16 August 2007

RIP Harry Potter (SPOILERS!)

It's been 24 days since Deathly Hallows came out. I borrowed someone else's copy while I was on the boat and read it in snatches over the course of about a week, between (more or less) twice-daily sails and learning belay points. I hated some bits, like the epilogue, and I loved others, like Narcissa Malfoy. I loathe Snape's pointless death; I am angry at the pointlessness of ALL the deaths, from Hedwig straight through to Harry himself. I still held out hope that Harry would pull out a Glock and shoot Voldie between the eyes. There was not enough laughter.

And now it's over. Well, technically it was over 24 days ago. I used to plan meeting up with friends knowing that, at the very least, nearly every summer we'd have a book release and days of discussion afterward, no matter what. I started reading these books in the sixth grade, and now I'm a senior in college. Somehow, without any Potter book ever reaching my personal all-time favorite books list, I remained obsessed with the series for years. I was in fandom for about seven years. (That time spans four school campuses, three rodents, and the course of a relationship.)

And now we're done. I hardly ever get fic cravings anymore; I've been falling out of fandom for a couple years now. The canon is complete. Not only is there no speculation to be had about future books, but that window of opportunity between books--when the new canon is still new and must be played with from every angle, followed to every possible conclusion whether logical or illogical, because no one knows what JKR might make obsolete when the next book is released--that feeling is dead. There's no more series coming. I loved that mad dash to carve fanon in granite before the next book killed it. It was a whirlwind of energy that spun the tubes of the Interblag like a cybercarousel. It fueled fandom.

That doesn't mean fandom is dead. It'll be around for awhile; there's still a lot of momentum in a series that held this whole planet spellbound for over a decade. I give it at least six months before it becomes but a ghost of its former glory. It's probably too much to hope that the ratio of good writing to bad will improve in that time.

I'm not sure what to do now with the time I used to spend thinking about Potter stuff. I have a list of theme songs for most of the major characters, which I could post here. I'd always intended to find a small hourglass and some wire and make myself a Time-Turner. I suppose I should just dig into my intended reading list, which is mostly YA fantasy anyway. (OT: The top fourteen YA books, by best-selling and best-reviewed, on Fictionwise are all fantasy. The SF community has been debating for years how to attract kids to its books; I think that this is somewhere near the reason.)

Requiem In Pace, Harry Potter Madness. It was a good way to grow up.

1 comment:

dimestorefind said...


I, too, hated the pointless deaths and the epilogue, but I also commiserate with the fact that it is over.

I have been seriously considering this moment for a long time - since before the sixth book - and I finally came to peace with it. I too have gradually fallen out of fandom more and more, I barely read any fic at all anymore. The "fic" bookmark folder just gets fuller and fuller when it used to remain steadily empty. I felt like I was going to be devastated when they ended, and I know a lot of people were/are, but I wasn't.

But for that I have fandom to thank. I was able to obsess when I wanted to obsess, I could do what I wanted with characters and never had to watch them grow stale or wait like a drug addict for my next fix for when the next book came out. Fandom helped me in a lot of other ways, too, to watch character development and define writing style and watch a good writer become a great one.

I'm not saying that fandom hasn't had it's detriments, too, but the good outweighs the bad I think.

And for all that I have you to thank. Really, for all of it period I have you to thank, because you read Harry Potter first, and then I bought you a copy for your birthday that I ended up cracking and never giving you. Then you introduced me to fandom and I finally fell into that a year later.

It's been a good time, and thanks.

But I want you to know that at least with me (I won't speak for anyone else) that I don't plan on having a problem finding things to discuss with you when we get together, even though there is no more Harry Potter.

I count the HP books among my favorites, but I don't believe that it is because of the narrative that they make the cut. It's everything else they've given me that make them so special. No one else who starts reading Harry Potter will ever have that. They won't have to wait for new releases, they'll probably be spoiled as to what happens, fandom won't always be there like it was in its heyday. (It won't ever totally die, but it's been falling for a while now.) Harry Potter for me spanned the same four school campuses, a relationship and even outlasted a couple friendships.

What I'm saying is that it's not so bad to not get fic cravings. Falling out of fandom is something you already did. You've already found replacements for the time you used to spend with Harry Potter stuff. For me, instead of constantly being involved in Harry Potter like I once was, I now make time for it.

I stand by what I said before. The books aren't what's special. Everything that the books led to was special. You're not losing that. That won't stop existing because the books are over. Trust me.