*Warning -- If you haven't read Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, don't read any more of this post unless you want the book's ending spoiled for you.*
It has taken The Spouse and I more than a year to read Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince aloud to The Youngest Boy (who, by the way, gave me special permission to write about him in this post). We finally finished the 652-page opus last night all the way to its sad and dreary conclusion. Harry Potter, the boy whose parents were killed when he was just a baby (his mother while putting her body in front of his), had to watch as his mentor, his fierce protector, was killed. It was only a little more than a year after his godfather, who he was just getting to know, was also murdered in front of his eyes.
Dumbledore's funeral, the lump in Harry's throat, that dread that was weighing on the boy's chest as he broke up with Ginny in order to protect her and his realization that he was embarking on a quest that could very well lead to his own death, all of it was so very bleak. Black hole kind of bleak.
The Youngest Boy was, as one might well imagine, quite melancholy and surprisingly muted when I asked him what he thought about how the book ended. When I first read it, not having known ahead of time what happened to Dumbledore, I shed tears, mostly for Harry who had already suffered so many losses and was really truly alone, with the exception of his teenage besties, Ron and Hermione.
I'm curious as to how The Youngest Boy will react when he sees the film's version of this tale (the weakest of all the Potter films) and sees Dumbledore die. (The Girl fled the movie theater when that happened, so tearful was she. It broke my heart.) Watching that movie is on our "To Do" list for the school vacation week.
As we prepare to embark upon the journey of the 784 pages that constitute Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, I'm likewise wondering how The Youngest Boy will perceive the darkness that saturates this final book, the long periods of despair and loneliness our fearless trio faces as they attempt to locate and destroy the remaining Horcruxes before Harry attempts to slay Voldemort.
For those of you who are keeping track at home -- or keeping tabs on my Harry Potter: Reading Out Loud Project page -- between The Spouse and I, we've read 3,395 pages of this series aloud to The Youngest Boy. Wonder if it'll take us another year to tackle the last installment.
Image credits: Amazon.