With less than two weeks till the anticipated date of July 21, there has been talk among Harry Potter fans, and many are still wondering the same question: will Harry die at the end of book seven? There have even been articles advising parents to not shrug off their child’s sadness by telling them, “it’s only a book.”
Well, yes and no. To anyone who loves literature, those fictional characters transport themselves into our thoughts, thereby making them more than mere fiction. Here we’ve got a boy who in real time does not exist, and yet in the minds of millions, he most certainly does. When putting it in that perspective, one has to wonder just how many Harry Potters are there, since each person will experience him differently.
In the forth grade, my teacher read aloud Charlotte’s Web. A great story no doubt, but how could I have imagined that I’d ever feel such loss from the death of a spider? When my teacher read aloud that Charlotte had died, the news didn’t seem to affect most of the kids, but I went home that evening and sobbed. No joke. I sobbed in my pillow, and then managed to pull myself up to eat dinner, still sobbing the entire time while at the table.
My mother thought I was faking it just to get out of having to do chores. But no, I really was that affected by it. A pig and a spider become friends, the spider dies and her children live on. Who would have thought? I kept seeing those images of all of Charlotte’s babies leaving Wilbur and the farm. Understandable. After all, who wants 514 spiders in one place?
When I reached my adult years, I sobbed once again when finishing Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I don’t know why, the tale has a happy ending. But as for the character, I suppose I was so sad in having to let her go.
Those who say, “it’s only a story” are those who also say, “it’s only a dog or a cat.” They probably won’t ever get the impact that a story (or pet) can have, but among all of us that do, we share that.
Whatever happens, the story doesn’t end there. For true lovers of books, it never does.