Saturday, July 21, 2007

3... 2... 1... happy new book!

Last night was a wonderful night for literacy. Hardcore Harry Potter enthusiasts of all ages donned their Hogwarts uniforms or pledged allegiance to the forces of evil to toast the release of the final tome of JK Rowling's fantastical saga. They came in capes, in scarved, in thick oval framed glasses, they wore makeup, they dyed their hair, they gave themselves Harry's lightning bolt scar. Harvard Square and Coolidge Corner were both carpeted with die-hard readers who all pre-ordered the 739-page mammoth that would end the battle between good and evil.

It's been 12 years since the release of the first book and I can't for the life of me remember why reading a single series excited so much popularity. Perhaps it was the accessibility of the novel's fantastical world and the simplicity with which a wizard's world revealed its inner workings to children and adults. The books started off rather skimpy and only grew in size and complexity, but the fact that some books stretched beyond 800 pages never hindered those little readers who have perhaps only been able to string together words for a few short years. I watched the line as they roared at midnight; tiny toothless tots excitedly clutched the hands of their parents while teenagers and much older enthusiasts cheered from various disguises holding onto their magic wands.

The phenomenon will continue with 3 more movies still to embody the last 3 works by Rowling. I have yet to read the 6th book (even though I already know its tragic finish) before I round out my own experience with Potter in his final moments released to the public last night. A classic story of the struggle between good and evil in a whimsical world has brought overwhelming richer-than-the-queen success to an author who struggled as a welfare mom before the Potter project; JK Rowling has cast a spell on readers around the world by capturing their imagination and enlivening their eyes to devour words and their fingers to fervidly flip pages.

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