Tonight is the night a decade or so in the making. I can hardly stand it. I’ve had tickets to a midnight showing for roughly a month now, and even though I will be insanely tired at work tomorrow, there is no way I’m missing the last new Harry Potter.
I wasn’t always this crazy.
No one ever said kids books had to be just for kids, but it wasn’t until J.K. Rowling started this opus to wizardry and friendship that I really believed it. Sure, I had read plenty of kids books, but I read them when I was a kid. I could reread certain children’s literature for the nostalgia aspect, but I wasn’t really interested in wasting my time perusing new ones.
But these books are something different. They captivate you from the start. No adult should feel silly reading these books. They are so obviously written by someone that loves books and words and history. The books grow and age, both the children in them, and the content and narrative itself. It’s an incredible feat to be so aware of your characters at each stage and to usher them so lovingly and naturally through adolescence.
People often talk about how amazingly creative the books are, imagining new worlds and games and histories. But to me it is much more impressive that Rowling is such a meticulous and informed writer. She had the story fully envisioned from the beginning and plots it perfectly. Things that appear in the first chapter reappear with greater significance books later, a modern usage of the rule known as Chekhov’s gun. Her spell language and character names all have a basis in Latin that is full of foreshadowing.
These are books about children, but for everyone. After the last one came out, I was sad to be at the end of the Harry Potter journey, but I consoled myself with the movies that had yet to be made. Now, we are at the end of that journey as well. It will be sad. It will be exciting. It will be perfect, here, at the end of all things.