Harry Potter is the best selling series of books in history, and made its writer, J. K. Rowlings, a billionaire; absolutely amazing.

Of course, like most adults who were open minded enough to give it a try, I got into the series the wrong way. I started with book #5, rather than from the beginning, before I had seen the first movie; don’t ask me how that worked. Then I listened to book #3 and #4 before I saw the second movie, and then book #6 and, finally, book #7.

At that point I thought I was pretty knowledgeable about everything, but thought more about it and realized that there was no way I could have been, because in the last two books, there were names mentioned that I didn’t know. That’s disconcerting when you’re going along and suddenly get thrown by stuff the series assumes you already know.

I decided to start from the beginning, the first book, and work my way back through the entire series. Instead of reading them, I decided to listen to them, since I like listening to books on tape, or CD, while I’m driving. The reader of the books on tape, or CD, is named Jim Dale, and he’s a supreme reader, one of the best I’ve ever heard, as I listen to a lot of books on tape, as I’m on the road often.

I would recommend to anyone who really wants to see just how well these books were written, and what all the hubbub is about, should do the same thing. Yeah, the first book really is a lot of kid stuff, but after that, the books start touching upon some adult themes. You’ve just got to read this stuff; trust me here.

Here’s the thing. Rowling has done something that I don’t think anyone else has really done before. She has allowed us to not only watch these three main characters of Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ronald Weasley grow up over the course of each book, but she allowed all the other characters to develop as well, including the number one bad guy in the stories, Voldermort.

As she has given each character more and more depth, the stories have gotten longer, and yet, as strange as this might sound, it never seems like she’s giving us too much. I hated getting through the last book because I wanted more. I know she had to close the stories at that point because Harry Potter had gotten rid of the one guy that he was tied to, and unless she could figure out a way to bring him back, anything else he did would be anticlimactic.

I have to admit that I love these stories, and I love the movies as well. I can’t wait for the sixth movie to come out, and then the seventh as well. The books are very long, though; I wonder how the guys filming the movies will handle it all.

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