Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Let me start by saying that there will be no spoilers in this post. I won’t go into any detail of the plot, since I know it was important to me to go into the final book completely blind. I wouldn’t want to be responsible for spoiling that experience for anyone else; instead, I will simply blather vaguely about it’s excellent structure points, how reading the series has affected me, and the general, over-all awe in which I regard the fantastic Ms. Rowling.

The series is complete. Some of my suspicions were confirmed and there were some surprises.

As I hoped, there will be no surprise 8th book. I find this finality comforting. In fact, I stopped reading Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series a few years ago for the specific reason that I am afraid that the author will die before wrapping up the massive series. And if I’m going to be that mentally and emotionally involved in a tale — as I have been with HP — I need closure.

I feel an overwhelming satisfaction, but also a distinct sense of sadness that has nothing to do with the plot. It’s over. I’m going to miss the adventures, characters, and fantastic settings — but the ending was, if I were British, spot on: exciting, intelligent, emotional, magical and right. I really feel there was no other way it could have ended.

And, to interject a little author worship, that’s the most extraordinary thing to me: there is no other way it could have ended. Why? Because Rowling laid the ground work for the final 150 pages six books ago, and built on that foundation impeccably through the thousands of pages in between.

And here’s another thing I found incredible: the fantasy world she built. Yes, there is a fantastic sense of imagination going on there — with the magic, muggles, spells — but she built solid and unbreakable rules that she did not once break for the sake of the plot. In a world that intricate and vivid, I would find it hard to keep all the rules straight, first of all, and even harder not to allow them to shape the ending into something either too easy or too unbelievable.

The point is that I’m pretty much in total admiration of Rowling and her amazing brain. I’m such a little fangirl.

THE GOOD
I’m infinitely inspired by her. The fact that she didn’t really begin writing until later in life (not very late, granted, but out of her 20s), and that she created such an incredibly involved world for this wonderful, original story to take place in… that she handled her characters in such amazing ways — there were so many of them, and they never broke from their normal personalities… that her plot wrapped in the most logical, perfect way that it did… that her writing was so vivid and descriptive, without being overly so… and a dozen other things my feeble writing could never capture adequately. It makes me want to better what I do, to push it farther than I ever have before; to make my writing more than it ever has been.

THE BAD
I can’t compete. Even in the midst of my best, most confident self-pep talk, I can’t ever pretend to be half the story-teller she is. And that leaves me feeling discouraged and very inadequate.

Also, I won’t be reading anything else for a while. That was my plan anyway, since I begin on my next novel in Sept, but I have no desire to read anything else. I think I need time to mourn the end, and my brain refuses to accept that anything I might read would live up to the HP series. And, as an aspiring fantasy writer, I wonder how many other people out there will be feeling the same thing. I think HP revealed the fantasy genre to a whole demographic of people that wouldn’t have otherwise experienced it; does that mean they will return to other genres when nothing else lives up quite the way HP did? Not that there isn’t quality fantasy out there (I’m wishing to shortly be among those in the pool, after all), but there will never be anything like Harry Potter again.

But there’s beauty in that, too, and I for one feel blessed to have been a part of it all: waiting for the next book to come out (what’s the title? what’s the cover? what happened to so-and-so?); discussing theories with other readers; watching my husband — a savage reader of computer/coding manuals — become immersed and excited by the book and movies; dressing up as Hermione for Halloween. Of all the things that go into having kids, I can’t wait until I can read them this series as bed time stories, as my parents did for my brother. It’s been a great ride, and although I am genuinely sad it’s over, it’s been a pleasure to have been a participant.

And thus, I’ve completely exhausted my vocabulary for synonyms of “good”.

All was well.