It’s been awhile since I posted because I’ve been engaged in a very committed relationship with the Harry Potter series since July. I put down book seven exactly one week ago, at about one pm, and wondered what to do with my life now that I was done. Harry, Ron, and Hermione had become a part of my existence.. so I promptly borrowed some of the movies from friends 🙂
It’s difficult for me to begin reviewing a series that took the globe by storm so many years ago.. all I can hope to provide is the perspective of a person who had to be convinced to read it in the first place. I distinctly remember watching my friend Justine devour book seven with a singular determined attitude when we worked together at a fitness club in 2007. I was peeved because we usually enjoyed working shifts at the front desk together, making up games and joking around with the members. Not while she was reading “Deathly Hallows,” bent over the thick hardcover book she had just purchased, asking me to stop talking to her so she could concentrate.
Back when the series gained popularity, I took the snobby attitude that they were kids’ books. My friend at work told me that the first two are definitely kids’ books, but that they were worth the read. He also said that if I read the third book and maintained my opinion, he would finally relent about convincing me to read them. As a side note, he’s also bugging me incessantly about the “Game of Thrones” TV series, but I think that’s a losing battle for him.
So to get right down to it… “Philosopher’s Stone” and “Chamber of Secrets” were definitely children’s books. They were entertaining at a less advanced level than other kids books that I enjoy, such as the Hunger Games series. I see their purpose as dipping the readers’ toe into the water of the wizarding world, especially the language. Once I got into “Prisoner of Azkaban,” which explores Harry’s place in wizard lore and the backstory of the tragic death of his parents, I was hooked. It was DARK. This kids’ series had gotten into my brain and I was angry that such evil existed in the happy world I was immersed in during the previous two books… it’s almost the equivalent of how terrible things become for the happy band of travelers in “Lord of the Rings” after they start out so joyful and carefree on the shire. Nick was right. I was totally into the story.
As our hero transitions from a child of 11 to a young man, he goes through the typical pains of adolescence in the public eye. With my journalism background I was particularly riled by the lack of values and transparency exhibited by the “news” publications that featured Harry and the rise of the evil Lord Voldemort. As Harry tries to navigate the waters of life and school as a famous teenager whose role models and favorite teachers are being persecuted as they attempt to protect him, he exhibits some selfish and reckless behavior. It was easy to stop liking him, and yell “Come on, what are you doing?” to the character in the book. Hey, he’s a wizard. Maybe he heard me. After I reached a certain spot in “Half Blood Prince,” it was easy to see him shake off his childish life view and begin to accept what can only be described as his fate. There are so many parallels to draw to a noble hero, but he was still in his teens. The writing is incredible. The continuity of the story lines is downright beautiful. And as I picked up “Deathly Hallows,” book seven, I paused. I hesitated. I knew our hero’s story would end, and I didn’t want it to. I knew that with the end of that book would come the pain of the story being over.
To anyone who was a Harry Potter holdout like me, this may sound dramatic. Too over the top. I assure you, as an avid book lover and voracious reader, that it is not exaggerated. I absolutely loved the series and can’t wait to read it again from the beginning. Of course, I’ve had other books pile up in the past few months. Maybe Harry and I can get back together around Christmas (I’ll ask Santa for the series) so I can better appreciate the smart, entertaining, satisfying world of wizards created by J.K. Rowling even more.