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!