The Harry Potter Chronicles: The Conclusion

[Optional soundtrack to this post.]

Well, here we are. I set off months ago to read all the Harry Potter books, and now I’m done. It’s certainly been a fun journey, and I’m incredibly glad I did this.

Harry Potter turned out to be a wonderully rich world with entertaining and memorable characters. It’s a shame it has to end, because that world feels so vibrant and large that it could easily support many more stories. Yet it also feels right, in a way, to have a fixed point from which to exit that world. Otherwise, we could stay there forever.

J.K. Rowling certainly grew as a writer over the course of the series. She never stopped frustrating me at times, of course. She had a few plot holes, including big ones in Azkaban and Goblet, and she didn’t always seem to think everything through. But she was so wonderfully gifted at so many things that the flaws didn’t take much of anything away from the enjoyment. It was such an immersive experience to read those books that most issues were only hiccups along a long road of greatness. In the end, I viewed her as a remarkably naturally talented writer who maybe just didn’t have all the training to refine all that ability; and, apparently, that’s exactly the case. She struck gold here, and deserved to.

The plots were often exciting and imaginitive. But above everything for me, it was the characters that made this reading such a fun experience. Rarely have I ever read such a deep stable of likable characters, whose interactions are so enjoyable even if nothing much is happening. Harry, Ron, Hermione, Hagrid, George, Ginny, Neville, Luna, and McGonagall will at least live long lives within my heart, while I pour one out for dear departed homies Dumbledore, Snape, Sirius, Fred, Lupin, Hedwig, and others.

But as happy as I am that I read the series, I’m almost as happy that I decided to blog about it. The writing process really helped cement certain feelings about the books, or challenge me to think about events, and resulted in me looking at the series with an even deeper appreciation.

And it also connected me with so many fellow fans. During this process, I’ve heard from a couple dozen people, and have routinely gotten site hit numbers into the 50s; while that’s hardly a lot in the internet at large, it’s far more than I expected in my little corner of it. And I got to hear from so many of you; a couple here at the blog, a few more in Facebook comments, and quite a lot in Facebook messages, e-mail/phone, or in person. I heard from close friends, from people I haven’t seen in nearly a decade, from people I barely know, and from a couple people I met for the first time through this. It became a community experience for me. I got to live the books for the first time, but I also got to re-live your memories and impressions and opinions as I went. It made the whole process much more fun for me, and I thank you for it.

Now, that concludes the series and my discussion of it. This blog may or may not lapse back into the inactive stasis from whence it was revived for these chronicles; perhaps I’ll find another use for it, but at the very least, I’m taking an extended break. Most immediately, I’m boarding a plane in about 12 hours, off to London and possibly to see some of the real stuff from the books. I’m glad I got these posts done before then.

Again, thank you to everyone who read, and especially to those I got to talk to along the way. Until the next time we see each other in a world of magic.

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