What was your emotional reaction upon the completion of the world's largest selling movie franchise in history?
There's a universal human phenomenon out there: we love a good story. It is the story that communicates the depths of human experience to us. It makes us, as Chesterton so ably points out in Orthodoxy, feel like normal people in an extraordinary world. There's interesting literary analysis out there as to why Harry Potter is one of the best of stories, and I wholeheartedly recommend it.
But this isn't that blog post. Lots of people have analyzed the sublime content that makes up the Harry Potter narrative. I want to discuss something more simple than that. It's this: when big things that enrapture us end, we feel a little disappointed that it's over.
Admit it. When you finished reading The Deathly Hallows, whenever that may have been, you were a little sad. You enjoyed the journey. You couldn't sleep or eat those last 300 pages. You were a part of the story as if you were there. And because your whole world revolved around these characters for a few days (I know of no one who read The Deathly Hallows over a period of weeks), the bottom dropped out on you, and you were somber for a few days. Don't get me wrong: you were thrilled Harry vanquished the evil foe. But you were enthralled when you were reading it. When the reading stopped, so seemingly did your life for a second.
Then the movies came out, closely following behind the release of the final few books. And the movies were good too. And now you've seen the final film. And now there's nothing left. Now there's nothing left to look forward to. It's all over. Your world is no longer intertwined with Harry's.
I think it's this univeral human fiction which has given rise to so much fan fiction; people never want the story to end so they continue to write more of the story.
Isn't this interesting? It's like we're designed for an amazing story but an earthly consummation of the story seems less fulfilling. But what if there were a consummation that made the entire journey worth it, and the goodness never ended? What if we felt a part of the entire story and had a stake in its ending? What if, could it possibly be, the ending was better than the journey? Would we have any language that could possibly come close to describing such a thing?
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.
Revelation 21:1-7, NIV