Saturday, July 21, 2007

Potter Goes Postal

After all that, our copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows finally arrived by U.S. Postal Service! sent it via UPS to the U.S. Post Office to deliver it to our home! Fortunately, our mail arrives mid-morning these days and the wait wasn't very long, but a few months ago we would have had to wait till late afternoon, and that would have been unbearable for my wife. And to make matters worse, we would have been looking for the wrong deliverer all day, expecting it to arrive by UPS. As our royal cousins in London might say, "We are not amused."

Okay, okay, at least it got here as guaranteed! Let's have some perspective.

Although I brought the box directly to my dear wife to open and coddle, she handed it back to me and said, "No, dear, you go ahead and read the final chapter first." I'm not a Potter fanatic and all I'm really interested in is ending all the speculation about how the story ends. Who lives, who dies, and who got it all wrong. So I told my wife weeks ago that when she got the book I would only read the final chapter. So that's what I did, although I read both the last chapter and the epilogue to get the full effect. I won't spoil it for anyone, but suffice it to say, I think it was a good ending and a fitting conclusion to the series as I understand it in my limited perspective. It had its surprises for everyone, I think. Even reading just the last chapter I learned a lot about what happened before it.

As a writer and general reader, let me say I really enjoyed Rowling's writing in this chapter. I wasn't able to read her first book because I didn't like the style, and I have stayed away from the five previous books because of it. I may have to reaccess now that I've tasted this final book and liked it. Which reminds me of a new rule I created a few years back. I didn't want to see the movie Babe when it first came to theaters because I didn't want to see a movie about a darned pig. That turns out to have been a mistake. When the movie came out on tape my daughter rented it and forced me to watch it, and I discovered what a silk purse it was hiding in a sow's ear, if you will allow a pun-ish metaphor. I was so taken with it, I came up with a new life's rule never to let my prejudices against mud-snuggling beasts keep me from enjoying a movie (or a book) again. A similar rule may apply to books by authors whose writing may at first glance appear childish, trite, and silly -- maybe the style will grow with the subject and the audience as it appears to have with HP. (I'm projecting way ahead of the curve here, since I haven't tried reading any of the other books yet.) My motto is, learn from every experience. Let's see what I learn when I walk away from this keyboard...

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