Some books hit the world, full on, like a freight train. Not many, but some.
Usually these are religious texts, but sometimes, every now and again, they are something else. Think Lord of the Rings, even those who have never read the series know of it, have some idea what it’s about. Oliver, Pride and Prejudice and Wuthering Heights, have travelled down through the ages, they are known even if they have never been read. Romanians invariably have to manage the teasing vampire jokes thanks to the impact of Dracula more than a hundred years after it was written, from Dracula spawned Twilight, which has a generation of young girls dreaming of a handsome vampire to love them. Nurses at the hospital where I had my son were preparing for a Shades of Grey baby boom later in the year (mostly by all trying to book vacation leave at the same time). Then there was Harry Potter.
While I can’t say I really understood the Twilight and Shades of Grey phenomena, I did and do follow the crowd with Harry Potter. I loved it!
Honestly, I came to Harry Potter a little late, at book three. I knew of it but, foolish me, I dismissed it because it was labelled a children’s book. A primary reason as to why I place older children’s books and young adults books in with all the adult genres, so nobody nearly misses out on a really good read because of a label. The first movie had just come out and, after twice walking past the DVD on the supermarket shelf, a work colleague told me to buy it. “It’s great” she said, so I did. The magical world of Harry Potter dazzled, childhood daydreams parcelled into a movie (doesn’t every kid wish they could do magic, like, real magic).
The next trip to the supermarket I bought the first three books, they were a little slim and I read them quickly.
I always like to read books twice. The first time very quickly so I can find out what happens, then immediately again at a more leisurely pace; unless it’s really really bad of course.
The Harry Potter books did not disappoint; as is usually the case, the books were far better than the movie, and the movie was very good.
I waited for the next, and the next, and then the next, discussions abound as to Harry’s future. How would it all end? Was Snape really the arch villain? What secrets was Dumbledore keeping? Would Malfoy get his come-uppance? Would house elves get equal rights? Who would Harry Potter end up with romantically was a major discussion at one time. I got it wrong; I really thought Hermione would be the girlfriend, but then Ron, as it was pointed out, would have been left without anyone.
Then… it happened… the seventh and final book was published! That last Harry Potter book. My husband had pre-ordered it. He woke me up in the morning with a drink and a brand new hard-back copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Opening my brand new copy of the final Harry Potter book I turned to the first page and began to read.
My husband brought me breakfast in bed. I ate it. I read. My husband brought me lunch, still in bed. I ate it. I read. My husband brought me my favourite chocolate. I think I got some on the bed covers, I didn’t really care. I read. My husband brought me dinner. I read. My husband came to sleep. I read. I finished the book at about 4 am. I fell asleep with a head full of magic. I hadn’t left the bedroom. (Boy! Did my husband earn himself lots of brownie points on that day!)
For those who might possibly not know, Harry Potter is a young boy mistreated by his aunt and uncle, who occasionally has strange things happen around him. On his eleventh birthday a half giant called Hagrid arrives to tell him he is a wizard and invites him to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Each year he has magical adventures and trials with his friends alongside the more normal boy to teenager troubles. Each book ends with a conflict against his arch-enemy Lord Voldemort until the big show-down in the final book.
The world of magic JK Rowling created to run alongside the real world is genius, the characters are great, although I actually think the supporting characters, good and bad, are more interesting than the main ones.
During the creation of this post, I asked the same question far and wide. “Choose a favourite book and tell me why.” There were those, old, young and inbetween who counted the Harry Potter series as their favourite books and many, many more who claimed a favourite book but then followed it up with “or the Harry Potter books“.
This series is now the best selling book series of all time, so if you haven’t read Harry Potter, it’s time to join the rest of us!