Deathly Endings

Reading the end of Harry Potter at the end of life

Photo by Roland Lösslein on Unsplash

My dad and I both enjoyed reading The Harry Potter series of books. If you have read them, you understand. If you haven’t, where have you been? (I’m not going to address the author’s transphobic comments in recent years. I acknowledge it is a problem. And, I still love the story.)

By the time the last book hit the shelves, my father was very close to the end of his life. He had lung cancer, but he was officially diagnosed very late in the game. On another day I will write about that. This is going to be a shorter post about the end of the Harry Potter series.

Daddy must have been in more pain than any of us realized. I know this because of what he did when I brought him Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Hubby and I had pre-ordered it so that it would be delivered to our door on the date of release. Each of us had read the novel. When I was visiting Mom and Dad in their home one day I mentioned it. Dad said he hadn’t read it. Hadn’t even bought it. The next time I came to see him, I brought the book with me, all 607 pages of it.

He came into the living room while I was there. It was just he and I sitting in there for a bit. He didn’t stay up long in those final days. I handed him the book. I was certain he would be excited to see it.

Dad sat on the edge of the sofa. I sat in the floor close to him. He asked me about the novel. I told him a little bit — in general terms. I didn’t want to ruin anything for him. I was certain that this book would bring him great joy over the next week as he read every single word.

Instead, I watched in horror as Daddy flipped to the back of the book and read the end of the entire story of Harry Potter without reading the other 605 pages. I was flabbergasted.

“Why did you do that?”

“I wanted to know how it ends.”

“But you didn’t read the whole book! How could you do that?”

Dad frustratingly explained to me that he couldn’t concentrate enough to read that entire novel.

“I would have read it to you, Dad.”

He called my name which was a clue that I was pushing him too far. He simply told me again that he didn’t have the patience for all that. It was clear to me then that it was about pain. Of course he wanted to know how good would overcome evil in the Wizarding World, so he skipped to the end and read it because concentrating on so many words while he was in so much pain was beyond what was possible.

Dad died a week later. And though I was appalled that he would skip to the end of a book, I’m glad that before he died he read these words: “The scar had not pained Harry for 19 years. All was well.”

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In no particular order: Writer, pastor, Mama Bear, LGBTQ+ ally, wife, preacher, watcher of TV, seeker, mystic want-to-be

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T. H. McClung, she/her(s)

T. H. McClung, she/her(s)

In no particular order: Writer, pastor, Mama Bear, LGBTQ+ ally, wife, preacher, watcher of TV, seeker, mystic want-to-be

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