22 July 2007

Saying Goodbye

In my head, I keep hearing that song by Art Garfunkel, All I Know. "Endings always come at last..."

I couldn't really empathize with a friend when she posted about the end of the Gilmore Girls. Having had a similar relationship with my own mother - save for the erudite repartee and the fashionable clothing - where I was often more mother than daughter, I never garnered the same affinity for that show. I always knew that there would come a time would I would have to take the parental role, but I expected that it would be later, rather than sooner, so I can't say that I... appreciated the Loreli character.

Tonight, at least, I can sympathize a bit more.

It's nearly 11 P.M. and I will try to get some sleep now. I know that my dreams will be filled with what did and did not happen in the very last volume of a book series that I desperately wanted to read, yet didn't really want to read because there would be no way to undo the end once it was done.

And now I've done it.

I've just finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Ah, how I wish that Hogwarts really existed and that I could have been a student there. I think I would have ruled at Transfiguration and Defense Against the Dark Arts and I'd like to think that I would have been good at Spells and Charms, but I know that I would have sucked ass at Potions and History (I'm terrible at following a recipe and I still don't know when the War of 1812 took place; I always think it's a trick question, like how long did the 100 years' war last?).

I would have wanted to be in Gryffindor or Ravenclaw. I would never, ever have been sorted into Slytherin. Ever. I probably would have fallen for Fred or George (boys who look like nerds, but with a wicked sense of humor and a penchant for trouble!! Oh my...). I
would have gotten at least one detention for knocking the crap out of Pansy Parkinson and I would have consistently lost my house points for talking back to Snape in class. I'm guessing that my mother would never, ever have let me go into Hogsmeade. Ever.

I know that it's not real. Still, I'd love to know how butterbeer, pumpkin juice and chocolate frogs taste. I'd also love to be able to perform an undetectable extension charm so that space in my
kitchen cabinets would never be a problem again. Mmm, just think: a flick of my wand and the laundry would be done.

I loved reading those books. And I learned to appreciate them for so much more than the escape.

I appreciated the writing of the series and how the level of it grew, along with the characters, over time. The vocabulary became more varied, the language stronger and more adult, the plots became more intricate and the characters more developed with each novel, in turn doing something so out of character that I could hardly believe that she wrote it in and then swinging back to do something that would bring the true nature of the character back into focus. It's much the same way we are in real life - duress, grief and unhappiness have a way of changing us all. I appreciated the way, around book (year) 4, Ms. Rowling stopped babying us through the key pieces of information (much the way a parent - a good parent - will do for you in real life). I was so
relieved when she stopped explaining recurring characters and situations for the uninitiated.

I'm going to miss those characters. I am going to miss the anticipation of a new installment, miss the little thump of excitement in my chest when I open that very first page. The movies don't do that for me. They don't satisfy,
can't satisfy, the way that the books do. The books are faithful and true, whole and untainted and they are always new...once. The movies can never do, never be that.

So, I raise a glass and say this: Goodbye and thank you, J.K., for letting me share in your - and Harry, Ron and Hermione's - journey. Thank you for bringing a bit of humor and intelligence to the subject, without miring yourself (or us) in the theological discussion that generally accompanies this type of thing. Thank for you making me wish that it was all real.

Thank you, most of all - and I mean this sincerely - for making me believe in magic.

Cheers!

2 comments:

Kate Christ said...

Thanks, Paula. I feel the same way, but couldn't figure out how to say it.

Lesley said...

I know EXACTLY how you feel.