I’m not sure who is more excited–my son Evan or me–about seeing it Friday. Surely, I don’t have to explain what “it” is. Evan was only 1 when the first Harry Potter movie debuted, but he became a devoted fan well before he finished listening to the words J.K. Rowling wrote. The first time through, my husband read the books aloud (grumbling all the way about how many times he had to recite Professor McGonagall’s name) to Evan while the two relaxed in Evan’s “big boy bed” prior to turning out the light. I can’t say for sure that I have Rowling to thank for Evan’s continued lust for reading, but I’m pretty sure the multi-dimensional characters and enthralling storyline she created had something to do with it.
And I am far from alone in this thinking. Over the past weekend, Norman Lebrecht wrote in the WSJ, “J.K. Rowling united families in a primal fireside act of sharing an unfolding story, page by page.” And more than a few independent bookstores have credited the book series for reviving dismal sales, the recent Pottermore debate notwithstanding. Lebrecht writes that not since Charles Dickens’ serial novels in the mid-19th century “had the works of a single author excited such universal and immediate interest.” Mark, my husband, recalls a similar childhood (and now adult) devotion to the Hobbit series, which Rowling has cited as an inspiration for her work.
Although the Dark Lord says, “It all ends Friday,” the excitement didn’t stop with Rowling’s final book, and I hope seventh movie installment doesn’t herald the end of this new affection for reading, rekindled by Rowling’s cast of characters, in kids, big and small.