The next time I watch Ray Milland in "Lost Weekend," I’m going to look really closely and see if he’s got Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix tucked under his arm because that’s the dirty little tome that caused my own recent lost weekend. Yes, I sat down at page 207 on Sunday afternoon and closed the book last night around midnight, 650 pages blinder than I was before. Worst of all was trying to explain to my husband why I was sniffling and trying not to sound too pathetic while mumbling things like “But Sirius...” and “Dumbledore cared too much to tell him...” and “Poor Professor McGonagall....” To his credit, he just looked at me, with my bloodshot eyes and pathetic face, sighed, and handed me the next volume.
So, yes, I’ve been sucked into the Harry Potter cult. After years of resistance, which I've written about before, I am five volumes in and am now ready for the membership card and secret handshake. I now know all about Muggles and Weasleys and Deatheaters and Cornelius Fudge and hippogriffs. I know, too, that I don’t really like Harry too much, but I think that’s a good thing. It means J.K. Rowling’s done a good job of creating a well-rounded character. Ron is my man and I like Hermione as well, who’s as smart as I always wanted to be growing up. And I love Sirius and Dumbledore and McGonagall and all the rest of the kind-hearted authority figures.
More importantly, I can finally appreciate what a detailed world Rowling managed to create and can read in awe as she manages to string so many things together over the course of so many pages. Sure, there are a few missteps here and there, and while the prose is strong, it’s nothing to write home about. It’s Rowling’s way of propelling the story forward and imbuing the most fantastical elements with humanity that really make this series special. I love the way it makes me laugh out loud or gasp at unexpected moments or the way it makes me hang in there, thinking just a few more pages, when I’m sure my eyes are going to start bleeding from the strain any moment.
I feel lucky, too, that I’m reading these books now when the series is complete. I don’t think my frail nerves could handle waiting two years to find out what happens after the close of each novel. As it is, all I have to do is polish up my glasses, look pathetically at my husband and wait for him to hand me the next two volumes. Which I guess technically makes him my enabler. I'm okay with that.