105 Ways to Give a Book

Harry Potterathon Completed

I’m back online. I missed you guys so much! No, really. It felt so incomplete to only be posting occasionally and not reading your blogs. I was like Paris Hilton without her drink on.

I finished the seventh Harry Potter book on Friday morning, but then hit a batch of “real world” things to do that kept me off the Internet until now. I was almost finished with Deathly Hallows on Thursday night; at about 11:30 p.m. I was drifting off and thinking, “Maybe I can just take a little nap here on the couch and then wake up and finish the book.” Fortunately, the mom in me took control and sent me directly to bed.

In the morning, I had to get the girls ready for day camp and I had to be at work at 10:00 a.m. When they left, I had an hour to get ready for work and then read. But being that showering is so overrated, I went with extra deodorant and reading until the last possible minute. And then I read the last thirty pages at the Information Desk at work. What? Do you blame me? Later that day, I reread the last hundred pages at a more relaxed pace.

So what wisdom, what insight did I take away from my ten-day, 4100-page, Harry Potter reading extravaganza?

Those books are too fucking long.

Okay really, I liked the first three the best for their balance of fun and adventure. The fourth heads darker, for sure, but still has lots of lighter elements to it. Maybe the section on the World Quidditch Cup was a tad lengthy, but the kids love their Quidditch, so I’ll let that go.

The fifth book must come with its own dementor tucked in the jacket flap, because reading it I felt all the joy being sucked away. I mean, what a downer! There’s world suffering on the horizon, and no one will listen. The administration is corrupt. The majority of the people are misled or uninformed. There seems to be no hope in getting the truth to light. Come to think of it, maybe I would have found this book easier to handle if we weren’t in the middle of the second Bush administration.

The sixth book comes back with more action and hope. Rowling cleverly employs the author’s mantra of “show, don’t tell.” She has Dumbledore show Harry the missing back story through the pensieve. Personally, I think Rowling got off on a technicality, but still a good book.

The last book keeps the action for the most part, but with large stalling sections. I’m not going to say much more about it for now, except to say that it’s going to make a great movie. Kind of like Return of the Kingmeets Die Hard.

Speaking of movies, I also watched three of the movies this fortnight. The first two I had seen pretty recently anyway. The first three movies are able to stick pretty close to the books. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire turns the first two hundred pages of the book into about ten minutes of movie. Pretty impressive, but you can’t cut that much without losing lots of subtleties and changing plot points.

Bill and I saw Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix on Saturday morning; we came out with different views. Bill thought the moviemaking aspect of it was very well done and was extremely impressed with Daniel Radcliffe as an actor. For me, having just read the book, I was put off by the number of changes they made to simplify the storyline. Of course, the book was immense, so they had to make cuts somewhere.

Today I’m going to wrap up my Harry Potter immersion with a try at the video game that my daughters have mastered. I’ll also be visiting some blogs to join Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows discussion. Then of course, there is the small matter of how many household chores must be neglected to read all those books. All those very, very long books.

Come back tomorrow for new and almost-intelligent insight. Be ready to take sides.


Anonymous said...

I'm glad to know that I wasn't the only one who had to go back and reread the last section of the book. I also agree it was a bit long at the beginning. I am still a bit confused by part of the end and I'm waiting for my son to finish reading so we can discuss it. (He stayed up all night reading, then just stopped and won't read anymore-very frustrating!)

The Library Lady said...

I am laughing, because I had the same reaction--this is going to make a perfect movie!

She really is a genius in terms of understanding her audience. And she certainly didn't do anything that will mess up her gravy train for decades to come...

Anonymous said...

I wanna do that one day -- go and read all the books at one time, 'cause I gave up in the middle of the series. Congrats. Guess I'll need to have a huge chunk of time set aside . . . so, it'll, uh, happen in 2050 maybe.

Anonymous said...

MR, did you re-read all the books last week? That is quite the project. Awesome.

Anonymous said...

Return of the King meets Die Hard would be awesomeness, indeed.

I went back and reread the last 100 pages or so as well. Not because I'd missed anything, but just because I wanted to do it at a more leisurely pace than the first reading allowed.