I finished reading the seventh and final installment in the Harry Potter series last night. I spent the entire weekend on a reading binge, first re-reading the sixth book, then blazing through the seventh.
Let me just say, well done JK. You have managed to not only wrap up the saga with a Martha Stewart worthy bow, but you’ve managed to take the final book in directions I never expected. There was so much new mythology, so many new details on the characters. So much backstory! This is an author who truly loves her characters.
And now that it’s over? I don’t know. I’m completely satisfied with the seventh book. All my questions have been answered. And yet I’m oddly sad. It’s hard to believe the whole thing is over (and don’t say, “but there’s still two movies left!” The movies don’t count). All the waiting for the next book, the midnight release parties, the one day that the publishing industry triumphs over movies and video games and television shows.
I hope something else comes along the gets kids excited about reading, I really do. It was such a joy to see children clammering for a book. A BOOK. CHILDREN. READING. Wow… The first book was released in the US in 1998. A good chunk of the children lining up to get the last book weren’t even born yet, and still they were part of the excitement.
The whole thing is bigger than the story. The Harry Potter series has left an indelible mark upon popular culture, and I hope part of that legacy is that it gets kids to pick up other books, latch on to another series. I know my childhood was richer, my imagination more vivid, because of the rabid reading I did. I hope if I ever have kids they’ll pick up books with the same enthusiasm.
And if it seems like their interest is tepid, I’ll just hand them Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.