I can’t believe we finally got to the end of the Harry Potter series. Oh, I read them all myself years ago as soon as they came out (but after all the kids in the line in front of us got their copies …I didn’t elbow anyone out of the way). But the thing with having your own kids is … you can revisit books as read-alouds and rediscover (sorry) the magic of what first drew you in. So, for the past year or so, my seven year old son and I have been completely immersed in the world of Harry Potter, and last night, we came to the last word on the last page of the last book. Here is my son’s reaction:
What I loved about the read-aloud experience, other than how close it brought me to my child in the shared literary experience, is how I could see parts of the story that I had long since forgotten as a reader myself. The entire last book — The Deathly Hallows — is much darker than I remembered, and also, much more complex than I remembered, too. Rowling’s writing certainly improved as the series went on, which is a relief when you are faced with reading aloud seven very large books. The secrets and plans and puzzle of who owns what and why …. OK, so that is still a bit confusing, but I loved how my son and I kept stopping, as I asked him what he thought and he asked me why something had happened. You could see the wheels turning in his head as Harry discovered the “truth” of the situation and all of the pieces that were set in motion in earlier books. We both held back tears when Dobby died, and we expressed anger when Dumbledore was killed, and then we scratched out heads when we realized it was all part of a larger plan.
And so, I say, So Long Harry Potter.
You’ve been in our lives like a faithful companion for the past year or more, and I honestly don’t foresee myself reading the Harry Potter series for a third time. I know: never say never. But I can imagine my son coming back to the books when he is a little older, and maybe, just maybe, he will find himself revisiting Hogwarts as an adult, too, with his own child by his side as he rediscovers the boy living inside the cupboard at 4 Privet Drive . And he may well remember the sweet snuggling times we two readers had as we followed Harry Potter on his adventures into the magical world, right to the very end of the tale.
Peace (with Potter),