Happy and Sad
Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I really feel like standing up and applauding. I sometimes do that in movies, ya know. It's an odd thing and not many people do it, but I still do on occasion. Yes, I know that none of the people who made the movie can hear me, but it's an acknowledgement of a job well done. If I think it deserves applause, dagnabbit, I'll clap and I don't care who turns around and looks at me.

But this was not a movie. It was a book. I came in late to this series. At first it was just to see what all the fuss was about. People were rattling on and on how great they were. That there had not been anything quite like it in years. I'm speaking of Harry Potter and I just finished reading The Deathly Hallows.

When my kids got old enough to be interested in it, I, the concerned Christian parent that I am, had been hearing all sorts of things about the evils of witch-craft and the dangers of letting children read such things about magic and sorcery. And to be honest, I almost heeded those warnings. Then I remembered my own youth. I was an avid fantasy reader and role-player in high school. People I knew kept telling me about how Dungeons and Dragons games had been known to become possessed by Satan or how people had let those types of games go to their heads and they became immersed, irrevocably, into a fantasy in their minds. There was even a movie about it. Remember "Mazes and Monsters" starring Tom Hanks? I thought of how absurd those comments were back then because A) I turned out okay, B) some of those stories were just that - stories - and C) that folks who actually beleived that kind of thing was real truly had something mentally wrong with them to begin with (like Tom Hanks' character in that movie). But just to be safe, I read the first one before letting my son read it. I found it to be an extremely enjoyable book that was excellently written. The length of the next books bothered me and the rumors of it getting darker was a little worrisome, at first, but with each book, the stories just kept getting better. Darker yes, but not exceedingly so.

The movies then started coming out and we've seen them all. Like most, I think that "Prisoner of Azkaban" was my favorite even though some major points were left out that would have taken only a few more minutes to point out or digitize (Harry's patronus and how meaningful it was, for one). The latest, "The Half-Blood Prince" though straying quite a bit here and there, was still very enjoyable and well done. The only one I haven't cared for so far is "Goblet of Fire."

At any rate, like I said, I just finished The Deathly Hallows and I was so happy with how it ended. Being the sensitive guy that I am, I admit that I teared up in the last few pages when Harry goes to see Dumbledore's portrait and left incalculable power behind. I wanted to applaud Rowling for such an inspired work. The fact that she came up with that entire world, complete with the spells and their own sport, is astonishing. Even more so that she kept bringing things up from the previous books and showed their significance. Throw away dialog turned out to be extraordinarily important. But then, I had a twinge of sadness. There would be no more. No more stories about Harry. No more Ron and Hermione. No more wonders of the wizarding world from Rowling's imagination. I only felt this way once before and that was after the end of "Return of the King." The sigh of relief that the peril of the storyline was finally over, joy that those I cared about would live "happily ever after," yet sadness that the story did, indeed, end. The characters I had invested so much time in would not be seen again in any new adventure. Sure I could watch everything again, read it all again, but there will always be that yearning for something more. Something new and exciting.

And now my search will begin anew. I'm a picky sort when it comes to books. I have my favorite authors and find it particularly hard to find new ones that I like. I love Robert Asprin and Peirs Anthony. Douglas Adams is a favorite, as is Stephen Lawhead. I recently found a copy of A Spell For Chameleon by Peirs Anthony that I will probably pick up and thus start that series afresh. I just hope that at some point I can find something else, something new, that is as well written and enoyable as what I just finished.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009 1:33 PM


May I please recommend The Dresden series of books by Jim Butcher. Well written, intelligent, charming, and fun.
Nothing will ever be as good as Harry Potter, but it definitely makes for a close second. We will all miss Harry and the others. It's almost like losing a beloved friend.


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