Is the "Harry Potter" series just a bunch of hype?

My first job was working for a national chain that enabled mid-sized cities to be up on music, movies and books. I worked in the music department and spent much of my time alphabetizing CDs and goofing off in the stock room. Every now and then, though, I'd have to work books, during which time I'd get lost reading what Capricorns are like or... a chapter from Harry Potter.

They were always delightful, but it's in my blood to be immediately skeptical when anything is hyped up (which can explain why I'm so out-of-touch). HP was hype. I thought I was too cool for all that.

For Christmas one year, I got my mom the first book and movie. This is a woman who still gets teary-eyed at The Wizard of Oz and screams like a banshee when the little boy from Love, Actually runs through the airport to kiss the American girl with the pipes. Her child-like enthusiasm is infectious. I knew she'd dig it, but I had no idea the mania that would ensue.

Since then she has urged me to read the books. Unlike most, however, I wanted to see the movies before the book. Why? I like it that way. 99 times out of 100, a reader is disappointed with the cinematic interpretation. They left this out. They didn't capture the themes of the author. So by watching the films before reading the book, it's like you get extra features. Instead of being disappointed as a viewer, you are surprised as a reader.

Why not get lost in the world of precocious witches and wizards? Over the weekend, I defeated the Dark Lord and graduated from Hogwarts. I almost didn't want to leave. I won't hype it up, but I will admit:

 

The Harry Potter series is truly delightful and makes for good reading. It has humor, romance, political agendas, mystery, heart, sports (if you're into Quidditch; I breeze through those parts) and deep stuff that'll blow your mindhole. There are parts that will make you wail like a baby and put into words everything you need to know about loss and heartache (particularly for me in Order of the Pheonix), and a part of me wishes I'd had those words years ago. Out of all the characters, Ma and I have deduced that I am most like Sirius Black. A tad moody, a little funny, "misunderstood," rebellious, irresponsible, can live on very little, cleans up nice and devilishly handsome.