Thursday, August 2, 2007

Post-Potter Depression

Okay, so I didn't coin the phrase, Post-Potter Depression. I'll tell you who did in a bit. But I am suffering from it. It took me about three days to finish it, mostly because I pre-ordered the book, which meant I had to wait around for it to get delivered. Then I also had family in town and I could only be so rude and disappear to read so many times. But it was kind of nice to savor the last of these great books, to linger over it. I tend to devour books when I anticipate them, reading too fast to catch every last detail and then regretting it later. No such problem this time. But I did have to avoid news websites or other places that might ruin it for me. I did the internet browsing equivalent of plugging my ears and singing, "na na na na na." Nothing was spoiled, thank heavens.

If you haven't yet read the book, stop here. Get off your bum and read it and go no further in this post.

It is a beautiful book. One of my favorite things about the Harry Potter series is Harry's noble heart. Sure, he occasionally lies to get out of trouble, he breaks rules when he finds them unjust, he gets angry and hurts people, and sometimes he's frightened. In other words, he's human and imperfect. But he is full of goodness. Even though he is connected to Voldemort and tied to him in ways that no one else is, he is nothing like him. He doesn't hesitate to do the right thing. What I love about these books is knowing that we all have the potential to be brave and make bold decisions, to fight against injustice, to have friends that will stand by us. To be loved and be capable of love. These are all universal themes in literature, but J.K. Rowling puts it in such a nice package. There's a reason why the Harry Potter series has brought children back to the love of reading.

What I hate the most is people nick-picking the book to death. The inconsistencies (minor, believe me), the lack of or blatant support of certain religious themes (depending on which website you read, J.K. Rowling is either an atheist or slathers the books with Anglo-Christian symbolism), or not using the characters as they see fit. Write your own darn book! Sheesh! My complaint was that Snape didn't show up until late in the book when he was such a central character in HP6. So? Did that make the book any less great than it was? Nope. I got over it.

For some really good analysis of The Deathly hallows, read this online dialogue between Orson Scott Card and Patrick Rothfuss. You can also read the essay that Card wrote before HP7 came out and see how close he got to what really happened. I know I use a lot of Card references in this blog, but he's good.

I cried when Dobby died. I cried when Fred died. I cried when Mrs. Weasley battled Bellatrix Lestrange and yelled, "You will never touch our children again!" At that moment, I felt her pain, I felt her furious protection of her children. I cried when Tonks and Lupin died, knowing that they left a baby behind, another generation orphaned by Voldemort. I cried with Dumbledore as he talked to Harry. I cried when the headmasters applauded Harry in Dumbledore's office. And finally, if that wasn't enough crying, I sobbed when Harry tells his son who he's named after and why. That killed me. I had hated Snape along with Harry all through the books. After HP6, I was convinced that he was a self-interested fiend, whether or not he was for Dumbledore. As Harry watched Snape's memories, I felt such remorse, such pity for the boy that became Snape. For his bad decisions, for his unrequited love, for his sorrow that consumed him.

Man, I'm getting emotional just writing all this down. I suppose it's time for another reading of this lovely book. I can't wait until my children get old enough and then I can read it again and relive it through them.

P.S. All I can say is that Neville Longbottom rocks. He is one of my favorite characters in this whole series. I have loved watching him become the hero that he ends up being. If I could play any character in the series, I'd pick him. If I were male, anyway.


  1. Amen! (or insert a non-religious agreement here)

    Gave me chills reading those highlights. This series is truly a masterpiece.

    My question is - why did Annie read this post when I know she hasn't read the book!!!!

  2. heee heeee
    now I know what happened. Now I don't have to be so scared for what is around the corner, I can read it and not be sitting on the edge of my seat with stress. I don't have to put the book down and walk away, because I cannot stand the knot in my stomach.
    Besides I had already heard the gist of it in another blog, so Red doesn't have to worry about ruining it for me. She didn't. She made it better.
    Besides, a lot of the time I read the end, or skip ahead so I don't have to stress. I still read it eventually.
    And I don't have to suffer from Post-Potter Depression. All the fun still lies ahead for me. I haven't read most of the books.
    I must be ADD, I cannot keep one book in hand for very long. I just get bored. Sorry

  3. I totally agree with JK Rowling abuot people who skip to the end. It disgusts her! I don't know that I would use those exact words, but part of it is the journey you take with Harry and if you know the ending, I think it lessens the impact of the journey. You're not able to really feel what he's feeling. I was overwhelmed with emotion as I galloped through this book and I can't wait to read it again and truly savor it. That being said, I do think the epilogue was a bit too pat and I wish she would have left a bit more to the imagination. However, she will be writing an encyclopedia where she'll go into more detail about the characters and their backgrounds and where they ended up...Hero Neville included!

    Thanks Jenny! It was so fun to read your thoughts. I too had Post-Potter depression.

  4. Okay, Princess and Andrew, you have reamed me out . . . I feel properly chastised.

    ::hangs head::

    We have started to read it together, and guess what? I have totally forgotten what Red said.

    I guess that is part of "Old-timers disease". . . everything is brand new!

  5. Very nice post Red. You are a great writer, and your post makes me want to start the book. Thanks for the motivation!

    I am sorry that you are having PPD.
    You will have to start telling the girls a few bedtime stories and editing down the scary parts until they build up a little resistance to excitement and come to love the story like you do. I always like telling the kids stories, and I think that would help me with PPD.