“Withdrawal, also known as withdrawal syndrome, refers to the characteristic signs and symptoms that appear when a drug that causes physical dependence is regularly used for a long time and then suddenly discontinued or decreased in dosage. The term can also, less formally, refer to symptoms that appear after discontinuing a drug or other substance (unable to cause true physical dependence) that one has become psychologically dependent upon.” (Wikipedia)
Would someone like to edit this Wikipedia entry to include symptoms that appear after finishing the final Harry Potter book? My last entry focused on blogging addiction, but this is something else entirely. The Sultan set aside his entire weekend to listen to the HP audiobook (17 CDs). He holed himself up in his office with his laptop CD player until late Saturday night, slept briefly, and then got up Sunday to do more of the same, without watching “Meet the Press” (without any TV at all, which is unbelievable in itself), without talking on the phone, without eating, except for a few bowls of cereal, and most amazingly, without pestering me every few minutes with the number of views on his blog. Thank God he finished the novel (approximately 22 hours total listening) by Sunday night though or he would not have made it to work on Monday!
A little background here: He began his journey into the wizarding world about the time the first Harry Potter movie was released on cable. After the second movie came out and he was enthralled with that, I picked up the first three books for him to read. As a librarian, I like to help others discover the joy of reading books. I had no idea what I was setting myself up for! Not only did he love the books, he read them over and over again, and wouldn’t shut up about them. I had not yet read the books, and complained that he was ruining the experience for me by discussing them so much. So I had to do a little speed reading prior to the third movie’s release in the theatre, which we attended on opening night (at midnight) along with a flock of robed and bespectacled children. I think I fell asleep during that screening — I must have been exhausted from all that catch-up reading.
Since then, I have been trailing him on every book, unable to put my entire life on hold for several days at a time. And since he’s been ahead of me the whole time, he’s made a practice of hovering over me while I read to see how much I’ve completed. It’s been so annoying, I waited at least a year to read the fifth and sixth books, and even then, he kept monitoring my progress (despite my protests) and asking random trivia questions and whether I had gotten to this or that part yet, etc. It got to the point where I had to place my bookmark several chapters in advance to throw him off (yes, he actually was checking when I wasn’t looking). Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I’m not into the whole Harry Potter scene — I do enjoy the series very much — in fact, I think J. K. Rowling is a genius in that she has borrowed a lot of terminology and some principles of real-life magical traditions and blended it with an intricate and sophisticated plot to create a wonderful fantasy that teaches important life lessons to people of all ages. And I’ve enjoyed all of the movies too. But I’m just a fan, not a fanatic.
Fast forward to the present: While he was listening to the audiobook this weekend, I had to argue with him to turn the volume down so that I wouldn’t hear it throughout the house. I also had to declare, quite emphatically, that I did not want to hear a peep out of him about what happens until I’ve had a chance to read the book. When he finished it Sunday night, I could tell he was practically bursting at the seams to reveal all to me, but he honored my request. Thank you, Sultan. And then, last night, upon realizing that he would probably not make it through one week of silence, let alone a few months, I asked him if he wanted to talk about it. He did. And now, once again, he will not shut up! He is actually talking about possible sequels, even though the end of the story was much more satisfying than the last episode of “The Sopranos.” I guess he, like so many others, just doesn’t want it to end. Some people think the best way to eliminate a habit or addiction is to replace it with some other habit. I do know that feeling upon finishing a great book of wanting to keep on reading, but what I’ve always done is to pick up another book right away and start over. So if you have any suggestions on what he should read next to help ease the Harry Potter withdrawal symptoms, let me know. But please hurry — before he starts blogging himself, and me, to death.