Heroes, Fictional and Otherwise

J.K. Rowling has received a fair number of letters from or about real people who are named "Harry Potter." My brother does not share the name, age, citizenship, hair or eye color, myopia, or magical abilities (as far as I know) of the world's favorite teenage wizard; nevertheless, I contend, he is the real Harry Potter. To wit:

  • His birthday is July 31.
  • His father is named James, has unruly dark hair that sticks up in the back, and is his hero.
  • He is profoundly loved by a woman whose maiden name is Evans.
  • He has a "certain disregard for the rules," wedded to a fierce devotion to justice.
The release date for the seventh and final installment of the Harry Potter series has been announced, and I am strangely disappointed that it is sooner than I had guessed. "Strangely," I say, because I cannot wait to read it -- I am not one of those fans who will be sad to see it come to an end, as I expect the stories to have a long afterlife in my imagination.

No, my disappointment has to do with the realization that my brother and sister-in-law will almost certainly still be in North America when the book is released, which means that I will not get to celebrate the release of the final installment by purchasing THREE hardback copies (one for me, one for him, one for her -- they know it's more than their marriage is worth to try to share a single copy of a newly released Harry Potter book) and an unabridged CD copy, and sending off two of the books and the CDs the next morning par avion (at an expense likely to rival that of the books themselves, but heck if I'm gonna make my dear family wait for the slow boat to get their HP fix) to Dakar. No, M&M will be quite able to acquire the new novels on their own, and quite possibly be reading them on the plane as they wing their way across the ocean to their new assignment.

This, of course, means less hassle and less expense for me, so I'm a bit surprised to find that I am disappointed that my assistance won't be necessary. But I suppose I was relishing the opportunity to support my missionaries in such a unique and personal way. Our common enthusiasm for all thing Potter has been a significant point of bonding between my brother and me as adults (and something our parents don't quite get), so I wanted to share the momentous final book release with my sibs.

On the upside, if they manage to finish reading the books before they depart the country, we'll have a chance to actually talk about it.


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