by Jenny Ramaley
After rereading the last three Harry Potter books (then watching the accompanying films) to get back up to speed, my daughter and I went to see the final Harry Potter film. Author J.K Rowling pulled off the hard task of keep the series engaging and ending Harry’s quest in a satisfying way, while the filmmaking team did a superb job in recreating the story visually.
|Despite the dangers Harry faces, |
the first book is A-Okay for 10-11 year olds.
Harry’s been a part of our lives since 1997. It took 10 years to publish the books covering the seven years at Hogwarts, and beginning in 2001, it took 10 years to bring the story to the screen. My girls grew up with Harry and anxiously awaited each new book. Looking back, it was a blessing that they were the right age at the right time to grow with the boy wizard. Each book grew a little darker, the danger levels ticked upward. The main characters of Harry, Ron and Hermione not only had to grapple with the threat of Lord Voldemort, but also with puberty, hormones and snogging – which at times was more terrifying than dark magic – at the same times that my daughters grappled with growing up. Priceless, as that credit card commercial points out.
|The last book is not only dark in tone, |
but very complicated plot-wise.
Probably not okay for 10-11 year olds.
Plots also grew increasingly complex with each book. The last book was so convoluted that I remember walking away confused. It took a revisit to Year 6 and a reread of Year 7 to really grasp the complicated intertwining storylines of the horcruxes, wand ownership and the three hallows.
So here’s a word of advice to parents whose offspring are ready to begin the series: take your time. Having a book released every year gave readers time to be ready for the ever increasing complications and darkness. My offspring experienced the delicious anticipation of waiting for each new publication release date, one that, unfortunately, new readers can bypass. A child reader who may delight in devouring the Year 1 book, may want to tackle the whole series in one school year, but may not be ready to plow through the entire series. It won’t be easy, but try to slow down your young reader.
Perhaps begin a tradition (ok, a bribe) of buying your reader(s) a hardcover book as a birthday present every year or half year, maybe along with the film of the last book. Give them an incentive to wait. If you can, encourage your young readers to take Harry’s journey slowly, so they are ready to tackle the later books when they have matured (just like Harry) and are truly ready.
Readers, any suggestions to pass along?