Saturday, July 21, 2007

72107, 3440, 784

No, I’m not into the number game. But if you are a Potter fan, then you would know what I mean. That’s Harry Potter for those of you who don’t follow the fad started ten year ago by a then unemployed writer by the name of JK Rowling. And the rest is history, or rather, her own fairy-tale story in the world of literary works where many more writers have been left by the wayside, as they would say.

72107 is today’s date: July 21, 2007, a momentous day for the Potter maniacs as today is the day the seventh, the very last installment (of course some will demur as who in his/her right mind would abandon such a lucrative enterprise) in the long-running saga of the magical sojourns of Harry Potter and his gang of magician wannabes is slated to hit the bookstores worldwide. But alas, because of the different time zones, some lucky souls will get to the “truth” of the much-hyped demise of some important characters in the book series earlier than others.

3340 then is the total number of pages of the last six installments and 784 is the number of pages in the seventh and last installment: Harry Porter and the Deadly Hallows.

I’m no Potter fan. And I have the proof: I’ve not read a single one of the installments, and it looks like this one is not going to be any different. But my kids are. So I did what a good father would do in this instance: I made a reservation for 2 copies in Barnes and Noble, several weeks ago, priced at $18.89, a special deal for pre-order topped up with further membership discount, which I’m entitled to.

So we started for Barnes & Noble at about 11.30pm last night, a leisurely drive of about 20 minutes. Before that, we watched some of the actions on the TV night news. Not as bad as the I-Phone line, but a more varied crowd of young and old, presumably the old is there to chaperone the young. It was near mid-night anyway, way beyond the curfew hours set by responsible parents I would say.

The carpark was full, so we had to park at the adjacent lot in front of Office Depot. Upon entering the store, the lines were already formed, the throng weaving among the book shelves. We took our spot, got a color wrist band (yellow), and numbered 292. Dee (my younger son) found the group, each group of 50 identified by the color of the wrist band assigned being allotted a particular corner in the store.

Mom and D looking fresh while waiting for the fun to begin, with Dee's back further afield.

Then the waiting game commenced. Soon the countdown started, and the line started to move, in a very orderly fashion. I joined Dee at his spot, but the tedium of waiting was ameliorated considerably by the presence of books on both sides of the line. So I passed the time by scanning the book titles: The Poe Shadow by Matthew Pearl that my elder daughter has read, The Art of Letting Go, but written from the perspective of one imbued with the Christian faith, to name a few that I managed to squeeze out from my memory the morning after.

At 12.30am, we were at the cashier, receiving our two copies, and were given some souvenirs on the way out. As soon as we reached home, Dee locked himself in his room (the door was closed), delving straight into the fantasy panorama of magic wands concocted by one of the greatest story tellers of our time.

The Pottermania paraphernalia: the colored wrist band (top), the key chain with tassel and a golden locket spotting 72107 (right), the poster, and the white goggle but without the lens (left), as a mememto of our very first nocturnal foray into a bookstore.

For some reason, my younger daughter, the rightful owner of the other copy, chose to watch some early morning TV programs with us. Then we moved on to Clint Eastwood’s The Letters from Iwo Jima. However, the movie did not, at least during the first few minutes, sustain me enough and my hand reached for Harry Potter and the Deadly Hallows, but only managed to claim it under the watchful eyes of my D, after surviving her litany of conditions of use: take off the cover, do not wrinkle the page, and above all, don’t say anything of whatever I will be reading.

Actually, I have no intention of latching on to the magical offering, though I do have my own sense of imagination (I think people who write, or blog, can’t have too dormant an imaginative faculty), but just wanted to jump right to the bottom of who survived, the means of which being not my concern really.

I flipped through the contents and note that it has a lot of chapters. Seeing nothing that appealed to me in particular, I settled at the last few pages that started with the page that says nineteen years later. The Potter family and Ron family were seeing their children off to the Academy of Magic where they have previously mastered their trade. Potter is with Ron’s sister (I only found out this morning in one of the online reviews) and Ron is with Hermione. So all the main characters were there. Who died?

Apparently, Rowling must have a change of heart in the last minutes. Anyway, in the world of MagicLand, I guess any untoward death can always be resuscitated should the need arise since living and dying is one continuous process. The last three words of the 4224-page epic are “All was well.”

All is well indeed, which makes for the interesting possibility that the second generation will start their own adventure in time to come. And I just can’t see the creator plugging any further flow of literary juice as yet. Perhaps the Potter tradition and legacy will still live on, in print.


Kitty Girl said...

AHHH!! Are there spoilers in here?!?!? I didn't read the last few paragraphs for fear of being spoiled... AHHH!! I myself am waiting for a copy at the library (I am only 560th in line...) or for it to go on sale. We too had ventured to Borders, but in truth I had completely forgotten the book was coming out; I went there because I saw a bunch of books on sale ('bargain books') out front.

Say Lee said...

Yes, there are indeed, the spoilers I mean. I have to be very discreet in front of Mei 'cos she is still reading it. I teased her saying that the book must be much less interesting than I thought; otherwise she would have read it in one breadth or uttered things to the effect Oh I like this book so much.

Do you want us to mail you Dee's copy?

Kitty Girl said...

Yes! Please mail me Dee's copy! :D That way I don't have to wait for 500 people to read it at the library The books really are good! They are written with children in mind, but the plot twists and turns are worthy of adult novels... In fact, I am hard pressed to think of an adult novel with better twists! It is also full of witty dialog and suspense!

Kitty Girl said...

PS Dad you have to say "CAUTION: SPOILERS"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Say Lee said...

Will see what we can do with the book mailing and certainly take note of the need for the "cautionary disclaimer".