If you are looking for a little perspective on the Potter keg that is going to explode on July 21st when the last book in the series is released have a look at Lenore Skenazy's piece in the New York Sun, "For Harry Potter Fans, Time to Enjoy Unkown."
She does a nice job of putting the phenomenon in historical context.
Here are a few Potter puffs:
-It is the most successful series in the history of publishing.
-The forthcoming finale Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows has the largest first printing in publishing history.
- A first edition of the first Potter book sold for £9, 000 pounds at Bonhams' this week
- J. K. Rowling makes more money than 90% of all writers combined!
-This will be the first book in history in which most of the copies were sold without the booksellers making a dime.
But, believe it or not, we have gotten this crazy before.
Skenazy reminds us :
"When Charles Dickens finished the last installment of "The Old Curiosity Shop," in 1841, his American fans were so desperate to find out the ending that they stormed the New York piers and shouted to incoming ships, "Is Little Nell alive?"
No, Little Nell dies.
"Dickens readers were drowned in a wave of grief," wrote Edgar Johnson a Dickens biographer.
Daniel O'Connell, an Irish M.P., burst into tears upon reading the end, remarked ‘He should not have killed her,' and proceeded to throw the book out of the train window."
Oscar Wilde had a different take saying "One would have to have a heart of stone to read the death of Little Nell without laughing."
We will soon find out what will happen to Harry. There will be an industry built on the ending.
As time goes by the mania will subside and the Harry Potter experience will takes its place alongside the Sopranos, Paris Hilton and the Bush years. All cultural epics, all a sign of the times.