Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Harry Potter: Temptation Beyond Measure

(It's not really a spoiler that follows, but it has some innuendo)

As I'm sure everyone's aware of, the final installment (book seven) of Harry Potter came out last weekend. Back in 2000, I was pretty skeptial on Pottermania, but after much browbeating from a former roommate (Drew Corum), I agreed to read the first book. It's an experience that, I'm sure every Potter fan has gone through. It was similar to someone introducing you to that first piece of [Insert Your Favorite Food Here]. For me, Harry Potter was like being given a grand piece of Swiss chocolate. I could try to explain my enjoyment with the novel in more detail, with more panache, but this is a pretty accurate portrayal of the experience. Reading Harry Potter is like eating your favorite candy. It's one of those experiences that you just simply can't get enough of. You looked forward to the arrival of the next book in the series, and rereading the stories never got old. It's a fantastic feeling and I can't help but wonder if this is what the movies were like for people stuck in the Great Depression?

Anyway, enough of the philosophy. This past week, I reread books five and six to refresh myself on the pertinent issues and get psyched for the conclusion of the series. I finished book seven Sunday evening. First, let me say that, looking back on it with several days space, it was a pretty good read. I give it a 4 out of 5 stars. So, all of my Potter-breathren, don't hate me when I reveal that I wasn't enamored by the final fifty pages. There was closure and for that I am thankful to Rowling, but as for the type of closure offered, I felt that I was cheated. The climax was fantastic, but it ended with a bitter taste in my mouth. It wasn't quite the gourmet darks of Lindt that I received, but rather more like a milk chocolate Hershey kiss. It was sweet and still a joy to read, but not quite the chocolate that I crave and search for the world over. Yet still - it was a wonderful ride and I respect the author for sticking with her storyline.

I've chatted with several friends about the ending and I've come to one conclusion. This was a children's series. It always was and always will be. You may grow up with the characters, but it is still meant for the children's genre. No matter how much I wanted Potter to evolve to that next level, which for me that means the ending would have reached the level of Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment (which it could have - not in the prose but in terms of the inevitability of the stoy's conclusion). But looking back on it now - I don't think that the story could have ended any other way. And for that I am both upset that the series didn't make the leap that would push it beyond the children's genre, but I understand why it had to end the way it did.

So long Harry and thank you once again for chocolate.


Post a Comment

<< Home