After much protesting, whining, and bribing, Ane has become a confirmed Harry Potter fan.

Was it only a few months ago that I struck a deal with her to let me read the first five chapters of the first book to her, and see what she thought?  She then watched the corresponding part of the first movie, and was officially hooked.

We are now halfway through book four, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.  This girl, my night owl, is actually getting herself ready for bed BEFORE her brothers and going to bed EARLY in hopes of getting two chapters in a night.

Because I read all the books to the Webmaster while he was unemployed in 2009, we can switch reading duties between the boys and Ane – because there are some nights when Ane really wants her Dad, and Tad only wants his Mama.

But here is my current dilemma – do we stop after book 4?

The subject material gets heavier – people start dying, after all – and while Ane is not a squeamish or over-sensitive kid, I’m hesitant that she won’t understand as much of the story as she would in a year or two.  I know that she can handle the darker side of the story – after all, this is the same kid who watches Anakin light on fire in Star Wars Episode III without flinching, and then watched Raiders of the Lost Ark without any problems.  The opening of the Ark scene?  No issues.  Ane completely believes that God can melt your face off if He’s mad enough.

But while I’m concerned that she won’t understand the story completely, I know that there are many, many kids her age out there who have seen the movies and will spoil the story for her, given the chance.  We are insisting that she read each book first before she sees the corresponding movie, but the only movie she’s seen is the first one (still waiting for the second one from the library).  She’s a sharp cookie and can tell when movies don’t accurately reflect the books.

And she’s going to want to keep reading the books.  We might be able to slip a different story in between books, but I know that she’s going to keep asking when she can read the next book.

So… any opinions out there, especially you who have read the books?  What do you think we should do?

5 Responses to “Potterpalooza”

  1. Ressis
    November 9th, 2011 05:13

    First off, I’m shocked you let your kids watch “Episode III” and “Raiders” at all! And “Goblet of Fire” has death in it too, though not as much and not core characters like the the last three books. I was an adult when I started the series, and I cried over something reading books Four through Seven. In fact when I told you I’d just finished “Half-blood Prince” you asked me if I needed a hug.

    I do agree that Ane could handle the intensity of the later books, but I also agree that the full impact of what goes on could be lost on her. Yet I have to wonder: is that a good thing? Kids get exposed to so much adult subject matter, more than we ever want them to. I do believe that most kids in Western society are over-exposed to violence. It desensitizes them, and I don’t want that for my kids. Kids will learn about death and violence soon enough, I don’t think parents should be the ones to progress it.

    So, no, I don’t think you should move onto Book Five quite yet. Ane isn’t even eight-years-old yet. As much I love the Harry Potter series, keep in mind Harry’s own age in each book (Book Four he was 14, Book Five he was 15, and so on). I’m not saying you have to wait until Ane’s fifteen to move on, she’d be furious with me for that, but right now she’s only half Harry’s age in the book. Wait as long as possible, like you said, a year or two. And if you wait that long, you could always reread the first four books to refresh her memory. There are lots of fun, age-appropriate books out there. Don’t let her grow up too fast.

  2. Lisa
    November 9th, 2011 08:23

    We just went to re-see (is that even a word?) Deathly Hallows Part 2 and I thought of you and Ane while we were there. The hubby and I had a conversation while waiting for the movie to start about how dark the series becomes with each book. It causes this exact challenge too, now that the books are all out. Kids don’t get older while reading since you don’t have to wait for the next book.

    Having the ending spoiled by her peers would suck (and is likely to happen), but they would probably only spoil the big parts. There are many, many subplots and character developments that go on that are much more subtle. I have read the entire series many times (as well as seen all the movies multiple times) and I get new stuff every time I go through.

    Not that I have a suggestion as to which one, but what about starting another series that will also grab her attention? You might be able to slip a few more books in there that way before returning to Potter.

  3. Oddball
    November 9th, 2011 08:51

    First of all I concur with Ressis (and not just because we are married). I think the adult themes that Book five really gets into (not just death), the complications of romance, the way the Death Dealers operate, etc I think would be lost on her because they are things that are just beyond any kid Ane’s age.

    I say let her grow up a bit more then move onto the latter Harry Potter books. I think she will enjoy the books much more when she understands the more adult themes.

    My vote is wait until you do not have to consistently explain what is going on, why people are doing this, etc.

  4. Doc
    November 9th, 2011 09:56

    I’m going to wait at least another 6 months to a year before moving into book 5 for Head and Brain. Of course, part of it is that Head is getting caught up because I really don’t want to have to read both aloud twice. I originally wanted the boys to be Harry’s age when they read each book, but that’s a little too restrictive. I could see the signs that Book 4 was getting a little ahead of Brain: he totally missed all the Ron jealousy stuff. That said, I see books 5-7 being kind of on the same level so we may move through them pretty fast once we get to them. Honestly, Book 7 with its stark contrasts and evil empire type stuff is possibly easier to read for a younger child — although the body count is higher, I think when you’re reading that’s different than a movie.

    As for spoilers, they already know thanks to a LEGO quiz ad what happens at the end of Book 6 (!! stupid LEGO ad !!) (the Simpsons had a great bit on this BTW) and, well, Brain also already knows about the aliens who appear suddenly at the end of Book 7. 🙂

  5. Auntie
    November 9th, 2011 18:16

    Hey! Chamber of Secrets the movie scared me! I thought a snake was going to come out of the pipes and make me frozen! so i was scared of going to the bathroom, showering and other things involving bathrooms! And I was in the third grade! So other than that she is braver than me… I got nothing! Oh did I mention I couldn’t sleep?? Poor mom and dad!