(This post 100% fat-free! Woo!)
So the whole world’s been waiting 10 freakin’ years to find out how the Harry Potter series ends, and we have two days to go. Booksellers and journalists everywhere are honoring the author’s and publishers’ requests to keep it completely under wraps until Saturday. The anticipation is, of course, half the fun. Maybe most of the fun.
Rachel Sklar sums up my feelings here: Harry Potter and the Fact that I Hate the New York Times.
How on earth could you run a review of the last Harry Potter? To do so, you had to break an industry-wide embargo — and not just any embargo, an embargo that is almost tantamount to a public trust at this point, given the worldwide hype about Harry Potter and the excitement and intense emotion generated by — finally — the end to this epic series.
[H]onestly, embargoes are in place for a reason, and entreaties from the author (or the Crying Game director, for that matter) are there specifically for the benefit of the public — the very same public the NYT is purporting to serve with their rushed-to-print review (that’s the other thing: How fast did Kakutani have to read — and write — in order to dash that thing off? It’s sort of, you know, a long book).
Yeah! What she said! The wait may be killing us — but we want the wait. For the last several books, the wait — and the big unveiling — have been part of the sacred ritual of being a devoted Potter geek. And Potter geeks? Are all about the sacred rituals and whatnot. Kinda comes with the territory. Book 7 was to be the grandest, most emotional unveiling of all: the end of an era, of a decade in which many of the series’ most devoted readers passed from childhood to adulthood along with the main characters. (And many others rediscovered an obsessive love of fiction that had eluded us since childhood.)
That’s why practically everyone chose to honor the embargo, Michiko. For Christ’s sake.
Sklar points out that The Baltimore Sun has also run a review, but honestly, what are the chances that I — or any other non-Baltimore resident — would accidentally run across that? Zip. The chances of me reading The New York Times Book Review, however? Well, not as high as you might think, frankly, but still a hell of a lot higher.
Bad form, Paper of Record! May everyone involved in this decision find themselves on the wrong end of a bat bogey hex.
(Cross-posted to The Bibliophilistines.)