Well, like much of the rest of the world my weekend was devoted solely to Harry. With book #6, I didn’t read it right away. In fact, I didn’t read it until just a few months ago…and by then I knew that Dumbledore had died (though not at whose hand). It wasn’t a surprise when I read it.
This time I wanted it to be different. I wanted to know, right along with everyone else, who died, who lived, if Harry triumphed, or if it was Voldemort. I couldn’t bear the idea of hearing it second-hand this time.
Darling Daughter and I preordered our copies from Amazon, guaranteed to arrive Saturday. DD works at a PostNet store in town, so when her dad dropped her off at work Saturday at 9:30 a.m., she was anticipating having to wait for the books. Well, they were already there! So, my husband arrives home, I report that DD has called and the books are there. He offers to go back to get my copy. I, of course, having 8 hours of work left to do for the day, say no. He, of course, being married to me for 21 years, knows I’m lying through my teeth and goes back anyway. (Gotta love the guy!)
He delivers my book and I allow GameBoy (my 11 yo son) the honors of opening it. We very, very sneakily try to see how many pages it is without seeing what the last word of the book might be. 759. Wow. That’s going be a push. Hubby, seeing the really sad, sad look on GameBoy’s face, because he is going to have to wait until Darling Daughter or I finish one of our copies before he can read it, decides to bargain chores out of him in exchange for a trip back to the store to get his own copy. Sad. We are so sad. A family of 4 with 3 copies of the same book because none of us wants to wait.
It was worth it.
GameBoy started it at 10:30 a.m. Saturday. I started it at 5:01 p.m., the moment I finished work, and Darling Daughter started it by 6:00 p.m.
GameBoy finished it at 1:30 p.m. Sunday. (Did I mention he’s 11? That’s my boy!)
Darling Daughter finished it at 2:30 p.m. Sunday. (No surprise there.)
I finished it at 5:30 p.m. Sunday (slowpoke!).
We spent much of the previous three days avoiding TV, the radio, the internet, and delivery owls who may have been tempted to ruin the suspense for us. We succeeded in remaining in the dark, although a few times I had to yell at GameBoy (some 200 pgs ahead of me and reading in the same room) to stop gasping and making faces, because I didn’t want to know!
I was so happy with the book. I loved that Rowling didn’t sugar coat it. That there were deaths as she promised. I realized later, though I cried wholeheartedly at those deaths, that, being a war, had there been no deaths…no meaningful deaths…or only faceless deaths…it would have diminished the importance of the war. It would have minimalized what Harry had just spent the last 7 years doing….fighting against evil. Not just for himself, but for everyone. Those deaths all meant something.
So to any parents out there worried that their kids shouldn’t be exposed to death, guess what? Your kids will be exposed to death (or already have been) for the whole of their lives. Rowling didn’t betray anyone or kill off characters just for kicks. She allowed characters to sacrifice for a good cause. And they all did it with valor and bravery.
I’m sad to see that the series is over. I think, someday, I may read them all again, beginning to end, just to pick up on all the things I know I missed.
But in the meantime, thanks, Jo, for sharing with us your incredible imagination.