"I opened the box and I started disappearing. It was a magic box. Then I went through all of my nightmares and I became friends with my nightmares. And we acted like clowns and danced around..."
"One morning, I woke up with a nasty face and slober coming out of my mouth..."
So, this is the summer of Harry Potter. We get a double dose of the boy wizard and the various characters that come along with him. I have an admission, I am just as excited about book seven of the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which comes out on July 21, 2007 at midnight, as any kid. One reason for this is I'm just ready for the series to end. It seems like its been going on forever, which, in a sense, it has, I guess. But that's beside the point. Its just a good time read and if nothing else, reading the series is a great way to clean the mental palate. If you want to, you can read deep thoughts into the series, or just kind of skim along and let the adventure that is the Harry Potter series take you away. Its fun to be wisked away to a magical word for a few a while, its better than listening to the news.
Thirdworst's post regarding her infatuation with Harry Potter is much more interesting than mine, but I thought I'd join her in the discussion. I first got involved with the phenomenon known as Harry Potter in Spring of 2000, or so. I was in between jobs at the time, but I had found temporary employment with a company that administers and scores state aptitude tests. I was scoring essays written by fourth and fifth graders in Tenessee or Kentucky, I can't remember exactly which. The students had to write to a prompt. In this case, the prompt said something to the effect of "You get a box in the mail. You open it up and a character from a book pops out. Tell us what happens."
I got to the series late. The first three books had already been published. I'd never heard of Harry Potter and I had no idea who "Hagrid," or "Ron Weasley," or "Hermoine Granger," or "Dumbledore," or "Voldemort" were, but a good 80 percent of the essays I read dealt with these characters. I became curious about them, but I don't think any of the people I worked with knew who these characters were, either. Its safe to say, I think, that the series hadn't really taken off yet. It was still a kids' book and hadn't been picked up by adults en mass as yet.
After about two weeks of these essays, I was in Sam's Club one day with my mom and I saw the first three books on sale. They were ten bucks each, so I bought them and read them and, like most people who have read the series, was taken away. I loved them (particularly The Prisoner of Ascaban, which is still my favorite of the series). I was amazed at the story. I was hooked. In case you were wondering, those two quotes above came from two different student papers I read. I just thought those were great sentences so I had to write them down!
Eventually, the temporary part of the "temporary employment" came to a head and I needed to find another job. I applied at Barnes and Noble and got hired. I was hired a few days before Goblet of Fire came out, I remember I ordered it from Amazon and was bummed that I didn't get it until three or four days after the release. I think that was the last time I ever bought anything from Amazon.
I didn't actually start at BN until after the Harry Potter release, which was a good thing, I suppose. I have worked the last two releases and they have been nuts. Fun, but nuts. The next one, on July 21st will probably prove to be the nuttiest one of all.
In preporation for the seventh and final book, I have reread the entire series. I have even skimmed through a couple of the books that have come that guessing what the end is. I think the last book is something 744 pages long. J.K. Rowling has quite a few loose ends to tie up. And of course we all want to know who the two that die are. I have a few guesses, but for each guess I have there are two or three reasons why that character can't/won't/or shouldn't die.
The movies have been good. I have enjoyed them. They aren't the book and they really do cut down the books, particularly the Order of the Phoenix, but at the same time they do get the basics of the story. I was disappointed that I didn't get to see St. Mungo's Hospital of Magical Maladies, but I thought it was quite clever how the screenwriters were able to put a whole chapter in the book into about two lines in the movie. I thought that was effective. The final fight scene seemed awfully abreviated and Sirius' death almost anti-climactic, in the book it is much more powerful.
I have another admission: I have a crush on Ginny Weasley. Yes, I do. She's tough and takes no junk from nobody, particularly in the books. She should start coming to the forefront in the movies starting with the next one.
So, there we are. Harry Potter mania continues to roll on, gathering steam. Its going to be an interesting couple of days. Enjoy it. Just do me a favor, post no spoilers. Thanks.