Raping Harry Potter
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.
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!