Thursday, July 26, 2007

What I Did on My Summer Vacation, Part II

The need to get away from poker after my personal 24-hour finale on the last day of the WSOP had been overpowering, as mentioned in my previous post. Poker ha' been berry berry good to me, as it returned me from the land of destitution to being a working, productive member of society. Still, enough was enough, and I needed a few days without poker. Except for showing up and being bounced mid-pack in the Thursday tourney at the Lac du Flambeau casino --- said experience which I may repeat later today --- I needed to let real life trickle back in.

So, adjourning to the Northwoods was needed. I mentioned lots and lots and lots of fishing, and that was part of it. Also included was a round of golf with my father and a chance to show up and say hi on my mother's birthday, and since they live up in this part of the state, that was all part of the plan as well. I also did the 'Potter' thing, buying the seventh and final book in the series and enjoying the final chapter in Rowling's coming-of-age epic. The last book is indeed a power-packed close, as Falstaff mentioned, but as someone who used to edit a fiction magazine, I found the denouement here sorely lacking. It's a wonderful tale with a great climax, but five thousand pages of character development demands rather more than a nine-page epilogue.

I'm reminded, for comparison's sake of the last half of the third book of J.R.R. Tolkein's Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Return of the King. In that book, the epic battle with Sauron is concluded barely half way through Return, and then it's a matter of closure for the characters, the "Scouring of the Shire" phase (to name one of the chapters therein) that resolves all the intricate story threads. It's the part of the Rings trilogy that the third movie really fucks up, as well, where one can appreciate the growth of the characters and fully understand how they fit into the greater scope of Middle Earth, as time's inevitable changes occur.

Such character closure is sorely lacking in the wrap to the last Potter book, leaving wide open the possibility for some "after" tales. Half the characters killed off in the book were done so for no reason other than to demonstrate to the readership that, This is important stuff! Characters are dying here! --- which isn't quite as valid a reason as it sounds. In a phrase, the final chapters of Deathly Hallows feel rushed; it seems as though Rowling saw the end in sight and wanted done with it, after a decade's great work.

No comments: