Tuesday, July 24, 2007

New York Times review — spoilers redacted

For the exceedingly spoiler-conscious who have not finished reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, use your own judgment on whether to read this post. Follow any links with caution, most obviously the link to the Times). I am very carefully attempting to avoid any spoilers at all in this post, but your definition of such may differ (although mine is extremely broad, so you’re probably okay — but you have been warned.)
The early book review [<- SPOILERS] of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows run by the New York Times has drawn heavy fire recently, both for running a full review two days before the book was released, and for revealing what many would consider to be spoilers. Now that I’ve read the book, I went back and read that review. Sure enough, there are definitely things in it that I consider spoilers. They’re relatively minor, but I still wouldn’t have wanted to know about them in advance!

I thought it would be amusing to take the review and redact it for what I considered to be the unsuitable, spoiling content. The results aren’t too pretty — which is to say, not that much of the review survived my edits. See for yourself below if you like. Note that you’ll still be able to read parts of the review, and while I think those legible parts spoil nothing at all, there’s a possibility you might disagree. So, caveat lector!


  1. Shame on the NY Times! I'm glad I didn't read this before I read book 7.

    Re "some lumpy passages of exposition and a couple of clunky detours" -- did the reviewer not understand the concept of wrapping up everything from the first six books?

    I love your redaction. :)

  2. Thanks! I enjoyed doing it. It was sort of therapeutic in a way, kind of like a retroactive revenge on Those-Who-Would-Spoil. :) Reviews, by their very nature, always spoil something, but this review really did give away much more than it should have.

    I can see people’s points — to some extent — about the exposition. But exposition is one of the most difficult things in writing! To say that some of who exposition was “lumpy” or “clunky” is really not that bad a criticism. It’s probably fair. But of course, given the immensity of Rowling’s imagination, a little “lumpy” exposition is a very small price to pay.