Monday, July 23, 2007

Finis Legendi

I read straight through, forays to the kitchen for slices of blueberry poundcake and cups of tea the only interruptions, until about 2:30 am last night (yes, technically this morning). No spoilers here. I found it a very satisfying read, though since I was drawn into more and more suspense about how it would all turn out, the later twists and turns of the plot started to make me impatient, and I had to ramp it down a bit and remember to take in every moment, that the end, well, would come only as the plot and details bid it. I do not mean the outcome, i.e. the burning question of at least one fact that could be discovered by a quick dip into the last chapter. (I did not look, to be clear.) I mean that, for the reader, the richness of the ending is only to be found in the fullness of the reading that preceded it. Not to be missed, that. As in all epic tales, a reader might be disappointed by skipping to the end in order to find satisfaction. Consider the very, very, very end of the Iliad: the brooding vengeful anger of Achilles is hardly unknotted in the lines that tell us the battle will continue after a break for the funeral games for Hector. Do we know, depending on where we left off, how/if Achilles got his revenge on Hector ? How/if the body was returned ? Do not, dear reader, take this example as an allusion to HP and the Deathly Hallows. This is not about literary merit, either; merely a brief aside on the pleasure of reading. It just seemed the right moment to think about reading, impatience, and pleasure. Enjoy HP, if still reading, and take to heart this bit of Rowling's dedication "and to you, if you have stuck with Harry until the very end." Stay by him and take it all in. Every page now. Every page.

1 comment:

John B. said...

Well said.

I'd just add to this that part of the pleasure I got from reading it was knowing that a whole bunch of other people were doing exactly the same thing--that, for a few hours, "we" had something like a common text, something we've not had since the days of the King James Bible's waning influence. Or maybe the better comparison would be the first week or so that Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was released and that was just about the only music that one could hear on the radio. Those who chose to read the online text ahead of time, I would say, missed out on part of the experience by doing so.

These days, with our attention so drawn in various directions by various media, Deathly Hallows accomplished something that may never happen again.