recess radio program

07/20/07
The End (?) of Harry Potter
    by Ramona Caponegro

For Harry Potter fans, the biggest day of the year has finally arrived. Beginning at midnight, devoted readers will be poring over Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the seventh (and final) book in the series that J.K. Rowling launched in 1997. Over the last 10 years, millions of fans have become heavily invested in the magic of Hogwarts and the adventures of Harry, Ron, Hermione, and the eccentric adults who populate their wizarding world, including Dumbledore, Hagrid, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and Minerva McGonagall. Conversations about these characters, what they have accomplished and what some of them may yet do, pepper academic conferences, fan fiction writing websites, and classrooms from grade schools through universities, not to mention playgrounds, commuter trains, and coffee shops.

And, now, at last, many of our questions will be answered. Soon, we will know if (or, to be optimistic, how) Harry defeats Voldemort; how the Ministry of Magic will be reformed and reordered; and which school romances are most likely to continue beyond Hogwarts' walls. We will also finally learn the truth about Severus Snape, the most morally ambiguous character, who appears destined to rival either Harry in heroism or Voldemort in infamy. Personally, as the t-shirt states, "I still believe in Snape," but I can't wait to read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows to find out if my faith in Snape is justified and to see if any of my other predictions come true.

As eager as I am about getting answers to all of my questions, though, I am also already dreading the coming end to the mystery and suspense of the series. And I expect that other readers share similar, bittersweet feelings. Yet, after we put down the final Harry Potter, we can all take comfort in the many rows of books by other authors that line our library shelves, works yet unopened, manuscripts and ideas yet unfolded. Though the intrigue of the Harry Potter series is ending tomorrow, countless other stories and characters are waiting to be discovered, embraced, and discussed. And, perhaps, the greatest overlooked accomplishment of the Harry Potter series is that it has opened the hearts of millions of fans, young and not so young, to the magical possibilities of reading.

Copyright 2007 Ramona Caponegro

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