|After hearing from my girls what a let down the fifth movie was and seeing as this was the first Potter movie i had ever seen either all the way through or in a theater (AND which we saw at the IMAX in 3-D, which, with the popcorn and Raisenettes threw our monthly budget so off kilter we continue to reel), I decided it was time for me to really give those books a going over.
You see, I thought the fifth movie was great. Sure, there were some points during the movie at which I scratched my head and wondered aloud “hubba-wha?”, but overall, as movies aimed at children AND their parents go, this one was very good. (I guess I’ve seen enough animated kids crap over the years where talking animals make jokes that try to work for both the kids and the adults, that it is nice to see a movie that just delivers a good story and not a bunch of tired double entendres.)
But seeing the movie and hearing my two eldest daughters moan about things, I finally decided I’d give in and read the books. I had some backtracking to do: my youngest and I had read the first two and were about 1/4 of the way into the third book when we lost interest or time in reading out loud to each other. So I grabbed it and read it all. That book and the fourth one were easy to digest–a very light meal, compared to the 800+ page tome that is the 5th book. But it was all skillfully done, I think, making those first few interesting but not so weighty, and then challenging all of us to keep up with the twists and turns and remember who did what and when. This is where I think my way of reading (most) of the whole series at once gave me a leg-up advantage than those who read each book as they were released.
Anyway, I took a quick trip to CA to see my folks and took the 5th book with me, finishing it the night before I left (with the 6th book at home, not with me to start on the plane coming back–doh!). And spent the last week in major Potter mode, devouring books 6 and 7 whenever I was neither working nor comatose. I finished book 7 just two days ago, and I totally get the sad and lonely pensiveness of my two daughters upon their completetion of the final book in the series. Even before I finished the book, anticipating that it would soon be over, I found myself walking away from it, on purpose, and only long enough to shower. No one (new) had died at that point, but Harry walked back into the room where he left a handful of people and found the room packed with people who showed up to help support him and support the common good, decency, and, in the end, love. I have to walk away now, just thinking about it. But that was the moment when I knew the book was really concluding, just by the sheer will of itself, and I needed to break off, if only for a little while, to prolong what was desired and inevitable, and yet, still sorrowful: the end of the story.
My husband was a little less than supportive of my diving into the book and away from familial duties, on this, the last weekend before I start working a full-time schedule (for the first time in 14 years, by the way). And then, I caught him picking up where he left off in book 5. Then reading it again in bed, and again, this morning before getting out of bed.
It’s infectious. Partly, I think, because we all want to be in on the jokes, on the conversation. I keep making stupid references to the book. “Kreacher doesn’t live here,” I yell as I pick up bits and bites of crap left lying about. I wanted the butter passed to me the other night and no one was listening so I yelled “Accio butter!” Middle daughter slid it my way while rolling her eyes.
I drove eldest daughter downtown to the library the other evening and she asked why one stop light wasn’t working but all the others around it did. “I don’t know,” I said to her, in all honesty. “You should,” she said with her nearly 14-year-old snippy self. “Okay,” I snipped back, “it’s because the Ministry of Magic decided we didn’t really need that particular stop light” (to which, I would heartily agree).
“You’re such a dork,” she laughed.
Yep. I’m a dork. But with all the things I’ve done since becoming a parent for my children’s sake, many of them are things that I walk away from and say (now there’s two hours I’ll never get back–High School Musical 2 comes to mind). But I’ll never wish for any of the time that I spent reading this series. Was it the best story ever? No. But it was close. It was good, and it reminded me why I loved reading when I was my children’s age, why I still love reading when I give myself the chance to read fiction.
There isn’t much that’s better than a really good story with characters you want to spend time with, even when they are acting a bit, well, “mental.” Living a good story, yes, that would be better. But this is a very close second, and I have no regreats.
To J.K. Rowling and the publishers who finally got her vision I say: thank you, thank you, thank you–for my children and their love of the story and for reminding me that that is my love, too.
At least I know I’m not lonely in the realm of dorkdom.