Let’s give a warm welcome to my good friend Melanie from Reclusive Bibliophile, who is stopping by today to share her thoughts and love for the seventh and final book in the Harry Potter series. Melanie is a big Harry Potter fan and a wonderful blogger and you are just plain crazy if you don’t take some time to check out her blog. Meanwhile. . .
“Anybody who read the Harry Potter books as they were released will remember the anticipation they felt while waiting for the seventh and final book in the series. It was a mix of pure excitement and pure dread. I wanted answers: Where are the rest of the Horcruxes? Is Harry a Horcrux? Will he make it out alive? Yet, I was reluctant because I knew that once I turned those final pages, it was The End. Hank Green probably sums up these feelings best in his song Accio Deathly Hallows. All of mugglekind was indeed under Harry Potter’s spell.
The funny thing about the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is that, like other important life events, I have a flashbulb memory of the day it came out. My guess is that a lot of people can remember what they were doing that day quite vividly. At the time, I was working at a residential summer camp in the Poconos. I had the youngest campers, so at first I felt all alone in my wait for the book’s release. I planned ahead to have my pre-order go to camp instead of my house, and I asked a Senior Staffer to check the mail room for me to let me know when my book got there because I had to stay with the kids at activities all day.
This turned out to be more difficult than I anticipated. On the day of the release, the mail room was PACKED with Harry Potter books. Almost all of the older kids had asked their parents to have their books shipped to camp. The enthusiasm for these books was perhaps the most magical thing about them. Never in my life before or since that day have I seen kids so caught up in reading. The camp was abuzz with Potter talk. Some kids were racing to see who could finish first, forgoing activities to read. Others savored the book, trying to make it last, and demanded that those around them remain spoiler-free.
Unlike the kids, I couldn’t quite skip out on activities. Once I got the book in my greedy little hands, I had to tuck it away for a few hours until my campers went to sleep. I tried to stay up and read it — I had read the rest of the books in a single sitting — but I was sick all throughout that summer, and that sickness ended up driving me to bed only 100 or so pages in. I spent the rest of the week trying to read during rest hour, though my young campers didn’t quite grasp the significance of my reading time, and then again at night after they went to bed. It took me about a week to get through the book. It was tough to keep the campers in the activities I supervised to stay quiet about what happened, but I managed to make it through without any spoilers. It wasn’t quite the reading experience I imagined for myself, but it was amazing nonetheless.
I’ve since reread Deathly Hallows while healthy and more coherent, and I loved it even more, but my strongest memories of the book will always be tied back to that summer. Anyone who has ever questioned the value of Harry Potter need only watch a camp full of kids eagerly picking through piles of books to find their own copy in order to understand the power these books hold. They need only see the intensity with which these kids read, and the light in their eyes when they talked to each other about what they were reading. That is the true magic of Harry Potter.”
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
by J.K. Rowling
Originally published in 2007