Is anyone else caught in this quandry? I wait as eagerly as my twelve-year-old for Friday midnight, when hundreds of local families will finish up a night of "Quidditch," spells and contests with purchase of J.K. Rowling's final installment. Talk about summer treats. I have fond memories of evenings stretched out on the sofa reading the sixth book, a hot fudge sundae or two savored along with the story.
Harry Potter? I know. I read the first three books aloud, cover to cover, twice. Those editors missed more than a few awkward phrases and repeat words; there are a number of suggestions I would have made if wearing their shoes.
Yet a tiny voice in my head says the seventh book could surprise me, not just as a fan, but as a writer. I want to see the craft of the whole, now that it is complete. I want to believe.
Creating the arc of one story is, of course, something every author works hard to achieve. Rowling created seven independent arcs that could -- should -- curve together into a massive saga. I want to be astounded; please, let it be so.
Then, of course, how does it end? Not just for Harry, but for so many vividly drawn characters? Did Rowling found a way to give us an ending that satisfies without being too sweet, one that allows her to walk away from this world, should she so desire, for all time? Harry has the potential to say farewell as more than an angst-ridden teen with a wand and a vanquished evil enemy. He and his friends can deliver much more, if Rowling does.
I have theories: Snape and Harry's mother, Harry as a horcrux, Neville's potential, Wormtail's role to come. About who will die and why. Do any of the threads I think I am following trail off into nothing? Or are they woven neatly, tied tight?
The Potter series, according to one passionate analysis, builds on the experiences of England during World War II. A people who refuse to see the rise of evil, a few outspoken leaders, heroes who choose what is right over what is easy, heavy losses paid to win victory. Could this possibly be true? Or are there historians trying as madly to justify their love of a ripping good story from an academic viewpoint as I am from a writerly perspective?
The fan in me expects to enjoy the finale of this phenomenon. To my surprise, the writer in me desperately wants a seventh book that caps this series to perfection, and I don't know why I want this so much. Any thoughts?
Wednesday, July 18, 2007