I switched to the Order of the Phoenix layout on MuggleNet the other day, and not only did my screen change from “green and purple on black” to “blue on black” (which was the effect I was going for), but I found myself feeling a sudden pang of sadness and nostalgia.
That’s right – sadness and nostalgia.
You see, I remember when Book Five of the Harry Potter series came out. It is my favorite of the series so far, but only because it is the longest. I just love these books – and I, frankly, don’t want them to end. And therein lies the problem.
You see, with the recent release of Half-Blood Prince, the end is now truly in sight. All that remains is the last volume in the series, Book Seven. Only once more will we be able to open a brand-new and (hopefully) not-yet spoiled Harry Potter book and read it for the first time. After this next book, the only “mysteries” left in the HP universe will be quibbles and details. The tale itself will be complete.
Strangely coupled with this weird sort of presentiment of grief and loss is a tremendous feeling of anticipation. I, along with hundreds of millions of other people, am tremendously curious as to the ultimate resolution of the story. Will Voldemort be defeated, and if so, how? Will Harry survive? Will we know the ultimate disposition of the series’ many other characters? Will we all find, as we so often have with JKR’s stories, that the ultimate answers to the remaining mysteries have lain hidden under our noses for all of these years?
In the meantime, like so many others, I will spend a lot of spare time speculating on whether or not Snape is good or evil, who “R. A. B.” is, how the power of love will figure into the final battle, where the “gleam of triumph” from GoF will fit in, whether or not Wormtail’s debt to Harry will figure into the final story and how Dumbledore’s family and Sirius’ mirror will be worked in.
But like the post-HBP disappointed shippers, all of us theory-spinners have only one more chance to have our theories proved or disproved. After that, the world of Harry Potter prognostication will be forever at an end. Appreciation of the books will go on, of course.
When I look now at the image on the cover of Order of the Phoenix, I can remember the day I sat down and read it for the first time. Through the Dementor attack, with the advance guard, onto Number 12 Grimmauld Place, to the hearing, off to an Umbridge-infested Hogwarts and Harry’s several detentions, off to St. Mungo’s, onto Harry’s first kiss and first date, through OWLs, off to the final battle at the Ministry, and at all points in between. What a ride. I can have it again any time I want to, of course, but there can only be one ‘first time’ for anything. And while I’m excited to see what I’m hoping is the defeat of Voldemort, I’m kind of dreading having only more ‘first time’ to read a Harry Potter book.