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Potter Mania

Not even magic can stop the end of ‘Harry Potter’

PotterMania1

It seems that Harry Potter has cast a spell on our hearts, minds and our checkbooks. The famous dark-haired, be spectacled, fictional boy, who poured out of J.K. Rowling’s colorful imagination, has single-handedly turned a generation of TV-loving, internet-obsessed young people into readers. And on top of that, young Harry has recaptured the love of reading in adults, too. And so it is with a huge slice of disappointment that the epic series of Harry Potter books has come to an end with the final installment, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.”

Book No. 7 was released at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, July 21, and on that day alone it sold 8.3 million copies. More than 2,000 of those were purchased at Bookshop Santa Cruz in downtown. It was there, at one minute past the stroke of midnight that hordes of Harry Potter fans cashed in their vouchers and clutched their new treasures. Children and adults went home that night and likely stayed up into the wee hours to pore over the fate of their beloved Harry.

Here at GT, I didn’t get the book until my roommate forked it over a few days later, after she read it. And I, like everyone else who is a fan, have been sucked into the new tome. And a tome it is. The book clocks in at 759 pages, and once you’re in, you’re in. You can’t get out. Like all of the other books in this series, it seems to possess some sort of magical, captivating power that forces you to breeze through the novel, unable to drop it for a minute. In fact, the addiction to these books becomes so strong, that when you’re away from the book, you find yourself wondering what happens next. There must be wizardry in the air.

For those who’ve been immune to the Harry Potter spell, this strange addiction to a book, in fact to a whole series of books, may sound peculiar. And those who are repelled by ‘fantasy stories’ may even go so far as to call us fans ‘dorky.’ (Trust me, I’ve heard the name calling from amused people who just don’t ‘get it.’) But, as all of us know, one chapter into the first Harry Potter book and those naysayers will be enchanted.

So, what’s the draw? “I think it’s the magic,” says Susan McCloskey, events coordinator for Bookshop Santa Cruz. “It’s the world she’s created where imaginations get to come to life again. … They [the Harry Potter books] touch a deep core, good versus evil, politics, power and how it’s all going to end.”

But can you compare them to, say, the Narnia books, Tolkien’s tales, or the Oz stories? “I think for the popularity of the series alone, you have to,” says Janet Leimeister, event manager of the Capitola Book Café. “I’m not quite a scholar enough to say whether time will weigh them against someone like C.S. Lewis and Tolkien, but you can’t knock it for being a great introduction to people into becoming readers. The sensation of Harry Potter is opening the doors into readers’ minds into what’s out there.”

But back to Harry: Right now, today, he’s the most exciting thing in modern day literature. McCloskey says that the day after the book went on sale, she was on a train going up to San Francisco and literally everyone around her was absorbed in reading the book.

We’re muggles, after all—we’re easy to entertain. For those uninitiated among us, ‘muggles’ are those of the non-wizardry population. The wizard folk are those like Harry and his two best pals, Hermione and Ron.

In this seventh book, and the final novel of the series, Harry is on his greatest quest yet. He’s out to kill Lord Voldemort, or ‘He Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.’

Meanwhile, Voldemort is out to kill Harry. Simply put—they both can’t live at the same time. One of them must kill the other. If Voldemort wins the epic battle, darkness and evil will reign, whereas if our hero Harry is the champion, goodness and light will triumph. (It’s pretty obvious whom we’re rooting for here.)

In nail-biting fashion, the book is a tribute to page-turners. By page two, you’re hooked. In “Deathly Hallows,” we find the secrets to some of our long-asked questions and we discover the fate of our boy, Harry Potter.

Yet in the end, as fans, there’s something very depressing about knowing that you’re embarking on your final journey with Harry Potter. Rowling, who by now is the richest woman in Britain, has taken her wand and tapped ‘the end’ upon our beloved series of books. And what does that ‘end’ hold? We won’t spoil it for you. You’ll need to embark on that magical adventure on your own.

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