Reading Harry Potter 7

I’ll refrain from writing a review of HP7 (I liked it quite a bit), but wanted to note a new feeling for me — as I was reading this book, I started to imagine, for the first time, what it might feel like in 7 or 8 years when Sam reads the series for the first time. It’s fun to do that — fun to think about the types of conversations we’ll have, the questions he’ll have, and the learning he’ll do. HP6 came out about a week after Sam was born — so a lot of it hadn’t really sunk in yet.

There’s the basic emotion of thinking back to when I read Tolkein for the first time — read my parents’ old editions of them, naturally — and it was fun to discover this whole new world that Mom & Dad already knew about. Same for CS Lewis.  And that stuff is awesome — I can’t really wait. Kathy & I already love helping Sam as he develops his sense of humor.

But the collateral effect is that I found myself often wondering about what it was that JK was trying to communicate — what she was trying to help her readers understand.  So I really started appreciating some of the things she was trying to do, and appreciating her craft more than I had done previously.  That’s a pretty tremendous gift that I’ve gotten from Sam already — and has applicability far beyond just Harry Potter or even books.

It’s also fun to think about the characters that we all grow up with — the people and places and ideas that become part of growing up, learning how the world works, learning who we are. I think about the persistent characters in my life — Bilbo & Frodo Baggins, Gollum, Darth Vader, Kermit the Frog, Big Bird, Animal, Aslan, Winnie the Pooh — and wonder which ones Sam will know & care about — which ones will be real for him. Maybe Elmo and Bob the Builder and SpongeBob and Harry Potter — who knows. But I’m excited to find out.

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