Monday, July 23, 2007



Spidey fans everywhere will tell you that "With great power comes great responsibility."

Those who linger in the Potter-verse will say, "With great adventure comes great cost."

Personally I'm going to need to explain to a client tomorrow that "Potter ate my homework." (Hey, I'm not a slacker! I didn't get HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS until Saturday afternoon; it's over 700 pages and I had to quickly read the last 100 or so pages of #6 to get up to speed. Plus I had family obligations Sunday morning. When did I have time to work on things for clients??)

Yes, it's here. The much anticipated last hurrah for the Potter books. It's that moment we've been longing for and dreading all at once. But more longing. DEATHLY HALLOWS sold 8.3 MILLION books in the first 24 hours.

That's some serious fan base.

So, what's the scroop without spoiling the plot for those who can't blow off personal responsibility, barracade themselves in their favorite reading chair, and inhale the book immediately? JK Rowling didn't phone this one in. HALLOWS is a fitting ending for the Potter series.

All the elements we've come to know and love about a Potter book are woven into the fabric of the narrative. Her characters (when they aren't busy dying) continue to come alive. (That's NOT a spoiler. She's warned all along that there is a price to be paid in the struggle.)

Is this book any greater than the others? No. But I think the previous book are pretty special. Like most Potter-heads, I have them all in hardback. It's a great final chapter to the series. It delivered on the story promises she's made.

And many times during the book I was reminded of those classic scenes in westerns when the hero(es) are walking to their fate and the walk becomes almost slow motion as the character comes toward the camera. You just know something special is going to happen.

There are a few curse words. Nothing inappropriate. Darned appropriate, actually, given each instance.

If you want me to quibble, I'd say some of the logic as we were hitting the home stretch got a little convoluted. In Rowling's defense I was reading quickly, so I'll delay final judgment on that until I've had a chance to do the series justice and reread it from beginning to end. But that's a lot of pages and will have to wait a bit. I've got a few projects I have to catch up on...

How about you? How many of you out there visit the Potter-verse?


MaryF said...

I finished at about 10 last night. Loved it! I thought she did a great job tying in things from other books, and she stayed true to the characters.

Helen Brenna said...

The book is burning a hole in my kitchen countertop as I write this. Alas, I must wait for my son to read it first and hope he isn't dying to tell all before I get to the end!

Very glad to know she does justice to the series with this end book.

8.3 million!!!!

Debra Dixon said...

MaryF-- Yes, absolutely, she stayed true to the characters for which I am delighted. She pulled the other books through the narrative so you felt like the entire Potter experience was "integrated."

Helen-- I would have had to buy my own freakin' book! LOL! What an unselfish person you are. Of course, you are talking to the person who had her own crayon box when she colored with her son.

lois greiman said...

I don't know what's wrong with me!! The Potter books just haven't quite done it for me. And I'm a huge paranormal fan. Maybe I still stack everyone up against Tolkein. Anyway, my apologies to all and sundry.

Debra Dixon said...

Lois-- There is no need to apologize! I'm also a big fan of Tolkein, but that's a different type of fantasy. Just says you like high medieval fantasy and not magical contemporary fantasy. That's cool. Have you read George RR Martin? Or Robert Jordan? You probably have. But if not, you might enjoy them much more than Potter.

Michele Hauf said...

I read the first HP, and that was enough for me. I think it was knowing that there were going to be so many in the future, that sort of intimidated me, so I quit while I was ahead.

But I marvel over the HP fans who get their books, head home, and do a marathon read! What's up with that? This is the last one! Don't you want to savor it? Read it slowly over many days?

I think that's what I'd do. Savor. Pace yourself, people! What will you do when it's all over?

They're going to have to form 12 step HP programs.


Debra Dixon said...

Michele-- After finishing the book, I checked out some news items (didn't want to before in case of spoilers). One of the things I hear echoed by fans is that after the marathon read, they full intend to sit down and read it again slowly. Just as I plan to read the whole series again now that it's complete.

Kathleen Eagle said...

I might be one of the few people in the world who hasn't Pottered around at all. Even when I was a kid, mythology was the closest I came to devouring fantasy. I did like the Rings and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, but not as much as historical fiction and stuff like Leon Uris, which totally absorbed me.

When I was teaching 7th and 8th graders, my team-teaching partner got a small group of kids into the Rings. They read all 3, and she led weekly discussions while I handled the rest of the class. Her love of fantasy--she was also an artist, painted lovely fairies and dragons--transferred to those kids. Wonderful!

I'm just thrilled with the difference the Potter books have made in the reading lives of so many kids. Thanks, J.K. We needed that.

Diane in Syracuse said...

I'm one of those "must finish before bed" readers. I ordered my book, had it delivered Saturday, arrived home at 6, and inhaled the book (I can read and eat at the same time, and I live alone, so no interruptions!).

Then I went back and read the end again.

Sunday morning, I went back and started the whole thing over from the beginning.

It's not just HP - I do this with a lot of books - read it through once to see what happens (checking the end is NOT the way to go - I need to see how we got there), then go back and read more slowly to savor.

I can't even BEGIN to imagine taking a couple of weeks to read a book, unless it's a really challenging non-fiction book (it took me over a week to read Jared Diamond's Collapse: How societies choose to fail or succeed, which is a great book, but dense). I'm much more of an "inhale at a gulp" type.

I thought the book addressed a lot of things that needed to be addressed to make the resolution satisfying. We learned some new things about people and artifacts that added depth and color. And we got to see lots of old friends and acquaintances from other books, some of them showing signs of growth and maturity that were quite gratifying.

I was drawn slowly into the HP world - when I read the first few books, I enjoyed them, but didn't think they were as good as Susan Cooper or Patricia McKillip or Tolkien. But the broad sweep of the stories and the characters have been very durable and increasingly attractive to me, and this book brought the series to a fitting end.

And a church friend called me up last evening to talk about it - she hadn't finished when we met at church, so I had to be very discreet, but it was a great pleasure to discuss it once she was done.

Debra Dixon said...

Diane-- Durable. That's an excellent word for the Potter series. It holds up, book after book and across generations.

Christie Ridgway said...

Son 1 read it in less than 24 hours, despite having social obligations Saturday evening. Son 2 and Nephew 2 (visiting from Santa Barbara) have not cracked their copies. I can't figure it out. Son 2 saw the latest movie and reread #6 in preparation. I guess it's the fun of having a cousin to visit with...

I SO want to read #1-7 straight through. Hmm... Must finish my current books and do just that, I think.

Janga said...

I have been lurking for a while, but this is my first post. I could not resist commenting on this topic. I had my copy of HP 7 in hand by 12:30 Saturday morning and I finished my first reading by 6:10 A.M. I reread 1-6 last week in preparation for #7 and soon I will go back and read all seven.

My family is living proof of how wide the Potter appeal is. I just retired after 38 years of teaching English, the last 22 at the university level, and our six-year-old grand is reading Harry Potter #1 with very little help.

Debra Dixon said...

Janga & Christie--

I so envy you guys because people in your family read Potter! I'm the only one in my family that reads Potter. I would have loved for Harry to have been around when my son was young enough for us to read it together or for me to read it to him.

I have a little nephew just about old enough and I can't wait to share.

Kaitlin said...

Even if I wanted to read slowly I can't. I got mine Saturday afternoon and after a headache that had been torturing me all day finally went away, I started reading it around 11 pm. Finished it at 3:30. LOVED IT! My only quibble? No Sirius. :(