Harry Potter


31 Jul 2007 01:35 am

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Last night I settled in to read the last bit of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I sat in a quiet room away from the telephone, television, radio and people. The cats were allowed, however, being very literary creatures. First my cat, Sabby settled in on my lap and then Captain climbed on the arm of the chair. As the story became more intense, Cappy also climbed on my lap.

I wasn’t reading the book out loud but I think the cats could sense my inner turmoil as I turned the pages. When I was finished reading I closed the book and sat a while longer with my loyal kitties, pondering the events contained in the 759 pages.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is, without a doubt, J.K. Rowling’s best.

The novel takes off on the events directly following the previous book in the series, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2005), and through many twists and turns leads to the final battle between Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort. The Wizard world divides in two: those who follow Voldemort and those who support Harry.

Nineteen Years Later, the Epilogue was an extraordinarily satisfying resolution to this powerful story of personal courage and perseverance. How often do children read a book that tells a story of courage in the face of certain death? The courage to walk alone, stand up against powerful opposition and face death.

Something about the epilogue brought comfort and finality to the Era of Harry Potter. Readers know without a doubt that the life for which Harry yearned was attained. Unlike many in our present world of unconscious Muggle-like humanity Harry understood the cost he had to pay in order to be able to appreciate the joys of having a family.

I’ve had close calls in traffic at different times in my life (on the German autobahn) that left me pinching myself later on to be sure I had indeed survived and then would get chills up my spine all over again. Reading this final novel provided plenty of chills.

And yet the reality of our understanding of the world is trumped by a fictional story about a boy wizard who recognizes evil and doesn’t let anything stop him in his vow to defeat it. The moderate little milktoasts at the Ministry of Magic made war on Harry in order to keep him quiet about the return of Voldemort. That’s before many of them join Voldemort’s side. Subtly, Rowling confirms the old aphorism, If you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for anything.

I first learned about Platform 9¾ on a train. My daughters had read the first book in the series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and were so enthusiastic about it that I decided to read it. We were on a train from Paris to Heidelberg and for some reason had our own car. We all stretched out around the train compartment and I was seated comfortably across two seats reading about Harry’s first experience taking Hogwarts Express. I became completely captivated.

The Hogwarts Express was a selling element of the story to me. (being fond of trains and travel) So I became a Harry Potter reader as well, anticipating each new novel as excitedly as any young person.

I hope J.K. Rowling continues to write. She’s written a fantastic series and I’ve no doubt that she’s got many more stories in her.

23 Jul 2007 03:14 pm

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Art by Laura Lee Donoho

The wonderful British Isles which beget my favorite writers, Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Thomas Hardy, Jane Austen, and Charles Dickens continues to amaze in the person of J.K. Rowling. I am only a fourth of the way through Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and am savoring every word. The plotline is brisk, emotional and breath-taking. The foreshadowing intense and devastating.

I’m going back to read some more and will resurface sometime soon.

21 Jul 2007 11:07 am

Last night close to midnight I went to the local bookstore to get the latest Harry Potter book. My daughter, son-in-law, sister, two nieces and nephew were also out to experience the Harry Potter excitement. It was huge in our city. Lines of people wrapped all over the store and outside into the parking lot. Children and adults were in on the action. I saw kids dressed as characters such as Luna Lovegood. I saw quite a few of my former art students at the party too. It’s really quite thrilling that so many children and their parents are like the dockworkers in the eighteen hundreds who awaited the next installment of Charles Dickens.

I had been staying away from the internet all week because I didn’t want the experience spoiled by leakers such as the New York Times. At the bookstore they were giving away Harry Potter posters as well as other things. A sticker they were giving away said, Snape is loyal. But now that I am on page ten of the book I am wondering, loyal to whom?

I will be laying about today, reading J.K. Rowling’s seventh in the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows. I won’t read it in a rush because I want to take in every word.