Saturday, October 20, 2007

My Summer at Hogwarts

Like millions of others around the world, I eagerly awaited the final book in J. K. Rowling's amazing Harry Potter series. When it hit the shelves in July I snapped it up and devoured it in a day and a half. The Queen of Blue Balls had made me wait two years between fixes and the suspense was killing me. When I was done it was like "Huh? What? I don't remember... How did he... What the hell!!" I knew there was nothing for it but to re-read the entire series in order. Which I did. The entire month of August. I barely went on-line except to read my emails and complete my Pogo challenges. I wanted nothing to distract me from my immersion into Rowling's world of witchcraft and wizardry. I came through the other end feeling drained and forlorn. It was over. I would no longer have this wonderful world in which I could escape and I was lost.

It pisses me off when I hear people dissing the Harry Potter books. Rowling's genius lay in her ability to pull the reader into an entirely believable world. She could have set it up as a group of kids on a sheep ranch in Montana and it would have been just as interesting. The theme is an old one - Good Kids vs. Bad Adults; Extraordinary vs. Ordinary; Good vs. Evil. By setting her book in a magical world, one that existed along side our very ordinary one, she made sure her books had a universal appeal. Kids and adults from Bangladesh to Bangor, Maine could read and understand the trials and tribulations of little Harry Potter.

J. K. Rowling is also directly responsible for my return to the written word. When I was younger I would often have two or three books going at the same time - one at school, another one or two at home. That stopped in 1997 when my mother and brother died within weeks of each other. I found that I could not read more than two sentences at a time without my mind wandering. This makes it very hard to follow a story, so I quit trying. Until Harry Potter came along that is. Rowling's writing focused my mind, drawing me out of myself and into her world with a clarity that had been absent for too long.

I've read that Rowling said the idea for Harry Potter came to her all at once and that the books practically wrote themselves. You wonder if the muse will ever strike her again. And if it does, will she be able to pull it off like she did with this series. Is there another story burning in the back of her brain, eager to be set free? I wonder. In one way, I hope so. In another, not so much. Maybe she shot her wad with this book and her next will be a disappointment. But whatever happens - Thank You J. K. Rowling for setting me free!

9 comments:

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

I've so been missing you! I'm delighted with how you re-read the series! I'm happier still that you feel set free!
Grief takes it's own time. Thanks for this one.

A wildlife gardener said...

Books can transport us to other worlds as if by magic. It's a great feeling to be so swept away and use our imaginations.

I enjoyed your last post too, Sally. Smells are very evocative, aren't they? I feel that way about particular flowers, as their smell instantly takes me back to days in my childhood.

Sally said...

Hi Tanna - I've been right here all along. LOL Been a busy summer. Thanks for your kind words.

Hi W.G. - I read that Rowling felt a sense of bereavement at the conclusion of her writing. That word fits how I felt at the end of my reading perfectly. Thanks for visiting.

Mike M said...

J. K. Rowling is not only a great writer but she retained writing and production elements of the movies. This made the movies parallel with the books. The book are by far better but the movies stay true to form.
Don't worry about those HP critics. They are caught up in another book

Sally said...

Hi Mike - I totally agree with you. That's what makes the movies so enjoyable to watch. She's one smart lady.

kris said...

I love HP too - and as eagerly as I awaited book 7, I dreaded finishing it. After I was done, I felt the same way you did - I have to read them all through from start to finish again!! I'm saving that treat for this winter, but I'm looking forward to it.

I think JK is a genius - the critics of the series are missing the point, imo - but really, that's their problem!

Sally said...

Hey Kris - Actually...I'm thinking of reading the series again this winter too...

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

There was a time here when some bad mouthed the Harry Potter as the antichrist.
Pffttt! I think anything that gets people to read any away from the tube is a good thing!

Sally said...

Sandi - You got that right. The tube AND the computer! LOL