of the final Harry Potter book, I present to you, the boy who lived...

Harry and the Snitch were sketched out in blue pencil, inked with an extra fine Pilot V Ball Grip pen, and then scanned and colored in Photoshop. The castle in the background (presumably Hogwarts) was drawn in Photoshop with the pencil tool. Quidditch is probably my least favorite part of the Harry Potter mythos, but giving Harry a broom to hold and adding a Golden Snitch zipping by gave this little picture just the extra oomph it needed. At least, that's what I think. The linework on this one is pretty coarse, but I'm happy with the composition, even if it is a little busy. I'm satisfied with my color choices, but there's something missing. I think perhaps I should have done more rendering. Thoughts?

As for my review of the book itself, please step into...

Turn back now, lest ye be spoiled forever! Seriously.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling (759 pages, $34.99--but available for much less just about anywhere)

Dang, Dumbledore is actually dead! See, when I say spoiler zone, I mean business. I'm not just spoiling for the sake of spoiling--I actually have a point to make here. The past few books in the Harry Potter series (Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix, and Half-Blood Prince) were all plagued by over-hype--particularly in regards to the supposedly climactic deaths of supposedly "main" characters. The deaths of Cedric Diggory and Sirius Black in Goblet of Fire and Order of the Phoenix, respectively, were so anti-climactic, that when Dumbledore died in Half-Blood Prince, I assumed it was a fake-out, and I was positive Dumbledore would just "pull a Gandalf" and show up in the next book. How wrong I was! The fact that J.K. Rowling really did kill off Dumbledore not only makes it clear that she was "playing for keeps" in the final book, it also redeems Half-blood Prince, which, up until now, I had been dismissing as yet another anti-climactic cop-out.

I can accept that future generations of readers will be able to explore the series sans-hype, and many may even find the deaths of Cedric and Sirius to be meaningful and poignant. And, having now read the entire series, I only have two real complaints about the franchise-- 1) J.K. Rowling gave us an expanded view of international wizardry in Goblet of Fire, which made the possibilities of that world seem endless. Unfortunately she never made any real use of this. In fact, in Order of the Phoenix the world view instantly shrank back to provincial boundaries, and I found myself constantly wondering why non-British wizards never stepped in as the Ministry of Magic began to rapidly adopt alarmingly fascist policies. 2) No explanation as to why James Potter was a total douche-bag, and no indication that he ever redeemed himself, or that Lily married him for any reason other than to piss of her former BFF. WTF, J.K. Rowling?

But, aside from my complaints, Deathly Hallows exceeded my expectations and desires. The explanation of Snape's allegiance, the revelation of Petunia's secret shame, Voldemort and Harry mano-a-mano at last, and the redemption of the Malfoys--plenty of memorable moments. As always J.K. Rowling's writing style was easy to digest, and this volume, in particular, was less exposition-y in its explanations.

Verdict: Awesome. Possibly my favorite in the series, the other candidate being Prisoner of Azkaban. Deathly Hallows is a return to form for J.K. Rowling, and provides a structured and satisfying resolution to the story of Harry Potter.

For More Serialized Fantasy Targeted at Young Adults: Try Artemis Fowl novels by Eoin Colfer, or the manga series Naruto by Masashi Kishimoto.


Jodi said...

Great sketch! I finished the book last night. My goal was to do so before you posted! I really enjoyed and it may be the fastest I've read any of the longer ones of the series.

You make good points, but overall, I'm satisfied. Also, I found the death of Sirius Black to be pretty profound, though it was pretty lame in the movie portrayal.

illgnosis said...

I'm averting my eyes!.. I just started the last book cause I am too cheap to buy my own copy. :)... So this Harry Potter is some kind of wizard? Good sketch, I like your simple stuff but get back to drawing Fan Art or something more detailed.. or new. If you do I will too..

Anna Woltz said...

Yeay! I like your lil' Harry! So cute! And I LOVE your points about the book - I agree with all of them...however, I'm very forgiving and still loved it!

Anonymous said...

HA awsome! My friend Elaine is a PotterHead, and I showed her this, she really liked it.

Jafari Stew said...

Great version of Harry! Very fun image!

...I'm a Luna Lovegood man myself! ^_-

J.Ho said...

jodi: i am impressed beyong words that you would pace anything in your life by my blo, even your leisure reading. i am humbled, madam.

illgnosis: thanks mang!

anna: thank you! a few months removed from it, i think i'm more forgiving too, of both the books and the movies.

patreek: awesome! thanks man.

jafari stew: luna eh? i'll take that under advisement. i'd definitely like to do more, though (obviously) it may take me a while. i'm sloooow!