Monday, July 23

Harry Potter, all grown up

this reveals nothing, except to say that i am going to miss harry potter. it's not often that you feel part of an international obsession, an international reading binge that took place moments after the clock struck midnight this past saturday. i was standing on a line that stretched long around the block, curling behind the union square barnes and nobles and had to shut off everyone chattering on about the leaked copies and speculating which characters may die and whether Harry himself will in fact survive. the joy that comes from reading these books is from discovering the secrets as they carefully reveal themselves. it upsets me when people purposely choose to ruin that experience for othes. i nearly got belligerent with a man and his nephew on a crowded subway earlier that day-- imploring them (yelling actually) to not say anything they may have heard as they caught me re-reading book 6 in heady anticipation.

the weather this weekend was gorgeous--perfect reading weather. so i planted myself in the park, stretched under the sun and sank into its pages. everywhere i went, there was someone reading HP 7: children, adults, burly men, old women. i love the fact that this series can appeal to so many. they are the only books that have ever caused me to scream in fear, yelp in shock, exclaim in public, laugh out loud, and always always-- makes me cry. rowling's prose is not always very beautiful; sometimes she tries too hard to tell so much, flailing into lengthy paragraphs of exposition (or worse, making the characters exposit with no action). but she is a meticulous storyteller with an amazing sense of pacing. and especially in HP7, she creates sequences that are so vivid and cinematic, i am often left breathless. but most definitely--what really sets Rowling apart-- is her ability to create fully developed characters that i cared for as if they were my own dear friends. she is so tender with each of them, burrowing deep into their minds, creating long and complex histories, so that every emotion and every movement is uniquely Hermione's. or Ron's. or Dobby's. or Snape's. Snape, perhaps the series' most complex character whom I developed a strange, hopeful empathy for since HP1 [Alan Rickman, btw, is ingeniously cast as Snape in the films. I love him].

i finished the book around 2am this morning. knowing that this was the last made me feel sentimental during the entire read. even now, as i'm writing this, i feel the heat of tears behind my eyes every time i recall certain scenes and realize that I would never again experience the wonder of Quidditch or Diagon Alley for the first time. it's like i'm saying goodbye to people i've watched grow up (and with the films, it truly does feel like we are watching those young actors grow up). while reading, i was trying to take in each page at a measured pace, savoring every second of its wizardry. but the story kept leaping and lurching forward, brimming with violence, shouting of horcruxes, and spinning from Privet Drive to Grimmauld Place to of course, dear Hogwarts. and most wonderfully, the story continues to reinforce the basic life lessons like the importance of friendship, mercy that comes with remorse, and the most important lesson of all-- the overwhelming strength of love.

right now, i only have two friends that have finished the book. if you've finished, send me a line because all i want to do is discuss every heartbreaking second.

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