Harry At Midnight

My first meeting with Harry Potter was reading “Sorcerer’s Stone” aloud to my kids. The universe was brand new to me (I mispronounced Slytherin, as SLY-therin, Drak-co rather than Dray-co for Malfoy) but hey, I did my best. We did a chapter a night, and it didn’t take long to figure out the J.K. Rowling had tapped into something special. Kid-lit had just taken a giant leap, and a legend was born. Tonight, at midnight, we get the final chapter.

The last Potter I read aloud was “Goblet Of Fire,” after that we had to buy two copies when the new editions came out. My wife and I would get bits and pieces of plot from the upstairs bedrooms, then we’d read them ourselves when those giant hardcovers were handed over. Rowling, bless her heart, is a master of writing gobs of pages where just about nothing happens, and I gotta tell you reading 8 million sentences that begin, “Harry, Ron and Hermione…” can make you a little loopy. But Rowling wanted epic heft, and clearly so did her fans. She spun magic.

I feel especially close to Harry because his age matched up so closely with my kids. They’ve changed as he changed. The film versions have been a bit of a hit and miss affair, but watching the young actors grow into their roles has been fascinating. The latest. “Order Of The Phoenix” is a wonderful ensemble piece. True, you have to know the story to make any sense of it all, but it worked just fine for me. Talking to my now college age kids about the books and the movies is a bonding thing now — we’ve taken the journey together, warts and all.

So, what will “Deathly Hallows” bring to the table? With the mass media descending by 12:03 the world will know Harry’s fate. I don’t care, I’ll read it through at my own pace. I’ll leave it to Rowling’s good judgment to figure out how to wrap it all up. Will Harry die? Who knows. If you’ve been paying attention though, death is a pretty nebulous condition in the Potter universe. I’ll wait for the dispatches from the bedrooms — then say goodbye.

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