Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Happy Harry Potter Day! (No Spoilers)

by Sariah S. Wilson

All day yesterday I passed my time by counting down the hours until I could go to my local Barnes & Noble. The time seemed to crawl by, and I got more and more excited. Fortunately I have kids who like to keep me busy. Finally I left my house a little after 11:00. When I got to the store, there was not a parking spot to be found. I had to park next to a field and got a pants-full of briars and other various sticky weed parts for my trouble.

And then there were so many people in the store I could hardly move. I had a reserved copy, but because I came so late I ended up as #466. I had something of a wait ahead of me.

I looked around and found that I was surprised by the number of teenagers there. I shouldn't have been, as I reminded myself that Harry Potter was intended for YA audiences. I thought about these kids, many who seemed to be about 17 or 18 years old. When they read their first Harry Potter, they were children. Now they were almost adults, about to go out on their own. They grew up with Harry Potter. This really would be an end of an era.

I thought too about how I would probably never see another phenomenon like this again, that what J.K. Rowling did was simply amazing. I thought of the millions of people lining up all over the world to get their precious copy, to take it home and read it that night.

As I drove home with the book next to me in the car at 1:00 a.m. (and one for my mother who wisely had me pick one up for her so she wouldn't have to fight the crowds) I realized that all I had to do was flip to the end and read. All these years of waiting, of wanting questions answered, desperate to know who would die and who would live, I could so easily find out.

But I didn't want to. For once, I kept myself completely spoiler free. I stayed off the Internet all together. I refused to watch the news, I wouldn't read the newspaper. The desire to find out was there, but my desire to have the experience not be ruined by knowing the outcome was stronger.

Which is why I won't be posting my opinion here for now on what I thought of the book for fear that it might accidentally spoil it for someone else. Maybe next Saturday I can do a blog about my thoughts on the book, since I have so many of them.

I stayed up until 2:40 last night reading and then realizing that my little one could be up at any time, forced myself to go to bed (falling victim to the "just one more chapter" syndrome). I woke up with her at 8:00 a.m. and finished the book at 2:00 this afternoon.

Stephen King wrote an essay last week for Entertainment Weekly talking about how he planned to be in line at midnight, but how sad he was to see Harry Potter at an end. How he thought that Rowling couldn't possibly write an ending that would please people, only because it had been so anticipated for so long. How he knew he would want to put the book down, to stretch the experience out, to savor the story.

I understood. I felt the same way. But my desire to discover won out and I raced through it. I have since gone back and reread several parts, and will probably read the entire thing over again soon.

With that I bid a fond farewell to the Harry Potter saga, and thank J.K. Rowling for writing such an imaginative and captivating series, for taking us from Lumos to Nox.

Thanks for making me a believing Muggle.


At 7/22/2007 10:46 AM, Blogger Karlene said...

Great post. I got my book at 7:30 a.m. on Sat (no lines)and finished at 12:30 a.m. this morning.

I feel exactly as you do about the end of an era. Like it or hate it, it has marked our culture indelibly.

I too avoided all forums that might leak anything about the ending. And I will not be posting a review for awhile.

At 7/22/2007 8:52 PM, Anonymous Amy said...

I lined up for the book at 2:30pm Thursday morning, spending the night in front of Barnes and Nobles, sleeping only two hours on a cot to get my number, at noon friday, to get the book at midnight. I was number three and number one and two were my uncle and mom.

I went home after getting my number and being interviewed by the news and slept until 6. When woke up, I dressed like Luna Lovegood and went back to Barnes and Noble for the midnight party.

At 12:02 am Saturday, I got the book! Then I went and stood in line with my friends to get their books at Walmart. After that we went to my friends house and read the book out loud. It took us 20 hours to read. It was a great ending to the Harry Potter books!

I was six when the first book came out and eight when I read it. Weird to think about.

At 7/22/2007 11:59 PM, Blogger Julie Wright said...

I too am a believing muggle. I loved being immersed in that world and want to add my thanks to yours to J.K. Rowling. Thanks for breathing words into a new generation of readers.

At 7/23/2007 9:42 AM, Blogger Jennifer Leffler said...

You are right about kids growing up with Harry Potter. When my daughter was 10 her 5th grade teacher got an advance copy of Book 1 and read it to the kids in his class so the day it was released in the states I was dragged to the bookstore so she could buy her own copy. I felt I should read the book so I knew wht my daughter was reading - and became hooked. That 10 year old is now 20, engaged and starting her senior year in college and took her little brother to Walmart at midnight for Book 7.

At 7/23/2007 1:52 PM, Blogger Rebecca Talley said...

My daughter has grown up with Harry. She even dyed her hair red to be Ginny at the midnight party at a local bookstore. She's locked herself in her room to finish the book and has forbidden any talk of Harry Potter until she's done. I had to buy a second copy for the other kids to read. She asked me if I was willing to pay for therapy if she's too depressed by the endiing.

JK Rowling has done an amazing thing--she's shown kids (and adults) that reading is valuable, entertaining, and worthwhile.


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