Saturday, July 21, 2007

Goodbye, Harry Potter...

You's over.
Yeah, we've got two more movies to wait for. But, it's over.
I was confronted with exactly this feeling after watching Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. Something beloved is finished. We're not getting any more. Strangely, I never feel this way about comic cancellations, but with book and movie series I get a little twinge of sadness.
There aren't any more Harry Potter books forthcoming. And while I enjoyed the hell out of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, I'm saddened that I finished it so fast.
I picked the book up last night at the big Borders event. There were about 900 people there, some in costume, some dorks, some kids, some moms, some of pretty much everyone. I people watched for a good long time, enjoyed the atmosphere, and chatted with all the Borders folk I know. And it occurred to me as I was walking up to the store that I was whistling John Williams' "Hedwig's Theme". So, officially count myself as a Potter dork.
No, I wasn't in costume. Shut up.
I went home after a couple hours of people watching, sat down and read for a few minutes before I realized that it was already late and I wasn't gonna finish the book that night.
When I woke up, I was even more reluctant to dive in. Two hours got me halfway through the book before I set off to have fun with my day. Too fast. Needed a break.
I meandered around town, wandered, talked to people, had lunch, watched Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix again, and generally avoided all but the most perfunctory occasional reading. People kept asking how it was when they saw I was carrying the book with me.
Chances are, you don't give a crap what I say, you're either gonna read the book or you won't. At this point, it's a culturual thing. But let me tell you, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is not only a worthy conclusion to the series, it's quite possibly the best book in the series.
After the events of his sixth year at Hogwarts, Harry and his friends have decided to skip their final year in favor of a dangerous quest to find all of Voldemort's horcruxes (objects he's fragmented his soul into) and stop his reign of terror once and for all.
Where at times in the last two books, I felt that Rowling was kinda losing the way, the final volume not only nails the dismount, it shows that the whole routine was pretty close to flawless. There's a ton of loose ends that get cleared up. There's actually a sense of finality to the proceedings. Things are coming to a close and everyone knows it.
Where some of the previous volumes got very internalized and talky, this book is almost wall-to-wall action. From the opening ambush to the final fatal battle, you're on the edge of your seat, flipping pages like crazy.
The body count is DEVASTATING. The stakes are high, and not everyone makes it out in one piece (A few fan favorites might be on the butcher's bill, too. Don't get too attached to ANYONE.). Damn near every minor character in the series gets a hero moment where they get to shine.
That's all I'm telling you about the plot. No spoilers. No hints. Nuts to the damn book.
I just don't know what in the world they can cut out to make this movie-length. They might finally have to split the book in half. It's just huge and involving and there's less fat available to edit out.
That's about what we have left at this point. The movies. And then it really is over.
Much as I'm saddened by that prospect, I'm glad that people forced me to read the first couple of books. I've had a great time with them. And I'm pleased as punch with how it turned out. Sure, I'd like it to go forever, but that's not quite how life works, now is it?
Harry and Ron and Hermione have been my friends for the last four years, and I'm sad to know I'll never hear from them again. But I think I'm better off having read their exploits. In a few years' time, I look forward to revisiting their adventures at Hogwarts. Until then, well, it's time to look for something else to get attached to.
Thanks, JK. You've filled another Muggle with joy. Now, write something new and fun. Maybe we'll all be hooked again.

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