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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

My Second-To-Last Harry Potter Post Ever

What more is there to say? As I sit here in my office, there is just under 3 and 1/2 days left until I can get my hands on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I think it is quite possible I will not sleep at all Friday night, preferring to read straight through until dawn Saturday morning. I've done that before, working all night at a desk, reading, but it's been years; my body may not be up to it any longer. We'll see.

What more is there to say? I could talk about Harry Potter and my family, I suppose. I'll be going with Megan, our oldest daughter, to a book-release party--a "Deathly Hallows Ball"--at our local mall's Border's Books and Music (yes, I know, not an independent bookstore, but the only one in town that will be carrying Deathly Hallows is all the way over on the east side, and Megan wanted to see some friends of hers here) this Friday. I could certainly take some time to talk about her, adding new details to my last "Pottermania" report from nearly three years ago. She started out a seven-year-old reader, outstripping her classmates, wanting something more to feed her imagination, yet not really knowing at that point what feeding one's imagination meant; she now approaches Deathly Hallows a skilled reader of nearly eleven years old, having read and reread and watched and rewatched all the books and films so far, but having furthermore mastered Pullman and Hale and Lewis and McCaffrey and Tolkien and Riordan and Dahl and McKinley and Alexander and Levine and a dozen more authors of youth (and not-so-youthful) fantasy and fiction. And her sisters our copying her, trying to catch up. Yet our second-oldest, Caitlyn, knows that this is an experience she's missing out on, as much as she tries (she's kind of at the frustrating point Megan was at, back in the summer of 2004: she's had read to her Sorcerer's Stone through Prisoner of Azkaban, but isn't ready to go further), and it saddens her; Megan, for her part, has absorbed the uniqueness of this fan moment, as we all wait--adults and children alike--like New Yorkers on a late-19th-century dock, yelling at ships as they come in, asking the passengers what the latest twist has been in whichever of Charles Dickens' serialized masterpieces were appearing at the time. Megan, like millions of others, will remember herself as a "Potter child," and that may be something worth talking about.

What more is there to say? I mean, when popes and critics and readers of every stripe have had their crack at the books, condemning them and praising them and investigating them from all sorts of angles, one more interpretation of Harry Potter does become wearisome. The bitter or condescending or oh-so-contrarian positions taken by those who like to act like they are--or who honestly believe themselves to be--too good for or too old for or too educated for or too "realistic" for Harry Potter don't particularly interest me; it's a story, people, a good and even, in some ways, great one, and if you can't agree, well, then leave well enough alone. The only critical readings of Harry Potter that I've ever learned anything from are those who assess it in terms of (im)moral instruction; and I've learned things from them because, mostly, their accusations have not been reflected in my own or my wife's or my children's experiences with the books, and I want to try to understand where they're coming from. I've said my piece about the morality and the modernity (and the compatibility of the two) of the Harry Potter books before here. Perhaps, particularly if the J.K. Rowling takes us into her understanding of love and death and the soul the way I have come to suspect she may in Deathly Hallows, I may have more about the mystery of Rowling's faith after I've finished reading it; but then again, maybe not.

What more is there to say? I suppose I could go into prediction mode. But I've already done as much of that as I care to. Thanks to Alan Jacobs and several others across the internet, that old post of mine--which Alan kindly titled my "Great Harry Potter Post"--has received more traffic than any blog post (indeed, probably more readers period) than anything I've ever written before; and really, when you've gone so very public with predictions that detailed, the principled thing is to let them stand or fall on their own, and be proclaimed a true or false prophet, rather than hedging your claims as the reveal draws near. And oh, yes, I could hedge: I've rethought the roles of Kreacher, Alberforth, and some other secondary characters, I've come up with some new speculation based on the covers, and so forth. But the time for speculation is passed, I say. All I ask now is for an ending that thrills and inspires and entertains. Because, really, in the end, that's what it has all been about.

What more is there to say? Why, my book review, of course, just like the last one. And like the last one, you can probably expect it by Saturday night--unless I'm too wasted, in which case, Sunday, at the latest. Meanwhile, I see you in line. Megan and I will be the ones with the scarfs.


Anonymous said...

This will not be your second-to-last post.

-Adam Greenwood

Russell Arben Fox said...

What, do you know something I don't? Don't to this to me, Adam; it's getting me all psyched me out.

birdchaser said...

Russell, while you try to maintain your composure this week, I'm tagging you for the 8 Random Facts meme.

Rob Perkins said...

Adam is right, Russell. You cannot help it! :)

(And I'll probably be at a midnight release party tomorrow, so, you're not alone.)

Russell Arben Fox said...

Rob (Birdchaser),

Thanks for the tag; I think I did a meme like that in recent memory, but it can't hurt to do it again. Perhaps next week, after I Learn How It Ends.

Russell Arben Fox said...

Rob (Perkins),

You're going to a release party tomorrow?!? Dude, it's being released tonight! Better check your schedule, and fast.

Rob Perkins said...

Russell, we have differed, it seems, on the definition of "tomorrow".

I waited in line at Borders for an hour for my preorder, before I gave up and drove over to Wal-Mart, where the line was gone and where they still had about 300 copies for $2 cheaper.

And I'm already finished, because reading this book is all I did today.