July 22nd, 2007

Innocence and Experience

The Harry Potter madness of the past few days has been really strange for me. This is the first time that Skylar and I have been fully caught up with everything. And I'm suddenly aware, not only intellectually but emotionally, of the legions of grown-up fans of the series, some of whom are now expressing disappointment at the conclusion of the story arc. Because my pleasure in the books has mostly been routed A) through my daughter's pleasure and B) through my own pleasure at their pedagogic value, I'm taken aback by the mass of the burden they have been asked to bear. I know that those people who are interested in fan fiction have a special investment in Harry Potter, as they do with other made-up worlds, one that I can appreciate even if I do not share it. But I also get the sense that it might be salutory for them to take a few steps back from that investment and ask themselves whether the failings they are discerning in the final book and the series as a whole would qualify as such for younger readers or those who, like myself, have read the series as if they were still young.