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Thursday, September 18, 2008

I Feel Like I Lost a Best Friend

I think I began reading JK Rowling's Harry Potter about 9 months ago. Admittedly, I was late on the scene. I have seen all the movies and was waiting to read the books when my girls were of the right age. But with the lurking last movie to come out in 2009, I felt I needed to get on with out them.

My goal was to read all 7 books before the Half Blood Prince comes out in theaters. I have more than reached my goal.

Last night, sadly, I finished book seven. *sigh* and it is strange, but I feel depressed. Harry has been a constant beside companion, traveling companion, appointment waiting companion, beach-reading companion since approximately last December. I have read Harry every single night before bed with few exceptions. And now... *sniff* it's done. It's gone. It's over. I really don't know how I am going to go to bed without Harry.

If you've read the books as they've hit the shelves, you've had a very different experience then me. I literally read one after the other. I might have briefly put the book down to read another book in-between that I knew I could polish off in a few days, but basically it has been me and Harry.

It really does feel like an excellent friend of mine is leaving me...

Spoiler below... highlight in order to read...
Well, now that the sniveling is kind of done for now, I'll get on with it. Book Seven was my favorite! It was perfect! True, it was very dark and a little like a Shakespearean novel with all the blood that was shed. True, there were more deaths of major and not major characters than I can keep track of. But even still, it was the most well written, well thought-out, well delivered of all her novels.

There were no pages I thought she could have cut. In books 2 - 5 I felt there were pages and pages, scads of pages, that could have been cut. But in book seven, every page counted and it ended as it should have.

AND... you know how I last said she is unpredictable. I did predict this. I totally predicted way back after reading book 1 that Harry was Voldemort and he was Harry. Of course I didn't know a thing about Horcruxes and that what bound them was a piece of Voldemort's soul, but I thought they shared souls somehow. I knew that it would have to end the way it did; that with destroying one, he might destroy the other. And I knew since book 1 that Harry would marry Ginny and Ron Hermoine, I wondered about Neville and Luna... I also always knew Snape was ultimately protecting Harry. Even when it seemed he had turned truly dark, I maintained that it was an act. And when it seemed he had killed Voldemort, I thought, no.... this was planned between them. It had to be.

I mean I guess everyone probably guessed all of that - that Harry was absolutely connected to Voldemort in some mysterious way, but at least in book seven she made me feel like a successful reader. And this is what we want our readers to feel - rewarded for having read our book(s). Successful in predictions. We want them to feel smart. And finally through all the rigamarole, I did! I finally felt smart.

When Harry marched through the forest to his own demise, knowing he would have to die in order to save the world - the greater good - I was like, WHAT? NO! HARRY, DON'T DO IT! I was angry, thinking, NO JK, You don't have to do it this way. But then I saw all the pages that were still left and I thought, well either there will be life after death or he doesn't die. I did always think that at the end, she had to have the parents come back and Sirius. And that at some point he would be reunited, but still, I did NOT want him to die.

It was fantastic; Harry in the wispy world with Dumbledor and to "be with" Dumbledor again. All that he said, all that Harry said... The squirmy Voldemort-thing in the corner... It was all exactly as it should be. And THEN for him to feign dead, for Malfoy's mother to lie! It was perfect! For sniveling Hagrid with lake-sized tears to carry Harry, believing he was dead. The centaurs in the woods... All of it! McGonagall shrieking in agony at the sight of Harry's limp body... I can't WAIT for the movie(s)! All of it; it was just as it should be!

JK Rowling; You're an amazing woman, an amazing writer, and an amazing business woman. If I should only experience a tenth of her success I will die happy and fulfilled.

But now what to do without Harry.... This is the question.

I bought Twilight today. And I will read it tonight. But it won't be the same. I know it won't be the same...

Is there a club I can join to help me get over Harry withdrawals... HPA... Harry Potter Anonymous??? Like a bereavement group...

19 comments:

PJ Hoover said...

I so get what you mean about getting to the end of a series and having that letdown.
Which speaks so highly of the books!

Sheri said...

I felt this way after I read The Red Tent. In only one book, Anita Diamant did the same thing to me. I fell in love with the characters and when the book was over, for about a week, I pined for the female characters of that story.

How was Oklahoma?

Barrie said...

I can completely relate to that sad, let-down feeling when a good book comes to an end.

Devon Ellington said...

I read them as they came out, and then I did what you did, and re-read them all back to back. I know exactly what you mean. The characters are so real and immediate, and people to whom you want to stay connected.

Jeanie W said...

I experienced HP withdrawal for a little while when I finished book 7. Pouring myself back into my own stories and characters helped my healing process.

Cibbit said...

I love the Harry Potter series and felt sad when I turned that last page and closed the book. Like you, I started reading them later than most and was able to read 1-5 back to back.
Now, you get the joy of reading them for a second, third and fourth time. If you read them as fast as I did, you may find interesting little nuggets and tidbits you may have missed on the first go round.
On my blog, I have a posting about how intensely Harry Potter mania has been intrenched within my psyche. A discovery made over a cup of coffee. Perhaps you can relate.

