Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Post Harry Potter Syndrome (No Spoilers, I Promise)

Like just about everyone else in the world, I've just finished reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I didn't get anywhere near a bookstore on Friday night, although it was tempting to take the Girl to one of the parties. I considered it, knowing it would be a once-in-a-lifetime thing. In the end, I decided that she was still just a little too young. We let her stay up to ring in the New Year this year and she was out cold by ten-thirty, so being out until at least 2 AM would have been a bit too much.

I waited, cursing out my UPS guy for taking so damn long to deliver it. Noon - egads, I had to wait until noon! But then it was there and I tore open the box, slid the book out, (savored that new book smell), and just looked at it for a moment. Did I want to just flip to the last page and find out who lives or dies? Or did I just want to turn to the first page and lose myself in the entire story, waiting breathlessly with each turn of the page, each new chapter, to see how it unfolded.

Well, I resisted temptation and read the story from beginning to end. I started it at approximately 12:15pm Saturday, and finished it at approximately 3:30PM Sunday. It would have been finished sooner, but my husband was out at a golfing/poker playing/God only knows what else bachelor party, so I had The Boy to contend with as well. My husband owes me HUGE now, because he knows when a Harry Potter day rolls around (it was only every two years or so), I hand off parenting for that day and do nothing but read. So he owes me. Big time. And I will collect. I just don't know when yet. But I will. Oh, yes. I will.

I'm a latecomer to the Harry Potter books. I read the first three for the first time right before the release of The Goblet of Fire. I was down the shore and had forgotten a book (the horror! How was that even possible??). So, I borrowed my nephew's paperbacks of the first three and was hooked.

I loved each book in the series. They made me laugh (c'mon, who wouldn't laugh at the visualization of the word poo spelling itself over and over outside the school, as happened in The Order of the Phoenix?), and they did choke me up when certain characters were killed off.

The Deathly Hallows didn't disappoint. Not one bit. JK Rowling did her job - she made me care about those people and what happened to them. As a writer, that is all I can hope to be able to do as well. It doesn't matter if you love 'em or hate 'em, as long as you care about what happens to them - success.

When I finished the book, I felt a little down. It's the last Harry Potter book (or so Rowling says now. It could always change, I guess, but I don't expect it to.) Finishing the book was like losing old friends. For seven years (since I read my nephew's paperbacks) I've waited for the next book, impatient to see what happened. And now I know. Their story is told. It's over and done.
I will go back and reread them all in order, and I'm sure I will feel that same pang, that same sense of loss. The Girl has the entire set - her grandmother bought them for her to enjoy when she's old enough. I think she's almost ready and I can only hope that she will come to love those characters as much as I do. I hope someday that I can create such memorable characters.

So, now that the mania's died down, and everyone's finishing up the last installment, it's time to sit back and see what else is out there that might catch my attention. I don't have nearly as much time to sit and enjoy reading the way I used to, so it takes a lot for me to give up an entire day and half the night to devote to a book. I don't know that there are any others out there who can do what Rowling did. I don't know that there will ever be a series quite like the Harry Potter series.

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