Of House-Elves and Children's Tales: The Finale of Harry Potter Offers Bewitching, Dark Magic
Malcolm, Teresa, National Catholic Reporter
Little did I know when my sister Krista gave me the first two Harry Potter books on Christmas 2000, that I would be joining the world's biggest book club. And it's hard to believe that now--with the seventh book--it's finally over.
Human beings have an ancient urge to tell stories around the campfire, and when J.K. Rowling's fast book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, was published in 1997--coinciding with the rise of the Internet--the world became our campfire. I had lively conversations about the books with friends, family members and coworkers--puzzling out the mysteries, making predictions, analyzing themes. And then, of course, there were countless communities online, where discussions ranged from the inane to the fractious to the insightful, that took the experience worldwide for many.
You never knew who might turn out to be a Potter fan. I once chatted with a dental assistant about Professor Severus Shape's loyalties--good guy or bad guy?--before she started sticking dental instruments in my mouth, which sadly ended the conversation. A charity book reading last year outed some famous members of the club: Stephen King confessed he was scared of dementors (magical creatures that drain the happiness out of you), and Salman Rushdie pleaded the case for Snape's innocence to Ms. Rowling herself. (She refused to spill the beans, even to this noted novelist, about one of the series' biggest mysteries.)
Ms. Rowling admitted she loved the theories and debates, and used her own Web site (www.jkrowling.com) to engage fans, shooting down false leads, answering obscure questions and providing backstories that would likely not make it into the books.
The hype and the merchandising could get …
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Publication information: Article title: Of House-Elves and Children's Tales: The Finale of Harry Potter Offers Bewitching, Dark Magic. Contributors: Malcolm, Teresa - Author. Magazine title: National Catholic Reporter. Volume: 43. Issue: 33 Publication date: August 3, 2007. Page number: 14+. © 2009 National Catholic Reporter. COPYRIGHT 2007 Gale Group.
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