Caroline: I was a teenager when I first read Harry Potter, and I remember how completely shocked and stricken I was by the death of Cedric Diggory. He was the first “on-camera” death in that series, a few books in, and since the first three books were spooky but not grim this sudden shift in tone took me by surprise. And more was to come: at that point, the last book hadn’t even been written, and it killed far more folks than Cedric. While I felt that I could handle it, I was disappointed by the change in a series I’d started to love for an entirely different reason. More, I worried about the kids younger than me who were reading these books.
It’s no news that eBooks caught 99% of the population unawares. (Check out the article link in the next paragraph – boy, have we come a long way.) I’d say most authors got with the times, and most have now been e-publishing current books as well as backlists for a few years.
Except for one writer: Joanne Kathleen Rowling, aka the Woman Who Can Do Whatever the Hell She Wants. Seven years ago, she officially refused to make the Harry Potter series available as eBooks, despite rampant piracy – until last year, when she announced the arrival of Pottermore, a “unique and free-to-use Web site which builds an exciting online experience” around Harry Potter, and produced in partnership with Sony (according to the press release). Ten months later, Pottermore opened to the public, and hoo boy, the windmills start again.
What is Pottermore? It’s two things. First […]
It All Ends. An end of an era. The end of childhood. I’m pretty sure everyone in the industrialized world knows that the final Harry Potter movie came out on Friday (in the U.S.). This is it.
People of all ages have felt the loss, from children who weren’t alive when the first books came out, to retirees. I think, though, that my age group has felt the end more keenly. After all, we are the Harry Potter Generation.
This summer I had quite the shock when I discovered that my son’s peers could actually influence his reading choices at the tender age of eight. Clothes were already an issue, but poor, naïve me didn’t realize book characters also radiate a sense of coolness or lameness among the younger set. My world tipped when my darling son made the statement, “Harry Potter’s lame. Insert name of cool neighbor kid here said so.”
Upon hearing this, I began to sputter, ask questions rapidly, and get really, really defensive. Things like, “How do you know? Have you read Harry Potter? What makes cool neighbor kid an expert on Harry Potter? Harry Potter is soooo not lame,” all began to fly at my poor, defenseless son who really had no logical reply. I don’t count, “Because he’s 12!” as a logical reply, at least not yet anyway.
Long ago, before Harry Potter appeared on the scene, and even before the Babysitters Club made their first appearance, young girls read about the adventures of some remarkable girl sleuths. While there were a whole host of girl sleuths, the most popular two were Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden. I read, and reread, both of these series, but my favorite, hands down, was Trixie Belden.
I spent many a summer tucked in our back porch, reading about Trixie and Nancy’s adventures. It’s completely appropriate, that the highlight of my reading summer has been the discovery of yet another girl sleuth. My recent glom of Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce series (okay, not sure if it counts as a glom since so far there are only two books), has me thinking a lot more about these original girl sleuths, and comparing them to Flavia.