I have to say, I did not fully enjoy the final Harry Potter book.
Don’t get me wrong, the book itself was fine (no spoilers here, relax), but the act of reading the book was not as enjoyable as I’d hoped due to an overwhelming dread that somehow, in some way, the book would be ruined for me by some unscrupulous bastard looking to be a jerk.
As some of you may know, I was in Las Vegas over the weekend. I spent most of last week carefully avoiding the Internet (very difficult for a blogger, BTW), and then Saturday morning, I purchased the book in a Las Vegas Barnes & Noble. From there I accompanied my friends to a local hotel/casino for a day of reading and relaxation out by the pool. Soon after heading outside, I discovered that the desert is hot. Hella hot.
Harry and I were driven back inside the casino, where I saddled up to the bar, ordered a Bloody Mary and got to reading. Only a few pages in, an older gentleman in a toupee that didn’t even pretend to match his original hair color approached me and asked if I was reading the new Harry Potter book.
“Yes. Why?” I asked suspiciously.
“Oh, I love those books. Do you have any theories about the ending?” he asked, paying for his drinks.
“No. And I don’t want to hear yours,” I answered.
“I’m sorry, but I don’t want to hear anything that might ruin this book for me. I’m sure you understand,” I said, taking a sip of Mary.
“Oh, I do. Enjoy the book!” the man carried his drinks away, as I looked around, suddenly afraid. I decided to join my friends out by the pool again, as the inside of the casino was suddenly tainted. As I walked toward the exit someone asked, “How’s the book?” I pretended I didn’t hear, carried the book back out to the pool, and hid it under a towel.
This is pretty much how the entire weekend went for me. I walked around in terror, fearful of overhearing the slightest clue, the merest hint. My friends came up with the great idea to have me pose with Harry at various casinos, and, as awesome as that plan sounded, I was nervous. At each location, I would furtively reach into my bag, draw out the book, hiss “Hurry up!” at the photographer, and then stuff the book back into its hiding place.
When I got on the plane to come home, I was crestfallen to see that the person sitting in front of me, and the person sitting directly behind, each had a copy of the book. What if they want to talk about it? I thought. Don’t make direct eye contact with either. The girl behind me kept kicking my seat, but for once, I let this go, terrified that turning around in my seat might result in my seeing the name of a chapter I had not yet reached in the tome.
This fear did not let up when I got home, either. My plan was to finish the book before coming back to work Wednesday; I was positive someone would say something to me about it just to be an ass. Yesterday, after wasting time doing laundry, working out and swimming, I found that I was running out of waking hours. I ended up staying awake much later than I should have, marathon-reading the very last book in a series I have grown to love.
I ruined the finale for myself, too tired and distracted to really appreciate it. But you know what? I’d do it again like that because in the end it was worth reading the book without any preconceived ideas or theories messing it up for me.
I’m just so relieved that it’s finished, though. Does anyone else feel like that?