Angie Frazier said...

Sheri, I experienced Harry withdrawal as well after I read the first three books one right after the other. I couldn't believe how much I loved Harry and his story! After that I read the books as they came out. After reading the last book--I stayed up until 3 a.m. to finish it, and I bawled my eyes out over Snape--I did feel so drained. A good drained though. Wow. She is one massive genius, isn't she? :-)

Sheri said...

Barrie - wouldn't it be great if we can do this to readers of our books! As Jerry Sienfeld said... leave on a high note!

I know Devon! I think when you read them back to back they really do breathe and live. And to have it as such a constant companion, makes the absence that much greater.

Cibbit, welcome! I'm a Gryffindor, by the way. I'm sure you've gone to the sorting hat website if you're as fanatical as I am. I know what you mean about it living inside you. The other day it was chilly and dark clouds were blowing over and I said, it looks like the dark mark is above that house and dementors are on their way. My kids laughed. But when this happens in the presence of adults who don't write for children or read children's literature, sadly, the message is lost and I look stark raving mad!

Angie, we should only be so lucky and talented, right! I only had to stay up until 11:30 to finish, but I read v e r y s l o w l y... to drag it out as long as I could.

You know, just between you and me... and the rest of the world... I have had dreams about Harry! I think if I was a teenage girl, I would be in love with him.

Oh and check this out... a friend and I were in a local restaurant for breakfast during the first week of school - our annual celebratory breakfast. Anyway, I was on book 6 then and almost done and we were talking about all the books, about JK herself, etc. and this table next to us.... the dad said, I'm sorry, I don't mean to eavesdrop, but I just have to break into this conversation... and he and his daughter joined in. It was a small restaurant so a conversation ensued about JK and Harry. No one gave book seven away because I begged - but imagine being that influential a writer, that a small-town cafe breaks out into a conversation about you, the world and characters you've created! If that isn't success...

OH! and the whole Dumbledor is gay thing… I just don’t see it. I guess they are insinuating it was with Grindewald??? Still, I don’t see it and is it really necessary?

ChrisEldin said...

Hi Sheri,

I haven't read any of the Potter books. I wanted to this summer, but didn't have time. I think I will now, before diving into anything else. Good to hear you like them so much!
:-)

Sheri said...

Chris, I was thinking about you last night as I began reading the Twilight series. So far, I am not impressed. I hate to say this, but I don't think it is well written and I found a typo on page nine, unless this is some expression I am unaware of. She wrote something like... "...it had been belonged to me..." It had been belonged? I don't think so. I think all she meant to say was "It belonged to me" Or "It had belonged to me." So far, I am very let down, hoping it will get better.

ChrisEldin said...

Sheri! Why were you thinking about me! That's funny!
I read her first book and thought her writing sucked. And I hated the message of the first book--the weak female being rescued by the bad, bad boy. Stupid.
I haven't finished it. Almost, but I just couldnt.....

Sheri said...

Oh, that's a BIG DUH! Yeah, I kind of left that part out... HAHAHA! Out of context, that can sound kind of kinky...

Well, you told me you didn't think I'd like Twilight as much as HP. I think you said it was fluff writing. And as I was reading it, not all that impressed with the writing, I remembered you telling me that and thought, well Chris did warn me.... I think it was when I was trying to decide if I should continue HP and read book seven or stop for a little and read Twilight...

I haven't read enough to get to the message, but so far I am wondering why people have compared her to JK. I never thought JK was a beautiful writer - not like Sharon Creech or Pearl S. Buck, but she was well written. I really think Stepnenie's writing is weak and at times confusing. I wonder if her subsequent books will be better because she has learned more...

keri mikulski :) said...

I know exactly what you mean. I feel this way after reading one book, but a series, I can seriously go into a depression. Sending hugs. :)

Sheri said...

I know Keri and every book I read, I can't help but compare and feel unsatisfied.

strugglingwriter said...

Book Seven was the best, and I had many of the same feelings.

Those who say J K Rowling is not a good writer are just jealous of her success.

Sheri said...

Struggling, you know what it is about JK's writing, there is no poetry. But her books and subject doesn't call for beautiful narratives. That's not her style. So, I guess it take a little getting used to. She kind of writes like she is reporting the news. There is no inuendos, just the facts, or a mingling of facts, or a hint of facts, but it's not like reading Pearl S Buck or Sharon Creech with their beautiful poetic phraseology of even the simplest of things.

Gottawrite Girl said...

Honestly, what better sign of a GREAT book IS there, besides feeling depressed about it's absence! Wonderful!

Sheri said...

I totally agree Susan. I want to make readers depressed, too!!!

ChrisEldin said...

Hi Sheri,

Sorry for the tone of my post!!! I didn't mean to sound, um, I dunno.... Everyone has different tastes... I personally love Dean Koontz and he's one of my guilty pleasures. I can't get enough. I know the plot is always the same, but I just love his writing...
Oh well!
:-)

“Personal limitation exists only in our ideas of who we are. Give up all notions of who you are and your limitations will vanish.”

- Anonymous