Sunday, July 15, 2007

Harry Potter and the Journey's End

I am a Harry Potter fan. I won't be standing in line at midnight, wearing my Gryffindor colors, talking about Quidditch, or discussing what animal my Patronus charm might produce but I do know what all those words mean and I am going to be receiving a copy of the final book the day/moment it becomes available. Book 7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The end of a long and fascinating journey.

The first book came out almost exactly 10 years ago. I discovered them sometime between book 3 and book 4, thanks to a mother who works with both children and books. After this coming Saturday, I will own all 7 in hard cover and will strongly encourage my children (many many years after this coming Saturday) to read them all.

I have read each book at least three times (the first thing I did each time I finished one of these books was to turn back to the beginning and start over - I've never done that before with any other book). I just finished my most recent reread of the series a few weeks ago, in time for movie number 5 and well in time for book number 7. I am a voracious reader (who else is ever voracious? Technically eaters should be, but I think I've only ever seen it applied to readers) and the books are fast reads. I average about 100 pages an hour (that's just for Potter though, other books don't always read nearly as smoothly). That was a mistake. I have promised myself I'm going to break this coming reading into smaller chunks - take occasional long breaks, let things actually process a bit as I go. I'm even going to try to sleep before I finish the book. We'll see how well I hold to that. These books have been incredibly addictive and arresting. I doubt the final one will be any exception.

If you have not read it, you are missing out. I mean it. Those of you who refuse because you don't want to get caught up in what everyone else is doing are being foolish (everyone else breathes oxygen...). If you're militantly opposed to fantasy, do not like reading in general, or have religious reasons for avoiding the book - I can't help you. Everyone else needs to read these books. I'll lend you my copy. Actually, I even recommend these to people who don't like fantasy (Harry might prove the exception) or who do not enjoy reading (they're easy and fun, I promise). I will not try to convince the religious opponents, and there are many - the Potter books are claimed to be the most banned book in America, although that may be apocryphal.

Okay, I'm done pushing.

I am looking forward to this final segment. I have my opinions and theories. I think I know who RAB is, I think I know whether Snape is truly friend or foe. I even think I know where some of the missing Horcruxes may be found. We'll see. I have enjoyed the journey through J. K. Rowling's world, and I'm excited to see its final stages. I am a bit saddened that this will be the end of the story, but I'm a firm believer that fictional story arcs need to come back to ground eventually - the never-ending storyline rarely seems to work as well as the more traditional beginning-middle-end approach. I am, however, really curious to see what Rowling does next, if anything.

I can't wait for Saturday.


dave said...

Here are my predictions as to what may happen:
1) Harry wakes up in a mental hospital, and realizes the last 7 years were a coma-induced dream. In reality, he's a balding 47 year old insurance salesman.
2) Harry and Draco decide to bury the hatchet, screw the brewing war between good and evil, and fly off to Vegas to get hitched. It turns out their antagonism was just a shield to keep their long buried, true feelings for each other hidden from the world.
3) Rowling manages to never mention the words "Harry" or "Potter" once within the 748 pages of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows", instead opting to let the world wonder forever as to his fate.
4) Right before the exciting conclusion of the book, the Earth is demolished by a Vogon construction crew to make room for an intergalactic expressway.

Rob said...

It's a good thing you're not writing these books, Dave. I can see you setting up this situation just so you could have an opportunity to pull a prank like #3