I was never very interested in reading the Harry Potter books. I found the movies enjoyable but that interest never made me want to read the books. The cries of outrage I heard from hardcore fans after seeing the movies didn’t help matters much.
If reading these books made them enjoy the movies less, why should I bother? I kept this up for quite a bit until July 15th, six days before the release of book seven, when I decided I was going to get through the first six before Amazon delivered my mother’s copy on the 21st.
The time constraint this imposed was a daunting one. 3,341 pages in a little over six days was, I thought, an impossible task. What I didn’t know was that these books read like drinking water. There is nothing to make these a hard read as long as you are quick on learning the lingo of the series, the non-made-up words are all simple, and these are children’s books after all. I went through the first three books in just under two days and actually had to take breaks in the latter half of the week so I wouldn’t finish too soon. In one of these breaks I went to see the new Harry potter film in 3-D; I would like to recommend that wholeheartedly, the 3-D effect looks great, it’s a different experience entirely. I finished Half-Blood Prince late Friday night and went to bed eagerly awaiting the mail the next day.
I’ll only cover the last book briefly, as it seems that everyone everywhere is discussing it always. The last book arrived at 11 in the morning and I was finished 14 hours later. Anyone who complains that that ending was ruined for them has clearly never read any other book as that was about the only way this series can end and still be remotely satisfying. Rowling is a very good writer when she’s on but I doubt even she would have the chutzpah to let evil triumph over good. I also feel like she sells out Snape, by far her most interesting character, to give him this overwhelmingly noble motive. Love after all is the most powerful thing in the Harry Potter mythos. It removes any trace of ambiguity in his action.
Reading the books in short order let me get into the books in a consistent headspace. I didn’t grow with Harry; Harry lived the entire interesting part of his life in a matter of days. J.K. Rowling, too, for that matter. You can see her rise from unknown to richest woman in England as her books progress from the first, when she is quite clearly cramped by space constraints to Order of the Phoenix which is a bloated mess of decompressed narrative.
And you thought that could only be used to describe Brian Michael Bendis.