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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Outside view: Bittersweet ending

The Spokesman-Review

The following editorial was published in the Tri-City Herald:

Here are some symptoms to watch out for today in children and adults alike:

Blood-shot eyes.

Excessive yawning.

A smug look that says they know something the rest of us don’t.

Be forewarned. Anyone who meets this description has probably finished the final Harry Potter book and may inadvertently give away the ending.

The long-awaited and much-anticipated conclusion to the Harry Potter story was released Saturday just after midnight. Never in literary history has more mania accompanied a book series.

Like the rest of the country, Tri-City bookstores and libraries planned Harry Potter parties and stayed open late to celebrate the release of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” the seventh and last book by J.K. Rowling that chronicles the story of a boy wizard and his fight against evil.

It’s amazing a book can cause so much frenzy.

The series started with “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” released in 1997. Since then, the six books published to date have collectively sold more than 325 million copies and been translated into more than 63 languages.

As for this latest book, publishers announced a record-breaking 12 million copies for the first print run in the United States alone, and it was released simultaneously in 93 countries. The success of the novels has made Rowling the highest-earning novelist in history.

So what is it that made Harry Potter such a phenomenon?

It’s hard to say. It’s the kind of topic college professors someday may very well end up discussing in their literature classes.

Regardless of why the books hold so much appeal, there is no denying Harry Potter has entrenched himself in the imaginations of both children and adults. Even people without kids are interested in his story.

It’s a children’s book that most children don’t outgrow.

Now the problem, of course, is that it’s over. For the last 10 years, people have had Harry Potter books to look forward to and now they don’t.

It feels a bit like Christmas morning after all the gifts have been opened – a bit sad that it’s over but satisfying all the same.

So here is a request for those of you who’ve finished the book already: Please keep the ending to yourselves.

Some of us want to savor the anticipation just a little bit longer.

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