Cry Baby

Last week, I briefly mentioned – in an Idol live blog, shockingly – that I was re-reading the Harry Potter series. My copies are quite worn, as I read through them every couple of years or so, and I pick up my favorite volumes even more frequently. I can’t help it; I adore them. I’m not generally a fan of fantasy – I haven’t seen any of the Lord of the Rings movies, and yes, I realize that they’re supposedly awesome, but I know of several things that I would rather devote nine solid hours of my life to – but the Harry Potter novels just get me. The characters are rich, the stories complex and dynamic, and the entire series is riveting, from first page to last.

I’m nearing the end of the final book – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – for the bazillionth time, and each time the same thing happens to me. I’ll try to keep this vague and non-spoilery for those of you who are waiting for the movie (seriously?), but here’s what happens: I get to Chapter 34 (when Harry goes into the Forbidden Forest), and I say, “I’m not going to cry. I’ve read this chapter 958 times. It’s my favorite of the entire series; I know it by heart. Of course I won’t cry.” And then Harry uses the stone, and suddenly I’m weeping. Again. No, really – I have cried every single time I read this chapter, and that estimate of 958 readings is not much of an exaggeration.

And here’s why that’s especially weird: I rarely cry at books. I can count on both hands the number of books that have ever caused me to lose it. The Road made me cry; I could hardly get through the ending because my vision was blurred by tears. The Kite Runner choked me up a bit. The History of Love, that did it. And other than that…well…I’ll get back to you. There are more, but I don’t remember them off the top of my head.