My copies of Harry Potter wouldn’t be so tattered if I didn’t love reading and rereading the books, even when I know the endings by heart. So I understand what some people were saying in the comments on my last post–spoilers don’t matter to everyone. But all the same, it is a completely different experience to read a book knowing the ending, and reading it having no idea. Personally, I want to have the experience of guessing, missing clues, and being completely surprised. I’ll probably open the book again as soon as I finish, and reread with the ending in mind, but that will be a very different experience. I want that first read, which can never be replicated, and that I’ll never have again with Harry.
And that brings me on to my topic for today: The End. Putting aside the book, and what happens to Harry, people are looking towards “The End” with a certain amount of apprehension, and fear. This is because, as Dumbledore said, we fear “the unknown,” and nobody knows what is going to happen to the Harry Potter fandom when the final book comes out. So far, the fandom has been kept alive by the unbearable wait between books, the theorizing and hypothesizing about what will come next. But on Friday night the wait, and the guessing, comes to an end. Sure, people will need a few months to digest and discuss, but after that… nobody knows.
People who have made close friends through Potter are quick to assure themselves that they will not let friendships fade, but the fandom as a whole is not so sure about its fate. With no new books, and few new readers (until the next generation discovers Potter), it may wither and die. Or the magic may sustain it–the fandom could survive, though it will be different. Right now, all anybody knows is that the clock on the fandom as we know it is ticking, and we’re clinging on to every second.