Monday, July 23, 2007

Farewell, Harry Potter

My husband and I attended the last Harry Potter book unveiling last Friday night. We purchased a book and an audio CD. We opened the CD as soon as we got back into our car and listened all the way home (over an hour). We then stayed up until 4:00 in the morning, got up late the next day, resumed listening, pausing only for meals and other necessary breaks. We continued this on Sunday until around 9:30 pm when the last disc played out. Phone calls were screened and no television was turned on to keep from hearing spoilers.

J.K. Rowling has outdone herself again. By far, this is the best book in the series. It starts out with a bang, no quiet lead-in. It's not for small children, so parents, please read this yourself before buying for your seven- or eight-year-old. But then, you as responsible parents always read books before your kids do, right? And if you haven't read any of these books and your kids have, shame on you for missing out on hours of fun reading. Although the movies are fantastic, you miss so much detail by not reading the books beforehand.

I know I'll go back and read the last book later. Right now, I'm feeling sad to say goodbye to a set of characters who have brought me so many hours of pleasure, and drained after the listening marathon. I feel like I've been through the wizarding war myself. I'm not giving out any spoilers, so you'll just have to read it yourself or go online to follow one of the jerks who is. They deserve to have bat bogeys plastered all over their faces.

Those of us who have watched Harry grow from an innocent child to a teenage wizard now of age can say we are proud of the way he has turned out. All of the characters in Rowling's world are flawed in some respect, just like real people. We all have our shining moments and those we'd like to forget. This is what makes her characters so realistic. They are allowed to be spiteful, jealous and insecure at times. But, it is the ability of the students in these books to rise above these feelings when it matters to come to the aid of their school and their friends which makes them heroes and which also keeps us returning for more. It is also the details of the characters and settings which bring her books to life and make us feel like we are there at Hogwarts or on Privett drive under the staircase staring up at the spiders. Who can forget the first time reading about the brick wall on Diagon Alley pulling back to reveal the wizarding section of London? Rowling is truly an inspiration for children's writers everywhere.

I heard a rumor that J.K. Rowling is now saying we may not have heard the last of her magical world, although it will not contain Harry. That is encouraging and gives us Muggles something to look forward to. So, as they say, Thanks for the Memories. I look forward to your next book.

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