Live Blogging Harry Potter (WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD)

I’ve put aside today as Harry Potter day in the Cynical Compound. We’re making bbq ribs for dinner with potato salad, corn on the cob and cornbread and we just finished applying the rub to the ribs (We’re using a recipe from Alton Brown’s Good Eats for the ribs) and I’ve settled down with the Deathly Hallows. I figured I might as well live blog it. I won’t be looking at any comments or the chat until after I’m done.

There will be spoilers so avoid this post like it’s the Avada Kedavra curse if you don’t want to know what happens. I’m placing them below the jump but I don’t think it works in RSS Feeds so this is your warning.

Chapter 1.

And we’re off. Rowling immediately shows us that the bad guys have several moles in the Ministry of Magic and are planning to capture Harry. The Malfoys have gone from being big time supporters of Voldemort to cowering servants. (Kind of like the Republican party is to Bush). I’m guessing the Malfoy’s will turn to the good side somewhere in the book. JK has Voldemort kill a minor character right at the end of the chapter (Burbage? The name sounds familiar but she had to remind us what subject she taught or I wouldn’t have remembered) showing right away that this book could become a bloodbath.

Chapter 2.

Harry’s back at Privet Lane and we have a very brief look back at some of the previous years. It’s difficult to review 6,000 pages in a few paragraphs however so then she moves on to a setup piece of Dumbledore’s past written as an obituary in the Daily Prophet. When I was reading the fifth book to refresh my memory, I remember an offhanded remark about Dumbledore’s brother and right away she is talking about his brother, Aberforth. I’m predicting that this won’t be the last we hear of Aberforth in the book.

Rita Skeeter is back having penned a scathing bio of Dumbledore including a chapter of his relationship with Potter. Rowling is certainly making sure there are plenty of subplots.

Chapter 3.

The Dursleys are leaving for a safe house since it is feared that Voldemort will attack them once Harry turns 17 in a few days and the magic that protects them expires. Dudley shakes Harry’s hand and thanks him from saving him from the Dementor in Book 5. I’m guessing that’s the last we’ll see of the Dursleys.

My sister in law just called to say she finally got the book and looked at the table of contents to read the chapter titles. I hang up the phone without even saying bye. She’s dangerous.

Chapter 4.

The gang arrives to take Harry to safety. (There’s 14 of them and I’m not writing all of their names. Ron and Hermione and Hagrid are among them) The plan is to have half of them take polyjuice potion to look like Harry to confuse any Death Eaters that attack them. They pair off and the real Harry is goes with Hagrid. They’re immediately attacked by 30 Death Eaters who knew they were leaving that day but are confused by the 7 Harrys. JK’s not spending too much time with setup in this book. Hedwig gets killed (So the body count for good guys goes to 2 if you count an owl a good guy…. And I do damn it!) meaning that the Metafilter thread I read earlier in the week called “HEDWIG GETS KILLED” was really a spoiler.

Voldemort figures out which one is the real Harry attacks them. Harry’s wand gets sick of Harry using that Expelliarmus spell which only knocks a wand out of your attacker’s hand and does some serious magic against Voldemort on its own which gives Harry enough time to escape by crashing his bike into the safe house.

Chapter 5.

The Order was supposed to use port keys to appear at the Burrow after the escape and Harry and Hagrid are the first to use it. We get to see what happened to the rest of the gang as they appear throughout the chapter. Lupin and George are the first to appear. George is missing an ear that Mrs. Weasley says can’t be fixed. (Meaning the seventh movie will have to pay homage to Reservoir Dogs). Hermione appears, as does Ron. It isn’t looking too good for Mad Eye Moody who was with Mundungus. I’m guessing those two are dead and Bill and Fleur will appear any moment.

I was half right. Mad Eye Moody gets it but Mundungus panicked and disappeared. Death Count is now at 3 if we don’t count Death Eaters. There may not be anybody left alive by Chapter 8. Harry tells them that his wand is acting up without him doing anything but they just think he did it without knowing. Silly characters, can’t they tell this is setup?

Chapter 6.

JK starts it off with Hermione, Ron and Harry talking about finding the Horcruxes meaning we’re going back to where book 6 ended. I’m a bit confused why the order went through the trouble of getting Harry to a safe house if he’s just going to take off on his own for the Horcruxes. They can’t find Mad Eye’s body which means that he’ll appear later in the book as an In… as an Inc… those dead bodies that the Death Eaters can control. I can’t remember the name.

Amazingly, nobody is killed in this chapter. They start to wonder if Mad Eye Moody is really dead, go over what they know about Horcruxes (including that they’re difficult to destroy) and it ends with Fleur’s family arriving for the wedding. Because it’s a good thing to have a wedding in the middle of a war. (Seriously, isn’t there a Vegas in the Wizarding world?)

Chapter 7 will have to wait. I need to start braising the baby back ribs.

