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Raping Harry Potter

Raping Harry Potter

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I was rooting around in Powerbooks Megamall Friday night, and passed by the display stack of the new and final Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows. For each of the five times I walked by that table, there was at least one person reading the last few pages, trying to find out the ending without reading - or buying - the novel. At one point there were even two, a woman and a teenaged girl, both turned to the last few pages of the hardbound.

What the hell?

I normally wouldn't care, but each time I passed by I got more and more incensed. What kind of people would do such a thing? Barbarians. Or, as Captain Haddock puts it more colorfully, Bashi-bazouks! Pithecanthropuses! Diplodocuses! Odd-toed ungulates! Visigoths!

I speak from a writer's point of view here, from the perspective of someone who writes for a living. I know how it feels to craft a story, put effort into the plot and stucture and buildup, all for that wonderful frisson at the end, that cathartic conclusion all writers work for and care for and lead up to. But jumping to the end just negates all that blood, sweat and tears. It's like coming without any foreplay or preamble.

More to the point, what it is is rape.

Yes, that's precisely what it is. Raping a book. Getting what you want by brute force, instant gratification without deserving it.

I don't think it'd be so bad if you bought the book, took it home and just read the epilogue. Who cares, you paid for it, it's yours now to do with as you wish, and if you wish to trash all that work JK Rowling put into it, all the thousands of pages in seven volumes just so you can satisfy your curiosity, then go ahead. But this?

Worse yet, these people walk up to a public display in a bookstore, brutally rip the plastic off, crack the book open to the end and forcibly take what they want quickly, roughly, brazenly standing right there in the store, in public. And then, sated by their illicit quickie, they put the book back on the shelf, walking out smug and shameless.

Rapists.

Grrr. A pox on you! May the fleas of a thousand camels infest your armpits! May Dementors give you a big wet one! May you forever languish in Azkaban with only a phone directory for reading material - you can read that ending over and over for all I care!
  • Worse yet, these people walk up to a public display in a bookstore, brutally rip the plastic off,

    Oh, heavens, that makes the baby kittens cry, yanno?

    Now, I'm no saint in the "jump to the ending" department, but at least I look for an open copy. (Which is why I love stores that keep an open shelf copy.)

    I do buy the books once I know who stays alive by book's end...it's never spoiled my enjoyment of the books at all. But to tear open the shrinkwrap and then *not* buy the book? Eeep.
  • I still have to read Books 5-7. Sigh. Need time to do that. God Bless.
  • (Anonymous)
    Chill, man. That's how it is with the written word. The reader can go this way or that, skip, hop, go back, re-read or jump to the ending. Books are handy that way.

    And reading the last page and putting the book back on the shelf, how does it differ from asking another reader, hey did harry survive? If all a person wants to know how it ends, it's their choice.

    Besides, what do they really get (and what does the author really lose) when they read the last page? Certainly not the author's craft, not the heart or essence of her work. They get a bunch of words and a some information. That's not coming at all. Heck it's not even an erection. It's no reward, it's no gratification. It's nothing and if that's all they want, they're entitled to it.

    -- JdelaCruz
    • True, that, Mr. dela Cruz.

      You can always fast-forward to the ending of a DVD, then when you've satisfied yourself that the movie will no longer hold any surprises for you, you can go back and watch it from the beginning.

      Of course you can. But that still doesn't make it right in the sense that you are doing the people who made the movie or the book a gross disservice. But that's your call, of course.

      I guess it's a bit difficult for those who don't fully understand the creative process to appreciate.
  • Oooh, I agree! I'm only just reading the book now, so have been avoiding certain websites and such against spoilers. Anyway, what's awful about THOSE people is they'll have random conversations with friends and will inadvertedly blurt out what happens within earshot to some poor soul who isn't done with the book yet. Thereby spoiling other people's cheer :( Shame, shame!

    Well, bet those are the same people who tried their darndest to read all the spoilers.
  • hp7

    (Anonymous)
    you might want to check out what stephen king has to say. he has a different take on this with regards to peeking at the end of book 7

    http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20044270_20044274_20050689,00.html
  • Ahahaha! I ,too, read the ending first before reading the whole book. Can't really blame them, especially if the book is wide open, in public, to exploit. But to actually force it on a closed book? That IS rape.
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