Thursday, July 14, 2011

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Wonderful Wizarding World

I told you this was going to be a week of Harry Potter.  I can't  possibly review all seven books (in any reasonable amount of time).  I can't even pick one book that I can say is my favorite.  I love them all for one reason or another.  I love Sorcerer's/Philosopher's Stone because it introduces us to Harry and this wonderful world that J.K. Rowling created in her mind.  Chamber of Secrets is probably the least of my favorites, but only because I find Gilderoy Lockhart so annoyingly vain, but we are introduced to the Horcruxes even though we don't really know it yet and the lovable Dobby.  Prisoner of Azkaban brings us the affectionate characters of Remus J. Lupin and Sirius Black (oh and  of course Buckbeak).  Goblet of Fire, broadens the wizarding world by bringing in more countries and gets us back on track with the reality of Voldemort.  Order of the Phoenix shows us the young characters truly growing up with Harry realizing that he can be a leader.  Half Blood Prince finally shows us the Horcruxes and how important they are.  It sets us up for the challenge that is ahead in Deathly Hallows. 

J.K. Rowling has written this fantastical children's series that is loved by people of all ages.  I know people in their eighties who adore these books.  My two younger children were listening to them when they weren't quite old enough to read them for themselves, fascinated by the imagery.  As they grew old enough to not freak out, they came to the movies.  As I mentioned yesterday, these books are timeless and will be loved by children (and adults) for generations.  I wonder if she knew, as she wrote these books, who all would fall in love with this world and be sobbing on July 15, 2011 as they sit in the audience to watch the final movie.  I can't imagine that she did. 

These books can bring about such emotion.  I have laughed and cried and sighed and had my heart swoon as I read these books.  I smiled with delight and became angry for various characters that I felt were wronged.  I mourned death and celebrated new life.  I even threw Deathly Hallows across the room in anger when I thought Jo had killed off my favorite character.  It took my family nearly an hour to get me to pick the book back up and turn the page to know that Hagrid wasn't truly dead.  I have loved every minute that I have spent reading these books and not once have I been bored.  I don't know that I can say that about any other book I've ever read.  There have been times that I sort of skimmed through sections of books, but not with any of the Harry Potter books.  I didn't dare.  Rowling had a wonderful ability to be able to make everything interesting and important.

You may be thinking that I have found no faults at all in these books.  I have, but they have been so minor that I can ignore them.  There are things I wish I had seen more of, places I wish I could have just explored, characters that I want more back story.  But those are personal grievances and not necessary to the plot.  They may be in little notes scattered on Rowling's desk or locked up in her mind. 

There have been no other books that have made me want to be a part of that world as much as Harry Potter.  The only other fictional place I would want to truly live rather than Ottery St. Catchpole (because I would be friends with the Weasleys and the Lovegoods) is The Shire from Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and Hobbit books.  I want to go to Diagon Alley and go shopping.  I want to have a pint of butterbeer at the Three Broomsticks.  I wanted to attend Hogwarts, damn it!  My children each cried the autumns of their eleventh birthdays because they didn't get their letters. 

I am sad today because this is kind of the end of everything for Harry Potter.  There will be no more midnight book or movie releases.  No more known opportunities to dress up as Professor Sprout (or Molly Weasley) and go into public.  It's over.  It's the end.  It's final as of midnight tonight.  But I have hope.  I have hope that somehow Harry Potter will still be an important part of our lives.  I'm excited for PotterMore.  I've submitted  my e-mail in case I am one of those lucky few who get in before the October official opening.  But today is sad.  And I blame J.K. Rowling for creating such fantastic books that have wrought this emotion on this day.

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