It was the summer of 2002 and, like many people, I was very wary and tired of the whole Harry Potter hype. And that’s what I thought it was: simply unsubstantiated hype. Some intelligent friends and even a professor suggested I lay down my prejudices and give the books a shot. Well, it was summer, seemed like an easy read, and I needed to read the books to be able to prove to people that it was all about clever marketing…
But I wasn’t willing to invest money on it, of course. At the time, there were four books out: HP and the Philosopher’s Stone, HP and the Chamber of Secrets, HP and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and HP and the Goblet of Fire. I checked them all out of my local public library.
Fifty pages into the first book, I became mildly disappointed and curious. This is just standard child lit, what’s the hype?? One hundred pages into it and I was completely hooked. I finished that book in the evening and started the next book the next morning. I consumed it in about 2-3 hours and read the third book that afternoon. The fourth book took a little longer – two days – since it had a whopping 636 pages (!).
I have to say. They are indeed brilliant. There’s classical western mythology, Arthurian drama, Dickensonian plots & characters, with just the right dosage of a Star Wars feel. There are so many layers to it, the plots are so smart, that it makes it readable for any age group. J. K. Rowling’s success is very much deserved.
Of course, I have since acquired all the books. You see them on the picture above. I’ve also started a neat travel collection. I decided to buy different translations of HP and the Philosopher’s Stone in different countries. So far, I have 3: Canadian English (there are also English and American editions), Catalan, and Latin. Apparently there are over 60 translations. Now you know what to get me for Christmas…
The next – and final book – is supposed to come out on July 21st. I’ve now started re-reading all the other books (six of them) to prepare for it. The big question is: Will Harry die?
Update: Just got this email from the store I ordered my HP from…: “Saturday, July 21st is almost here – the official release date for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. This early shipping confirmation is to let you know, that in preparation for the July 21st delivery, your Harry Potter pre-order, OR17929515 is packed and ready for pickup by Canada Post! We’ve partnered with Canada Post to ensure your book is delivered to you on Saturday July 21st, the day of release! ” It’s getting close now!!