Something deeply momentous happened to me last week – that’s right, I FINISHED READING HARRY POTTER. You may recall at the end of last year I decide to pick up where I left off part way through the series as a teenager and continue reading from ORDER OF THE PHOENIX onwards. Too long had I suffered the looks of contempt from my co-workers at the admission that, despite working in children’s books, I had never finished reading the Harry Potter books; too long had I seen the world of movies, merchandise and theme park grow, without much clue what all the fuss was about. That time was over – now it was MY TIME.
If, like me, you’ve lived under a rock this far and managed not to read the books, turn away now because I am literally going to spoilerise the whole thing… Have you looked away? Good.
I mean – I CAN’T BELIEVE DUMBLEDORE DIED BEFORE THE END AND I ALWAYS KNEW SNAPE WAS GOING TO END UP GOOD BUT WHO KNEW HE WAS IN LOVE WITH LILLY, THAT’S TOTES TRAGIC, AND TONKS AND LUPIN LOVED EACH OTHER SO MUCH AND WE DIDN’T EVEN SEE THEM DIE, AND WHEN HAGRID THOUGHT HARRY WAS DEAD, I JUST CANT, AND DID I MENTION HEDWIG? ALSO WHAT’S WITH DRACO HE’S SO TORTURED AND DOESN’T WANT TO BE BAD REALLY, HE CANT HELP HIS STUPID FAMILY, AND WHERE DID SIRIUS EVEN GO, WHY DID NO-ONE EXPLAIN THAT WEIRD DOOR THING AND YOU FLIPPIN’ GO GIRL MRS WEASLEY FOR ENDING BELLATRIX LEBITCH… AND HERMIONE, WHAT A HERO, SHES GOT ALL THE MOVES AND WHEN RON WORRIES ABOUT THE HOUSE ELVES AND SHE KISSES HIM ❤ ❤ ❤ AND WHEN HARRY CALLS UP ALL THE DEAD PEOPLE TO HELP HIM WALK THROUGH THE DEMENTORS, AH MY HEART!!! Basically – ALL THE FEELS.
So that’s my summary of emotions as I finished. But seriously, I think I spent a long time thinking “yes all the general public may love this Harry Potter business but I know better because I read all the kids books” – I thought I knew better and it wasn’t the be all and end all. After all it’s not like the other gimungous kids and YA trends have all been good (cough, Twilight, cough) but I am now absolutely astonished by the genius of Potter. The story arc from beginning to end is truly spectacular and the details dropped in at the beginning to hint at bigger things just goes to show how much she knew and had all planned out. Some bits of the writing are so beautiful it hurts my heart to read, the relationships between the characters are so complicated and multi-layered… Not to mention that these books really changed the game! Suddenly adults weren’t embarrassed to be seen reading a kids book on the tube, and an entire universe of fandom has sprung up across the globe. To have created that is really incredible, and it wasn’t without cause. Breaking news guys, Harry Potter is awesome.
My life feels that little bit more complete now I’ve worked my way through them. No longer must I feel the shame of the last ten years. Now all I need to do is… Watch the movies!
Take a look at our book club discussion of Order of the Phoenix here.