HARRY POTTER….For all of you planning to wait in line for the latest installment of Harry Potter tonight, the Wall Street Journal provides this handy graphic that measures the rise of Potter-mania over the years.

Obviously 2000 was the year that Harry Potter really took off, which seems about right to me. I recall that Marian got me a copy of Sorcerer’s Stone for Christmas that year, and eventually we picked up the rest of the series too. I liked the first few books pretty well, though eventually I got a little weary of their length. There’s just not enough action to sustain 800 pages, after all, and it’s not as if there’s a lot of heavy duty character development that demands that kind of word count either. If L. Frank Baum didn’t need 800 pages, I don’t know why J.K. Rowling does.

On the bright side, at least Rowling apparently learned a lesson that Tom Clancy never figured out. The chart on the right, exclusive to this blog, demonstrates the steadily increasing page count of the Potter books, which peaked with the opthomologically disastrous Order of the Phoenix and has now finally begun receding. Perhaps the seventh and last installment can be kept to a svelte 500 pages?

Maybe. But what happens after the final book is published, anyway? As the Journal laconically notes, Scholastic Books “will need to seek alternate revenue sources after the seventh and final book in the series is released.” Good luck with that.

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