Three times I have come to India, and three times a Harry Potter novel has been released while I was here. That’s right, Potter-mania has struck the Great Subcontinent as well as your own suburban homelands. And with The Deathly Hallows riding in on the tails of the Order of the Phoenix movie release a couple of weeks ago, the face and name of the world’s favorite young wizard seems to be everywhere. Well, at least in the bigger cities like Bangalore and Kolkata.
I’ve seen the movie; I have not yet read the book. After all, you only get one first reading of Harry’s final adventure, and I think I’d like to reread at least The Half-Blood Prince before continuing, just to be sure I’m sufficiently oriented. At present I am aware of at least two people who also have decided not to read the book yet, but both have had the plot summarized for them in one way or another. I, however, would have my answers flow from the pen of J. K. Rowling and from no other source.
I’m currently traveling with three “Potter-heads” who consumed The Deathly Hallows at the earliest possible chance, and for a few days it was quite the chore to keep shushing them whenever they started talking about it with each other. Shushing India, however, is a near-impossible task. In newspapers and magazines everywhere articles will begin with “Now that we all finally know that Harry Potter (died/did not die),” or “While Harry Potter fans mourn the death of such-and-such a character.” There’s nary a spoiler warning to be had in a veritable minefield of spoilers. So far I’ve been able to pull my eyes away from the page before having anything of consequence betrayed.
But there are still three weeks to go before I can read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in the manner I would choose. If I manage to keep myself sufficiently protected until then, I wonder if I’ll be the last person alive still waiting to learn the outcome of the final battle with You-Know-Who.