Sunday, July 22, 2007


Friday at midnight, I met Angela and several of her co-workers downtown for the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. We hit Elliot Bay, a charming independent bookstore between Seattle's meatmarket-club district and Seattle's largest concentration of homeless people. Both groups were represented en masse, but a good time was had before we retreated to the comfort of our quiet neighborhood, a place where you won't be insulted for your race and hit up for money every twenty feet by people who smell like they've been drinking rubbing alcohol.

I digress, but experiences like that make me glad I'm both married and comfortably established and my worries at home include watering my lawn rather than who (or what) is looking in my windows at night.

At any rate, I celebrated Potterweekend by watching the entire Lord of the Rings: Extended Edition trilogy. Why wasn't I reading the book? Well, claimed it first (and she finished around 3 AM this morning) and I read a pirated copy off the Internet.

Seth pointed me towards the story on Tuesday, and although none of the downloads were working anymore, someone posted a link in a comments section and that did work. So I grabbed it. It sat on my desktop, and while I was tempted, I didn't give in.

For about 24 hours. Then I told myself, "I just want to read the end. I'm going to read the end of the book first anyway, so let's just find out who lives and who dies and whether Snape really is evil." So I read the last thirty pages or so.

Then I told myself, "I'll just read the first chapter."

Yeah right.

So I read the whole thing.

I rationalized this (and I'm not saying I'm right) by reminding myself that I had preordered not one, but two copies, one of which was not discounted at all and would be going to support a major Seattle institution/indie bookstore.

The book was good. Very good. Not "great," but very good. The body count wasn't as high as I expected, but it is a children's book after all. Most importantly, it was an extremely satisfying end to a series that I really loved reading. I was a bit of a latecomer to Potter, and say what you will about the literary merits (or not) of the books, reading them was like stepping back into a childhood sitting on beanbags or in my room at home with my nose stuck in a good book.

These are the kinds of books that help kids realize what good stories are and can be, the kind that inspire the next generation of writers. The magic in Harry Potter is not all in wands and spells, it's in the series' ability to help readers see possibilities. As a writer, that's pretty damned awesome.

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