Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Living with the day after

I think what I was trying to say in that last post is that it makes no difference whether HP lives or dies, or who else lives or dies in the book; the main thing that is going to be felt on a global HP fan level is a sense of emptiness now that the series is over. It's like coming down from a sugar rush. And some, crazy as it may sound, may need counselling for it, especially if they've been immersed in fan sites, etc.

I've read stories in the last day or so about the Publishing Machine's speculation over what will 'fill the gap'. I don't think anything will, or anything that is consciously marketed to be. I know the HP publicity machine went into overdrive, but the fact of the matter is that the initial frenzy occurred via libraries and schools; it was a slow burner, driven by word of mouth and a damn good story. The Next Big Thing can't be orchestrated, and it shouldn't even be attempted until people have had time to process the fallout from this Big Thing and dealt with the sense of loss.

People who don't dig HP will be rolling their eyes at this. But others will know what I mean. Some people around me are reading HP7 slowly to prolong that exquisite sensation; others, like myself, devoured it in hours. Either way, you get to the end. And if JKR keeps her word (and there's no proof of her ever going back on it), it will be The End. And that leaves a very big gap, right in the middle of your chest.

Pavlov's Cat speculated if millions of people reading the same books at the same time would exert some kind of gravitational pull. I think so... downwards.


More like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows.

Watch that space.


Mummy/Crit said...

Interesting. I was comparing the phenomenon with that of some serialised literature (Charles Dickens etc) where people were hanging out for the next installment, only with globalisation and capitalism thrown in.

I'm pretty happy with the end. I reckon I can re-read them. Again, comparing with something like Narnia or the Ursula le Guin Earthsea they end, and I don't feel much of the gap in the middle of the chest. They have good conclusions. ALthough le Guin found that after writing the trilogy that there were two more novels and some short stories still in it, and so got them out 30 years later.I kind of felt that Earthsea needed some conclusion. There may be more Hogwarts stories that need to be told, but I reckon JKR might not know them yet...

Ampersand Duck said...

I think you're closer to the mark with Dickens than with Narnia or Earthsea. I don't think there was the sense of daily involvement with the latter two, whereas the Victorian audience was awaiting with bated breath the next, highly popular instalment of whatever serial he was pumping out.

In this case it's been a rollercoaster of a ride, with chances to interact as a community in almost every sense.

I'm glad you like the ending. Even though the snoop in me is satisfied, it could have easily lost the last chapter. I think that was her thinking of the (reader) kiddies.

Mummy/Crit said...

Yes, I wasn't being very clear there. What I meant about Narnia and Earthsea wasn't that they were a 'phenomenon' as much as that they were a series of books where the characters change and grow and then the series ends and we're all happy. Well, I am.

But Dickens was a similar literary phenomenon as the HP in a way that is not a new thing, to have people waiting in lines with bated breath to see 'what happens next' to their favourite characters.

Not sure if that's any clearer. I'm a bit vague at the best of times.

Ampersand Duck said...

No, very clear and I'm glad you brought up the matter of Dickens!

BTW are you going to see 'Dickens' Women' at the Canberra Theatre? We've been waiting for a year now and we keep forgetting to book tickets!

JahTeh said...

I've read a few comments about the last chapter being unnecessary but she's just set up a new generation of Hogwarts, ready to go.

Clive Cussler did it with his Dirk Pitt novels. When Dirk got too old, along came a son and daughter and the adventures continued.

Anyway, the thought is keeping me going.

Pavlov's Cat said...

I thought the point of the epilogue was mainly to prevent other people writing sequels; JKR has expressed disquiet about this a lot over the years. I think the astonishing quantities of fanfic have freaked her out. They certainly would me.