Friday, July 20, 2007

Fun with insanity

I've not posted in quite a while. This is primarily due to the fact that I've been spending way too long in lab, grinding out data for the conference I'm going to next week. My poster's back from the printer today, so I'm set as far as that goes.

This leads me to my other form of insanity of late: Harry Potter.

It's long been known that I'm a fan of the series. I fully admit that I laughed at them until I became one of them. I've even been restructuring the end of my week in preparation for this. I have a copy reserved at my local bookstore, which I shall be purchasing at midnight. Shortly, I'm going to head over there and pick up a wristband, determining the order the books will be sold at midnight. Then I'll go home, have something to eat, maybe watch a movie I have on tape, and then head back out to the bookstore. I stayed up quite late last night to ensure that I won't get too sleepy to just read this in one sitting. I'm planning to make up some food this evening that can easily be eaten while reading, in case I get hungry.

I'd actually considered not going to a midnight release. The lead of the book over BitTorrent means that there are plenty of people who already know what happens. I have some concerns that some punk might decide it would be funny to show up to the bookstore and announce in a loud voice what happens, just to ruin it for everyone there. I may end up making use of my iPod to drown out the sounds of the crowd, just to avoid this possibility.

This all is somewhat insane. I'm a 26-year-old man restructuring part of my life in anticipation for a book whose intended target audience is teenagers. Fictional characters have become real enough to me that the death of a number of them would be enough to elicit an emotional reaction. And, yet, I recognize that this is in some ways the end of an era. I'm anticipating this book much less than I did the 5th or 6th book in the series, having begun my own reading of it shortly after the publication of the 4th. In some ways, I just don't want this series to be over. Sure, the books are great, and I really enjoy reading them, but a lot of the fun has been the discussing of the books with other fans. My college group got quite into the series as three of us all chose to read it at pretty much the same time, and our discussions of it prompted the others to read it as well--some because they thought it sounded interesting, others because they were sick of not knowing what we were talking about.

This is probably the last time in my life I'll be so eager to read a book that I plan on reading it the moment it's released. This is almost certainly the last time I'll worry about finding out about what happens in a book while making no effort to find out anything in advance. This book is the 7th year of Harry's life we've seen. The summer is also the 7th year since I've been reading the books. I must admit, I like the parallel.

I worry, as I've mentioned to friends over the past couple of years, that I'll be disappointed with the resolution. I'm trying my hardest to give Rowling the benefit of the doubt, but after the ending to book 6, I keep worrying that this will be Archetypal Video Game Plot. The Main Character and his Sidekicks will go on a Mystical Quest to collect the Numerologically Important Number of Magical Items so that they can Defeat the Evil Villain. I'm really hoping they don't leave off their final year at school and become dropouts in order to save the world, and I'll be annoyed if the kids manage to destroy all the remaining Horcruxes themselves in a year, when it took Dumbledore a year to track down the location of one Horcrux he already had a lead on, and the destruction of another one crippled him. Maybe it'll all turn out great and I'll be overjoyed. Maybe I'll be left wanting more. Maybe it'll leave me wishing the series had never been completed--kind of like how virtually everyone feels about the Matrix. We'll see. But, in the meantime, I have a book to read.

1 comment:

AdamX said...

I couldn't finish the last Harry Potter book, instead just skipping to the last chapter.

I guess I've outgrown them. Either that or I don't care enough to read through the massive tome.