Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is nearly upon us (have you heard?). This presents a few problems of practical concern.
I picked up the Potter series after my friends dragged me to the first movie. At the time, four of the seven books had been released. I steadily consumed these over the course of six months and subsequently looked forward to each new book. I was never as bad about it as some people, the people for whom Potter is like a proton accelerator, with dangerous and inescapable energies whirling from within at terrible velocities. These are the people who wait two years for the book and then race through it overnight, as if they’re taking the lyrics of “Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep” very, very seriously. I have never been like these people, because these people are crazy, but I’m afraid that with Book 7 concessions to madness will have to be made.
The Southerner and I struck a casual Ratatouille for Deathly Hollows deal, and since The Southerner is one of the aforementioned crazed readers, this ensures that I will have the book by Sunday night.
The problem is that I will have to be at my job the next day, and if I’m at my job, I can’t be reading Harry Potter. This implies that it will take me longer than, say, one sitting to read the book. Ordinarily this wouldn’t be a big deal, but the anticipation for the final book of the series, the resolution of Rowling’s Great Work, and the talk of its significance is too strong. The probability of spoilers is so high that it’s going to turn me into a paranoid schizophrenic.
I won’t be able to take it with me on the T, for fear of some idiot striking up a conversation about some plot point I haven’t gotten to yet. I won’t be able to read the internet. Any of it. I had several parts of Battlestar Galactica ruined for me by some careless Digg users who thought it would be fine to post spoilers right there in the article headline. Morons. Should I forsake The Southerner and go to Barnes and Noble to procure my own copy, I may have to contend with what happened to some people at the Half-Blood Prince debut, in which some blackhearted individuals read the last two chapters ahead of everything else just so they could ruin it for everyone. Within two weeks, t-shirts were released with spoilers emblazoned upon them. Will I be able to talk to people? Step outside? I sure hope so.
Rowling’s writing, though highly approachable and fun to read, isn’t exactly Tolkein. If you’re reading Harry Potter, you’re reading it for the characters and plot, not poetic turns of phrase. Spoilers, therefore, are an unusually potent poison for this series. Still, when you take a moment to think about it, what huge spoiler could possibly be so powerful as to ruin your experience of the book? The surprise factor, maybe, but isn’t the fun really in getting there? I went into The Lord of the Rings knowing just about everything that happens, and I still enjoyed the hell out of it.