And now, a blast from the past:
Because my Geekiness couldn’t handle everyone knowing something I wouldn’t know for a while, I spent an ungodly amount of money to buy Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. My dad left me some cash for either a bag or a new pair of shoes. The rigors of school life prompts one to own big bags: I needed a backpack to accommodate all the new readings and bottles of water. I also needed an extra pair of shoes because I’ve been doing a lot of walking here. But things change. Ominously, they do so during release dates.
On July 21, 2007, I casually strode into Powerbooks to casually survey the new Harry Potter books being put out for display (and purchase, of course). I circled the table about three times before daring to pick one up. As I did so, I became painfully aware of the smell of new books and how right the thick yellow-orange book felt in my hand. I was awash with feelings of nostalgia and this irrepressible tugging I get when I want a particular book. I was in a daze. I dropped the book and ran. I had to retreat. The desire to buy it was too overwhelming.
I walked around a department store and began a frenzied poll. I texted everyone whom I thought would think logically for me. Book or shoes? Book or bag? To which everyone replied, BOOK! My resolve was cracking. And my one beacon of light, my only true hope of objectivity – my own mother – said: You buy the book nalang. And so it was that I came to own Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
This was written when I was living in Manila. I was fresh out of college, and toiling in limbo. I needed all the light I could find. So what better place to find it than in the last book of a series I had read for most of my young life. It was comforting to have that book in my hands. And isn’t that what Harry Potter means for many of us? The characters and their names, the plot, the clever twists, and even the humor are gems unto themselves. But falling into the story, losing yourself in Hogwarts, and being among characters you’ve gotten to know like real friends: the sheer familiarity – it’s like coming home.
J.K. Rowling gave an interview sometime while she was writing The Deathly Hallows. She had a manila envelope with her, and in it was the epilogue. She had written it first. She said it contained the After, and what happened to those who had survived. She knew there was going to be a war, and that there would be casualties. And what casualties they were. It was physically painful to read The Deathly Hallows. By the time I was finished, my eyes were shot from the strain of constant sobbing, and my head felt like it had been split open.
I thought that the 5th and 6th novels were okay, but they had none of the genius of Azkaban or Goblet. I felt that Rowling had fallen into the habit of just telling us what was happening rather than drawing us in through description. She had misplaced her mojo. But inThe Deathly Hallows, I think she found it. The storytelling was urgent and suspenseful. The chapters about Godric’s Hollow and the three brothers had me reading with bated breath. I had goosebumps. The woman really knows how to tell a story.
She wasn’t afraid to make the war brutal. Some characters died without ceremony, which was real, because this is often the case in wars. When we find out about Tonks and Lupin, it is devastating. But we don’t even see it happen. They were off somewhere battling Death Eaters and we were with Harry in the forest. Then there was Fred. She couldn’t have written it better.
J.K. Rowling didn’t balk under the pressure. She produced a novel that answered our questions and provided an Ending. The Deathly Hallows was a satisfying conclusion to a series that spanned most of my childhood and some of my adult life. We were given loss, and closure, and new beginnings.
This was a post by Kubi, who is convalescing at home.