Friday, July 20, 2007
When James was, I think, eight years old, we were browsing the book aisle at Sam's one day, and he said "Hey! This is the book that Connor is reading. Can I get it?" Seeing as how James was never hugely into reading the way Amanda was, I bought the book since he was so excited about it, without a clue as to the path we were all going to be heading down.
The book was Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, and it changed our lives.
Perhaps that's a tad melodramatic.
But the Harry Potter series HAS been a source of great pleasure to us all, even Randy, who dutifully goes to the movies with us, and has listened to the audio books on some of his long drives. The kids and I have enjoyed midnights together at Walmart, waiting for them to move the pallet of books to the front and open it to the delight of the waiting crowds. We always buy three books. We each read one, the kids keep theirs, and I send mine on to the Aikin library. We have laughed and cried together, we've shared theories and hopes about upcoming plot points. We have emailed each other articles about J.K. Rowling and the books and the movies.
James always gets both the US version and the UK version, thanks to amazon.uk. This has really been his deal, although Amanda and I really enjoy Harry too. James was about the age of Harry when he started reading the books, and he's sort of grown along with the characters. And now, he's graduating and going off at the same time Harry is growing up and going out on his own. It's pretty much a perfect circle for kids - boys, especially, of James' age.
We have been in a state of great anticipation since the announcement of the release date for the final book in the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and we've made plans for our last trip to Walmart together tonight, then home, where James plans to read all night. Amanda wants to stay up, but poor thing has to work tomorrow, so won't be able to finish it until tomorrow night. I'll stay up as long as I can, but Randy and I need to go to Hot Springs tomorrow for a meeting. I've told Randy he will have to drive, and I will fight my tendency to carsickness the whole way, so that I can read as well. He understands, and even promises to bring dinner in to the condo so that I don't have to stop reading. He's very good about that.
I've been so disappointed in the last few days to see all the spoilers popping up everywhere on the internet, and in the press. What's the point?!? Why can't people leave well-enough alone? Harry Potter is not the Pentagon Papers, nor the Starr Report nor even Dick Cheney's written confession that W. is a robot he's been operating for years. For crying out loud - it's a popular book, and the author and the publishers have asked that shippers and booksellers and reviewers wait until everyone can have access at the same time. I've been afraid to click on anything on the internet, for fear that I'd hit a spoiler...and I want to read the book first!!!! It's just sad when people think that just because they can, also means they should.
Let us have our fun.
Let us celebrate the end of a series that has changed the way young people read.
Let my kids and me have our one last night at Walmart, waiting to read and share with each other the end of the spectacular tale of the Boy Who Lived.