Tuesday, 7 August 2007

HARRY POTTER AND THE LAST GOODBYE


Like thousands of other holidaymakers this year I took the latest edition of Harry Potter on holiday with me, knowing it was going to be the last holiday we would ever spend together. My relationship with Harry goes back to 1997 and whilst Apprentice Man claims to have long since outgrown stories of witchcraft and wizardry, his mother has not.

On the one hand, therefore, whilst I was excited by the prospect of the final instalment and a last opportunity to satiate myself with Muggles, Dementors and House Elves, I opened the book with a certain trepidation. Half a dozen pages in, I was engrossed, but then two dilemmas arose; firstly amidst all the rumours of characters being killed off would Harry actually survive to the end of the story and secondly did I want to read it quickly or would I prefer a lingering goodbye? Pedantically I noted that at 607 pages and an average reading speed of say 60 seconds per page the whole book was going to take me some 10 hours to complete. I therefore had a choice; I could limit the indulgence to say 45 minutes a day or jump in and get through it as quickly as possible.

The difficulty was that if Harry succumbed to Voldemort in the first half, then our time together and my enjoyment of the whole experience was going to be cut short very quickly, especially if I decided to do nothing else but sit on my sun-lounger and read from morning to night. Indeed an early exit for the hero could spoil the overall ambience of my long awaited summer holiday. I, therefore, succumbed to temptation and did what nobody should ever do with a good book, but I inevitably do; I read the last 5 pages.

If real life were the same and with the benefit of crystal ball gazing, how much different our lives might be. However and even then it wouldn’t solve all issues because I still had to determine whether or not to spend only the beginning of my vacation with Harry Potter or the whole of it. Crystal ball gazing might reveal the outcome but not necessarily the method of getting there.

Frankly I can’t see the point in long goodbyes; they only delay the inevitable. Ten years is a long time for any hero to keep you dangling with his tales of bravado and I decided that if it was all coming to an end then it might as well do so promptly. It took a day and a half to complete matters and that was it, for all time. Of course, there was a tinge of regret that there won’t be any more novels, and I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I occasionally looked over my shoulder for a passing Horcrux or Death-Eater. Overall though, I got on with my holiday, indulged in some other pursuits for a few days and finally came back to my bed by the pool to read more books!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ah yes, the benefits of a crystal ball. I imagined that when I divorced my husband I would be able to get on with my life free from his controlling behaviour. How wrong I was. The behaviour continues but with bitterness and venom. I just hope that it doesn't last as long as Harry Potter because if it does I have another 7 years to get through!

Mr Pineapples said...

Are you having a laugh? A grown up woman taking a children's book on hols with her? That is just PATHETIC.

And to admit to it? My Gawd...have you no shame?

Listen......why not try reading a book by one of the literary greats such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez?

Give adult books a go.

I read Harry Pothole book one to my two little lads (aged 5 and 6). When I finished they said - Dad, please no more drivel...we need something of substance, of wit, of weight. How about Dickens or Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

So I read them "A Christmas Carol" ( a book by Charles Dickens...he wrote books about a hundred or so years ago...had a beard...but was still good).

They loved it.

And so will you. Give grown up books a go, and then you can sound grown up when you talk about books.

Judith said...

I even took the version with the children's cover. You really need to lighten up, Mr Pineapples.