Well, I finished it. And I don’t think it will spoil any of the plot if I confess to you that my rapt adoration of Neville Longbottom continues unabated.
In case you haven’t realized it, I am talking (as is almost everyone around me) about the long awaited Book 7 of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Paul and I are big fans.
We bought the book early on Saturday morning at Target (where he had long ago reserved me a copy as a surprise), and we spent the morning reading it aloud to each other, taking turns with the chapters. Lying on the couch with my head back, listening to Paul’s voice weave the words of the story before my mind’s eye, I remembered again the childhood joy of having books read aloud. It was fun, experiencing the twists of the plot together and stopping every now and then to discuss our new theories or to gasp over some shock. After about 130 pages, we put the book aside to take the kids to the mall, and when we returned, I picked it up again and continued reading, solo. I finished at about eleven o’clock last night, totally spent.
Now it is Paul’s turn, and even as I type this, he’s curled up reading in bed. With every swish of a turned page, I wonder what part he is up to now, and mentally I urge him to hurry, keen to have someone with whom to share all the chuckles and exclamations and tears I held back as I was reading, trying not to ruin the ending for him.
Nor will I ruin it for you.
Instead, I’ll tell you about the fun I had Friday night, when I showed up at Hastings’ Harry Potter Launch Party to take in the sights with my friends Marci and Amelia (a.k.a. Luna Lovegood—note The Quibbler tucked under her arm.)
Butterbeer flowed freely, and boxes of Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans lined the store shelves, waiting for the brave-hearted, iron-stomached few. Everywhere you looked, children and adults in black robes and various magical accessories lined the aisles and flew haphazardly around the store, awaiting the chime of midnight and the chance to finally hold the last Harry Potter novel in their anxious hands.
Several celebrities attended. Harry himself was there, of course, although he kept changing sizes and ages and his scar itself seemed now made of silvery eyeshadow and now drawn on with a purple marker. I managed to snap a quick picture of him as he flew past.
Ron was also there, although his rat, Scabbers, had definitely seen better days. Apparently, someone had transfigured it into a rubber replica, and he was swinging it around in a most careless manner.
Characteristically, Hermione alone seemed to stand calmly on the sidelines, and very graciously allowed me to photograph her. I’m not sure why the photograph isn’t moving. Perhaps Canon hasn’t yet mastered the technology required for proper magical photos?
At any rate, the crowd was happily busy discussing their theories and questions as the minutes ticked away to the official release time. Who is R.A.B? Is Harry going to die? Which side is Snape on? And now that J.K. Rowling has enough money to buy her own country, what will she name it?Speaking of questions, my friend Amelia—I mean…uhh…Luna—is very good at Harry Potter trivia, one of the contests being offered to those waiting in line. She won enough temporary tattoos of Harry’s famous lightning bolt scar to start her own Harry Potter impersonator school. I, however, missed four or five questions before Amelia took pity on me and just gave me one of her prizes to stop me trying again.
Though I left before the magic moment (planning to buy my book later, remember), I’m so glad I was there to witness the glorious hubbub. It was entertaining to take part in such a landmark pop culture event, and to pause for a moment to celebrate the skills of an author whose fantasy world drew so many back to the joy of reading for pleasure.
Even if it did turn out that Darth Vader was Harry’s father all along.