My heart was racing as I ripped opened the thick package from Amazon.com that arrived in my mailbox. Staring up at me was my long-awaited, advance-ordered copy of seventh book in J.K. Rowling's beloved Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
Feelings of fulfillment that it was at last in my hot little hands were mixed with the dread in knowing that once I finished reading the last page, it would really be the last: the last book, the final chapter. Harry Potter is done, kaput, no more, goodbye. Those feelings quickly diminished, and there I was, a grown woman jumping up and down in my pajamas like a 9-year-old on Christmas morning. Most certainly, there are millions of adults who would frown upon such behavior, or who simply don't understand why an intelligent woman in her right mind would indulge in such frivolous silliness. There are, however, just as many, or as I suspect, millions more wizard-wannabes equally caught up in Harry's spell. His beloved world, printed in 63 languages, has had enormous commercial success, which perhaps contributes to the criticism and judgment by more "mature" (read: snooty) readers. But to those who don't understand, I ask simply, what is wrong with feeling 9 years old again? What is wrong with indulging your imagination? Loving Harry Potter does not make one daft or immature or poor judges of literature. It makes imaginative daydreamers who can immerse themselves in magical worlds and love every printed word.
Much speculation circulated about the content of the final book. The final words were leaked, the death toll counted. And now, after its release, the world knows that all the speculation and rumors were a bunch of hooey. Two deaths? Woe is me to reveal there are more deaths than you can count on both hands. Do people close to Harry die? Of course. Does Voldemort kill Harry? I won't say. But I will tell you, all is revealed, and you will need Kleenex. You will read with a heavy heart, at times your heart stopping altogether during some rather intense sequences and climaxes.
What Rowling has successfully done in her final installment is more than just tie up loose ends. She has transformed Harry from a schoolboy into a full-grown epic hero. Sure, some of the text does dribble on in the droning style Rowling is well-known for using. None but true diehards will read every word of every paragraph because some passages do become a bit of a bore. But is the book a fitting, successful finale? Absolutely, and then some. Rowling pulls out all the stops in Deathly Hallows. She turns from storyteller to genius master writer. The suspense is white-knuckle riveting, and the twists and turns shocking and unbelievable. Forget all you thought you knew, because the truths revealed are nothing you would have guessed. That being said, it must also be revealed that while the suspense is gritty and darker than any previous installments in the series, the epilogue that ties everything up is a bit on the saccharin side. After having terrifically strong dramatic plot development, Rowling turns a bit soft and squishy at the end. Of course, it is a children's book, but did it have to have a Hollywood ending? Certainly, most fans will be celebrating the end like it's the Quidditch World Cup, but for me, I would have liked the ending to retain a bit of that dark, dangerous edge. Having said that, I'll have to flip back again to assert that 99.9 percent of me absolutely loved it. I am, after all, and always will be, truly mad about Harry.