So this week I completed a project of sorts that I've been working on for the last eight or nine months: listening to all seven Harry Potter books on CD.
Yes, I have read them before, and yes I mostly remember all of the story lines. But you can't beat Jim Dale's fabulous narration of the books, complete with different sounding voices for every character. He won a well-deserved award for those performances.
It's been a very long time since I'd read the first two, so it started with me wanting to remember those stories first. The third book is my favorite, so of course I had to continue on to that. And then I needed to read the fourth book too, a pivotal part of the series. The fifth book is always hard for me because it's my least favorite. In fact, I kind of hate it. It's so dark and so many bad things happen throughout that I've never enjoyed it. In fact, that book took me the longest to finish in the car (two months) because I had to stop listening for awhile. Eventually I convinced myself to persist and finished it, so I could then move onto the sixth and seventh books, which contain (drum roll, please) the resolution to the series.
This week I finally finished the seventh book. I don't know whether to feel relieved or disappointed. I suppose that if I want to catch a taste of Harry's magical world that I can always read "The Tales of Beedle the Bard" which I've owned for a couple of years and somehow have never read. . . And really I have a good picture in my mind of how things turn out because of the epilogue in book 7. Lots of people hate it, but I think it's a nice finishing touch for the story and helps those who would clamour for more Harry to feel satisfied.
I must say that I'm impressed with so many things about the series. For example, I have to admire J.K. Rowling for the sheer number of character she continues throughout the series. Literally hundreds of characters from book 1 all the way through 7. So impressive! I love the way the plot lines build and the quality of the story. I love the characterization and watching the characters grow. I love her portrayal of Harry in book 5 as such a clueless teenage boy! So great!
I think what I love the most is discovering just how much I still love the series even years after I first read it. I'm sure these books will be classics for years to come. And I must say that I think they deserve it.