I was reading the new Harry Potter at breakfast the other day when GP2 took it off me, saying “You shouldn’t be reading that. You should be revising!”. Too true unfortunately. Surely three years can’t have whizzed by quite so fast? I’m sure it was only last year that I did that much loathed 2 day First Aid at Work refresher course. I know it is A GOOD THING to know some First Aid. I know I have to keep my certificate in date as 10 minutes out of date and I’d have to do a 4 day course. I know they all did the right things when I broke my ankle – after all, I’m a trained first aider and I know these things – they kept me lying down (not that I was planning on going anywhere) and they called an ambulance. But I hate these courses, taught by people who I appreciate are trying to be helpful, friendly, interesting but always seem smug, in the gloomiest of buildings imaginable. Anyhow, despite Harry Potter, and forgetting to call for help during the scenario, never mind potentially breaking the nose of the victim dummy during CPR, I am safe for another 3 years. But please, don’t hurt yourself while I’m around.
So back to Harry Potter. We missed the midnight launch this time as we drove to Somerset for the weekend; it would have been my in-laws’ 52nd wedding anniversary on Monday and Grandma is still finding life alone very hard. What a wet weekend. Wet, wet, wet. Thank goodness we travelled down on Thursday and avoided the M5 floods on Friday. Anyhow, despite waiting until Saturday morning for the book, GP1 had finished it by Monday morning and even GP2 had read it by Wednesday night. I had to wait to get my hands on it but that’s it, done and dusted. We need another publishing sensation now. Who’s next?
Health warning… the ending of the HP story follows shortly, so, as they say, if you don’t want to know, look away now!
On our drive up and down the country we listened to The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – 11 CDs worth, and we haven’t quite finished yet. It’s a remarkable, moving novel about Nazi Germany, and the children have listened as intently as their parents. They wouldn’t have picked it up to read for themselves, not even GP1 who eats books as fast as he empties the fridge. It struck me, doing both books at once, how similar the themes are, given that I always think that most literature is constructed from relatively few themes. A bit like cooking, where there are relatively few ways of combining the same ingredients and it’s all in the nuances and presentation.
I rate HP as a good read rather than great literature and good v. evil has formed the plotline of all the books. The Deathly Hallows is very evidently a fictional mixture of the evil of Nazi Germany and a strongly biblical death and resurrection. From the outset, there was really only one ending possible if the series was not going to sink into a celebration of the dark arts so, although it builds up to Harry’s death, it was no great surprise that he came to life again. The suspense was primarily in the how rather than the if or when. A good few hours escapism, though!
In The Book Thief the Nazi evil seems so real that the boys were asking whether it was a true story. How on earth has the author managed to write such a bleak story with so much compassion and humour? Even though I’ve listened to the whole unabridged version, I may have to go and get the book and read it for myself, in my head.