Chapter 7

Ribs are in the oven and won’t be ready for about three hours. Time to get back to the book.

It’s Harry’s 17th birthday party. Ron gives him a book called “Twelve Fail-Safe Ways to Charm Witches” for his birthday to help him pick up chicks. “It’s not all about wandwork” Ron exclaims. Hmmm, are we still talking about magic?

Ginny invites Harry into her bedroom and starts kissing him until Ron cockblocks Harry by bursting in. The Minister of Magic arrives soon after to give Ron, Harry and Hermione objects that Dumbledore left them in his Will. We’re left to wonder why he gave them the odd items (a snitch, a book of children’s tales and Dumbledore’s Deluminator) although they’re almost sure to be clues to the three other Macguffins… I mean Horcruxes.

Chapter 8

Starts off a bit slow since it’s dealing with the wedding. Harry’s in disguise although it seems everybody knows who he is anyway. Butterbeer makes it’s first appearance. Butterbeer is the topic of fierce debate at the Cynical Compound. I feel it’s like rootbeer or cream soda while Mrs. Cynical thinks it’s more like a hot buttered rum. Mrs. C’s sister thinks it’s like real beer. Cynikitty looks at us like we’re crazy. That’s his standard look however.

We learn that Voldemort is tracking another wandmaker and the rest of the chapter is about Dumbledore and his past. There’s more about Dumbledore in this book so far then almost the rest of the books combined. JK, realizing that it’s been too many chapters of setup and backstory, ends chapter 8 with news that interrupts the wedding that Minister Scrimgeour is dead and that the Ministry has fallen.

Chapter 9
Panic strikes the wedding party as everyone starts dashing to and fro as Death Eaters arrive. They didn’t RSVP! Harry, Hermione and Ron manage to disapparate and end up in a Muggle cafe trying to decide where they can go to hide. It’s decided to go back to Sirius Black’s old house when a few Death Eaters track Harry and co. into the cafe. They fear that there may still be a Trace on Harry where the Ministry, now taken over by Voldemort, can find Harry when he, or anybody near him, does magic. I’m starting to get worried with all these chase scenes. I have to check to make sure Dan Brown isn’t a coauthor.

Chapter 10

Halfway through with chapter 10. Harry found half of an old letter from his Mom to Sirius in Sirius’ room. We’re not sure if the missing half is important or not but after leaving that room we find a sign at one door forbidding anyone to enter without the express permission of Regulus Arcturus Black (She loves using names of stars) or R.A.B., the person who replaced one of the Horcruxes.

The smell of ribs is drifting throughout the Cynical Compound and it’s time to make cornbread. Not even the last Harry Potter can put off some BBQ.

The rest of the chapter deals with “Kreacher’s Tale”. Kreacher, by far my favorite house elf, (Dobby is annoying) explains that he was with R.A.B. the night they went to the cave to steal the Horcrux. Mundungus has stolen the locket/Horcrux and Harry sends a newly reformed Kreacher out to retrieve him and the locket.

Chapter 11
Lupin appears at Grimmauld place and is wondering how the Death Eaters managed to trace Harry to the muggle cafe. I’m beginning to suspect Ron…. But then I always suspect Ron…

Lupin clues them in on what is happening at the Ministry of Magic. Basically, it’s Germany 1933 and Voldemort has assumed power (using a puppet minister). Muggle-borns have to register (no arm bands yet however) and the Death Eaters are using the Daily Prophet to spread propaganda against Harry. Kristallnacht, is right around the corner.

Kreacher finally comes back with Mundungus and we find out that the locket was taken away by Umbridge. Dum du Dummmm.

Chapter 12

Snape has become headmaster of Hogwarts and we’re still stuck inside Grummauld place. A few weeks have passed and they’re planning their assault on the Ministry to find Umbridge and get the locket back. Isn’t there about 4 Horcruxes total to find and destroy? At this rate, it’s going to take them another book in the series to track them all down.

Chapter 13
Things finally start to heat up as they get to the Ministry of Magic. Umbridge is now in charge of the Muggle-Born Registry. All hell breaks loose when Harry notices that Umbridge is wearing the locket/horcrux and they stun her and attack the Dementors. Cynikitty is doing his upside down superman impression.

I’m quitting the every chapter liveblogging here and will come back as things progress. If not I’ll be up all night doing both.

Last Update:

Ok, I was foolish trying to live blog a 750 page book with 36 chapters. Overall the book was good and gives closure. A bit difficult to read the middle however. It takes a long time for them to figure out what they need to do and there’s way too much filler. (I think it took Ron 3 pages to destroy the first horcrux…)

I thought that Dumbledore’s brother was going to play a larger role (not really) and was positive that Snape was going to turn out to be one of the good guys (Although I lost confidence in this theory until the very end). Overall, it was a fitting end to the story although it felt about 200 pages too long to get there. Or maybe I’m just a bit annoyed that I’m seeing double at the moment. Time for bed.