I thought I was the only one - until I went to the Internet and found out it was happening everywhere. I would walk into a restaurant with my "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince" and the waitress would say, "Hey, can you believe how it ended?" I would come into work and those who had not read the book but found some Web site that revealed the ending would taunt me. They would tell me all about it before I had the pleasure of reading it myself. Even my own sister, who learned of the ending from some woman at her work, asked did I want to know how it ended? Any secrets I would find out by reading it myself.
On the Internet, I found out that one group of pranksters in England had erected a giant banner on the bridge leading into town as kids drove in to buy the book that told them the ending.
I am a big fan of the Potter series, having had resisted for some years because it was so popular. I waited two years from the fifth book and trudged out on that Saturday morning with anticipation to buy my copy and no, I did not want anyone to spoil it for me. I have now read it and I encourage you to avoid anything that would tip off anything about the book so you can have the experience of having it unfold in front of you at your own pace.
People never cease to amaze me. And this phenomenon of wanting to spoil it for Potterites because you are not one and think it silly that readers of all ages, kids and adults like me, are hooked is certainly an interesting twist to human nature. It reminds me of vandalism which I always thought was the stupidest crime. You can't have the car and so you draw some pleasure in flattening the tire or scratching the car of the person who does own it and enjoys it.
You can't argue with the success of J.K. Rowling, who was on welfare and wrote the first "Harry Potter" in a cafe in Scotland. I argue that she has created a series that will stand the test of time because she has not only made it an interesting series but has made it timeless. The literary device in which witches and wizards are prohibited from using muggle (non-wizard) instruments like cell phones and cars takes away the time element. You know you are in modern London, but you easily could be in Dickensian London. It has that feel.
This sixth of seven Potter books sold a total of 9 million copies in the first 24 hours - 6.9 million in America and 2.1 million in England.
This is one of my favorite Potter sites that will tell you everything including the fact that the next movie is coming out Nov. 18 (yahoo): http://www.veritaserum.com.
I can see why some people refuse to read the books because of the hype. It is the same reason some people don't like Andrew Lloyd Webber music or Neil Simon plays. They think if it is so popular, it must be junk. And yes, the hype for each book gets more and more.
As part of this process, Rowling gave an interview to a 14-year-old fan, Owen Jones, after he won a contest that allowed him this coveted honor.
In the interview Rowling said she was going to start on the seventh book by the end of this year and she is "dreading" the end of the series.
For those of you who hate the Potter series having never read it, stop here. Go out and spoil the end of the Dodgers-Philadelphia game on Aug. 11 by telling true sports fans how the game comes out.
But for the rest of you, especially true fans of the Potter books, here are a few quotes from Rowling during the interview with the young fan:
"Even though I have known it is coming for the past fifteen years, I have known that the series would end, I think it will still be a shock. Conversely, obviously there will be a sense of achievement... I suppose there will be some benefits to not writing Harry Potter books any more. So it is about 50-50 really."
She said the secrecy in the plots is not a marketing scheme:
"I gain nothing but the satisfaction of knowing that all my hard work goes to the people for whom it is intended. In other words, people who really want to read the books, and I definitely believe that 99.9 percent of my readership would rather read the books and find out for themselves.
"I find it upsetting and disquieting that some elements are so keen on spoilers because it seems such a mean spirited thing to do. This is not about money or anything other than the pleasure of reading for people who want to read it."
On her fame from the book:
"One of my regrets would be that I will never again have the pleasure of sneaking into a cafe, any cafe I like, sitting down and diving into my world and no one knowing what I am doing and no one bothering about me and being totally anonymous, that was fantastic," she said.
On her writing career after the seven books:
"I get asked a lot whether I would write another series, I don't know because the thing that interests me about Harry Potter was not the fact that it was a series, it was just the story and the subject matter, so I could do a one-off, could do a series, I don't know."
Bob Paslay is the managing editor of the News Daily. He can be reached at (770) 478-5753 ext. 257 or firstname.lastname@example.org .