Pop Goes the Library

Using Pop Culture to Make Libraries Better.

by Sophie Brookover, Liz Burns, Melissa Rabey, Susan Quinn, John Klima, Carlie Webber, Karen Corday, and Eli Neiburger. We're librarians. We're pop culture mavens. We're Pop Culture Librarians.


Spoiler free! Stephen King and the Deathly Hallows

No fictional character in the last ten years has generated more arguments, more discussion, and more analysis than Harry Potter...except for perhaps his nemesis Potions instructor, Severus Snape. I've read many books and essays dissecting the Harry Potter books, but my favorite writer is not an academic (sorry, Henry Jenkins! I love your blog anyway!) or even a Potter news expert. It's Stephen King. Although I haven't read any of King's fiction in a while, I absolutely adore his nonfiction, like On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft and his column in Entertainment Weekly. Beyond his talent for scaring people, King takes obvious joy in writing. I think we all wish that one day we can all be as happy in our vocations as King is in his.

Stephen King first won my Potter fan heart when he wrote, decrying all the people who say that every new YA fantasy novel is "the new Harry Potter" or that XYZ adult fantasy is "Harry Potter for adults": "Harry Potter is Harry Potter, you dolts!" King has never shied away from his love of this series, and I'm sure there was no one more excited than he to take the stage with J.K. Rowling (rhymes with bowling) last year at Radio City Music Hall. Now, he's written a new Potter essasy for Entertainment Weekly: Goodbye, Harry. He doesn't make predictions, except to say that the books will probably NOT end in a ten-second blackout as Harry & Company sit eating onion rings at Holsten's Brookdale Confectionery while Journey plays in the background. What he does address is something I dread more than any death in the series, and that is the end of an era, the end of a great story with characters we've come to care about. King writes:

I'm partly drawing on my own experience with
The Dark Tower (reader satisfaction with the ending was low — tough titty, since it was the only one I had); partly on my belief that very few long works end as felicitously as Tolkien's Rings series, with its beautiful pilgrimage into the Grey Havens; but mostly on the fact that there is that sadness, that inevitable parting from characters who have been loved deeply by many. The Internet blog sites will be full of this was bad and that was wrong, but it's going to boil down to something that many will feel and few will come right out and state: No ending can be right, because it shouldn't be over at all. The magic is not supposed to go away.

I don't think the magic will ever truly go away, not in the way that there will always be great books for readers of all ages, but I too will miss Ron and Professor McGonagall and Luna Lovegood with the best of them.

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  • At 9:17 PM, Blogger riddleburger said…

    That was a good column. I just finished posting about his mention of Gormenghast.

    He's right about LOTR's perfect ending. (In book form that is.)

    Somehow I've always been sure that Harry will have a satisfying end. So far, nearly every book has had a fantastic closing, why not the last?


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