Sunday, July 22, 2007
DONE!!!!!!! (no spoilers)
Sorry to be away so long, but I didn't want to have the plot for the seventh and final Harry Potter book spoiled for me. See my 365 photo blog and Extras photo blog if you'd like to see photos of our adventures.
Keith dropped E and T off at B&N at 9 AM on Friday, and E got #81 on her wristband. She also purchased several HP bookmarks and a posterbook from the first five films, plus her own copy of Looking for God in Harry Potter which outlines the Christian themes and symbolism in the series. JK Rowling has stated that understanding her faith (a practicing Presbyterian) is key to understanding her books, and I've always felt the faith/Christian values underlying the books.
Anyway, I picked up E & T from the bookshop after Friday morning church, and we went home and rested up. After dinner, E donned her Gryffindor costume (again, see photo blog) and she, T, and I drove back down the hill to B&N. We arrived at about 8:45, and the crowds were enough that maneuvering my wheelchair wasn't easy, so we found a good spot by the new Scene-It game after E bought me a Dumbledore bookmark (my favorite character). T wandered off to explore while E made immediate friends with another Christian girl who is as devoted to the series as she is. E called Dana, our chiropractor's receptionist, from the party as directed; Dana will borrow E's copy on Monday afternoon when I go to see Dr. Burns next.
Many costumes came parading by my corner of the store: Mad-Eye Moody, a couple of Tonkses, two McGonagalls, one Dumbledore, many Hermiones, some Harrys, one toddler as a sleepy Hedwig, one Greyback, two Rita Skeeters, a Professor Trelawney, two Molly Weasleys, two Ginnys with bright red hair, one uncomfortable-looking Snitch, and a bunch of Quidditch players, mostly in Slytherin green. Plus a B&N staff member had dressed as Hagrid for photos with which E got a picture and a cardboard frame. Lots of people wore HP t-shirts: "I Speak Parseltongue," among others. Along with HP crossword puzzles and word finds, we were given glow-in-the-dark Harry glasses, small posters of the book cover, temporary tattoos in the shape of a "7," and small red and gold tasseled keychains with the date "7-21-07" hanging. E and I immediately added these Gryffindor tassels to our keychains. T made a wand at one of the stations.
So half-listening to E and her friend's conversation, keeping an eye on T, yelling out Scene-It answers, and people-watching kept the time moving. My friend Julie from Bible study at Lake Murray showed up with her daughter and daughter's friend, and after visiting for a little while, they left for WalMart where they could get the books cheaper, and she gave us her B&N wristband marked #44! At 11 PM we were shooed out of the store to line up by number in single-file (like that really happened!), and we counted down the seconds until midnight. We were inside the store by 12:05, bought the book by 12:08, and were outside and driving out by 12:15 at the latest, even after photos in by the car before we left.
Lit by her iPod, E read aloud the first chapter of Deathly Hallows to T and me, and when we got home, I soaked in the spa, E reading aloud chapter two. I retired to bed while she stayed up reading until 3:15 AM, waking again at 8:15 AM to continue reading until 2:30 PM when she finished.
My book was in my PO box by 11 AM, and I brought it home and started reading. Once E was done, she hung around, looking all SMUG while I bit my nails, moaning and groaning in fear and trepidation as I read through the 784 pages in 36 chapters. I found myself crying with joy in some places, in fear in others, while Keith and E laughed at me. (I could have teased E when I heard sobs coming from behind HER closed door one point in the late morning, but I refrained in the spirit of motherly love.)
I finished it at 11:30 PM Saturday, quite satisfied with this final installment of Harry's amazing epic. I hated seeing some of the characters die -- but it worked. There are casualties in great battles -- it's to be expected. I'm rereading it now to the boys, and my voice is going quite hoarse from reading five chapters since coming home from church....
So, yes, it was everything I had hoped for. And more. Great going, Jo -- you wrote an unforgettable epic of good vs. evil, one that is amazingly constructed and perfectly characterized. Perfect. Practically perfect.
I'm just sorry it's over. But being a real part of the release of the seventh book helped assauge the feeling of NO MORE. Yes, there will be two more movies, but the story is OVER. It's DONE. There's no more wondering how it was all end-up, something we've all been pondering for several years. I can't help feeling sad, but I'm also enjoying reading it aloud to the boys (although E leaked A LOT of details to them, the rat!). Anbd it will some day be new to grandchildren, and E, T, and I will be able to say, "We were there for the release of the last book." And then we can tell them all about the events of the last few days....