For a few weeks now, in every possible stolen moment, and to the thundering neglect of housework, exercise, and sometimes even of sleep, with a decades old irritation now expertly squelched at the interruptions of my reading, I have been reading the ubiquitous Harry Potter books. All seven have been published. There's now no wait between volumes for the reader, you see. I piled up all the candies into one pile, and I'm eating them all at one go.
And now I am nearly done with book seven, and I can't help myself. I must say it. Ms. Rowling, modern, living now, has taken the centuries of all the folklore and heroism and danger and ideals of loyalty and love and honor of all the tribes and peoples of the heathenish and Christianized British isles, and she has told the old story to us. The characters are real in the best sense of the word. The settings are visual and visceral and emotional. The chain of events and the explanations of the old magic and the connections between eras and peoples and fortunes - it all rings true. She's done it! Ms. Rowling has done it.
Did you think the days of the Story were gone for good and for aye? Did you think we could put the generations of listeners and bards behind us forever and use them as movie sets, huddled around fires in the wilderness? It's not true. God bless J. K. Rowling - and whoever the fortunate person was who must've read to her as a child.
From Beowulf to C. S. Lewis and his Inkling friend the great Tolkein, and from Picts and Scots to St. Joseph of Armithea and Simon Stock, the Story has survived. It lives. Harry Potter's story is the Story. And no one could be more surprised than I am to find it out.