Defending the 12th century since the 14th; blogging since the 21st.

Catholicism, Conservatism, the Middle Ages, Opera, and Historical and Literary Objets d'Art blogged by a suburban dad who teaches law and writes stuff.

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Who was Cacciaguida? See Dante's PARADISO, Cantos XV, XVI, & XVII.

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Sunday, May 13, 2007
My first Harry Potter post in quite a while

I'll blog from London if I can; that will depend on whether I can get access to a computer.

Meantime, I haven't forgotten that we're moving into the biggest two-month run-up in the history of Harry Potterdom. While the Journal predicts a bursting bubble for the world of para-Potter publishing, I'm not so sure. Compare Tolkien: (a) we still read Lord of the Rings; (b) new books are still published about it; and (c) de-facto-new Tolkien books are still published as fast as Christopher Tolkien can "edit" them. Unless you think Pottermania has been driven exclusively by suspense over how it will end, these books will enter the fantasy canon -- and more importantly, as with Tolkien, they will be in that part of the fantasy canon that is loved by people who aren't full-time fantasy fans.

That said, summer of '07 will surely be unique in Potter history, with the release of the final book, preceded by the movie of OoTP.

Here's a question: To what extent, if at all, do you think prospects of future sales, and future generations of readers, will turn out to have influenced the ending? I mean, if Frodo had died in Mount Doom, even if the Ring had also been destroyed, that might have been a downer that would have dampened the books' popularity. J.K. surely doesn't need the future income, but she might want those future readers.

What say? Would a downer ending dampen future readership? If Harry or Hermione buys it (two of the worst outcomes I can think of), does the public stop buying it? Or is the series ending-proof? Does/should J.K. care?

(N.B. One of the best-regarded books on Wagner's RING cycle is called Finding an Ending. Apparently Wagner considered different ones.)