I made it to Chapter 31 of Order of the Phoenix, when Harry dreams about Voldemort holding Sirius captive.
That was about two weeks ago.
I had some family come in to visit, and I've been using that as an excuse not to go on. "I don't have time to read" and "I want to get through it all at once, have some time to process" and "I need some space to mourn."
Of course, now that my family is gone, and I no longer have those excuses, I find myself still unwilling to start that next chapter. Even right now. I'm literally writing this at close to 1am just so I can tell myself I don't have time to start listening to audio now.
Though I haven't read the books before, I do -unfortunately- know what's coming. I thought it wouldn't bother me this much, but the truth is that Order of the Phoenix has wrought some serious havoc with my emotions already! And with other spoilers I know that are coming down the line, I feel a bit like I'm on the brink of that chasm that divides the Harry Potter series from middle grade to YA. I'm not sure I want to be here yet.
In truth, I'm not ready to say goodbye. I fell in love with Sirius harder than I expected but, aside from that, I've fallen in love with ALL of these characters harder than I expected. Way harder. And I know, from this point on, things get worse -far, far worse- before they ever get better. I'm going to miss those merry days when Harry could solve the problem with a little help from his friends and Dumbledore.
So I'm putting it off. Do you know how long it's been since I put off finishing a book because of emotional turmoil? Dudes, it's been a looooong time. It's kind of nice. And horrible. All at once.
And that's where the other hand comes in. Even as I dread continuing on -despite knowing that the ending is evidently good- I do crave that depth I anticipate the darker, more complicated and frustrated final books will likely bring. Up to this point, I do feel J.K. Rowling has been clever and satisfactory in her work and I want to know if I think she pulls it off to the end. It's just getting to the end that I know will cause me strife.
I can't put it off any longer.
It's time to say goodbye.