Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Book 7)
I feel as if I’ve broken the surface of a deep, still pool – I’ve been submerged in the latest and last book in the Harry Potter series, and a few minutes ago I read the last chapters, the last paragraphs, the last words, the last page. And now I’m breathing deeply and taking a look around me for the first time in a while.
It’s not that I’ve spent the entire weekend with my nose buried in a book – I did end up spending some time at the rummage sale yesterday at Holy Moly, which was very successful, and in spite of my freaking out over missing one deadline for print classified ads, the turnout the first morning was greater than it’s ever been in the history of St Nick’s, apparently. And I’m relieved and happy for the committee that put in so much hard physical work gathering stuff and figuring out how to store it, that their hard work didn’t result in a disappointingly small number of bargain-hunters (who were there waiting with clutching claws for the opening on Friday morning in their hordes, thank God). I ended up going over after the concrete guys laid the driveway, and stood around helping out where I could and packing up unsold stuff for donation or storage for next year’s sale. Also, I’ve got several big garbage bags’ worth of summer clothes that we’re donating to a work-friend for a Haitian orphanage charity that she supports.
So last night, we went out to dinner at Kampai, because we’d missed out on sushi before a few nights previously, and on the way back David teased me that there was no need to stop anywhere for any old…book. Teased me that it would be sold out, teased me that we should stop at a Christian family bookstore, that sort of thing. And then we stopped at Borders, and there weren’t any crowds because that was over and done with, and walked in the door to see a long table set up with about 3 dozen neatly stacked copies of “Deathly Hallows,” and also on the table was a box of tissues, ready for use by sobbing fans who no doubt had plopped themselves down and started reading.
I’m always sorry to see the ends of things I care deeply about – it may sound strange, but much of my adult life has been lived mostly inside my head, in beloved books and favorite shows and movies. I have my “real” life, and my “not-real” life, and every now and then, something new and different and enthralling is discovered that dominates my “not-real” life, or at least has a kind of “time-share” with the other enthusiasms that have become a part of my “not-real” life.
The Harry Potter books are kids’ books for everyone, because they reach the essential child that lives in every adult. They won’t appeal to everyone, but they will appeal more to people for whom imagination is an important part of their inner life.
I can’t really speak to the criticisms that “Harry Potter is Satanic” or any of that “occult” claptrap. I can’t cite chapter and verse, but I’ll tell you one thing: the values in Harry Potter, and the underlying themes, are familiar to anyone who’s read Holy Scripture, but they’re subtly changed. The entire series is centered on the eternal struggle between Good and Evil, that the weak and the downtrodden should be protected from tyrants, and that self-sacrifice for the sake of others is the highest and most powerful act of Good.
In church today, the Old Testament reading was from Amos, a simple man who last week was a simple herdsman and dresser of sycamore trees, and this week was asked again by the Lord:
This is what the Lord GOD showed me– a basket of summer fruit. He said, “Amos, what do you see?” And I said, “A basket of summer fruit.”
A simple guy, who was called to do great things, who would much rather have been back taking care of his sheep and his sycamore trees, was Amos. Also, he was kind of a plodder and a bit literal, if you ask me, but solid and worthy in the end. I realized tonight in reading that the Neville Longbottom character was a bit like old Amos – he really was only good at Herbology, but found unknown and unguessed reserves of leadership and resolve and ability as the books progressed.
There are other characters whose motivations and deeds could be pretty successfully compared and contrasted with Bible figures, and also with mythical heroes, too.
No spoilers here, though. David’s been given the book now that I’ve finished it, and he’s already nose-deep in it and occasionally chuckling or muttering “Hmm! that’s interesting…” as he goes. He’s only just started it. As soon as he’s finished, we’ll have to get together with Steve to discuss the details in the book – it’s not so much that loose ends are tidied up, as that the hidden interconnections between everything that went before are finally revealed.
There are underlying themes that I want to sink my teeth into and worry a bit… the ones about tyranny and groupthink and how fear can make an enemy seem more powerful and all-knowing than they really are, and how that fear can be exploited by a cynical few in order to stay in power.
And I may just have to re-read all the books again in order now. Which I’m sure was Ms. Rowling’s intent from Page One, Book One.