I now know I am not alone among thirty-somethings, who look forward excitedly to each new Harry Potter, and then feel something akin to a sense of loss upon finishing each book. I 'discovered' Harry in April, and since then have been waiting expectantly for book 4, which I read in just a few days (it would have been less, but my husband has started to feel a little neglected when Harry's around). This book did not seem to me to be any longer than the others, and it was just as enjoyable, if not moreso than all except perhaps book 3. I found it a gripping read, quite scary in places, although the sure knowledge that there are three more books to come, means that we can rest assured Harry will survive, and good will overcome evil.
JK Rowling's grip on her characters and the constant references to small details from the previous three books which help provide context and explanations as the stories unfold, are testimony to a brilliant mind in my view. Having read all four books now, like many other fans, I am eagerly awaiting the next book, and the one after that... I wonder do other readers feel like me, a sense of real friendhip with the three main characters? I really care what happens to them, and have even begun to hope fervently that Ron and Hermione are able to overcome their adolescent embarrassment and realise their true feelings for each other! Is there any hope for me? I have no children yet, but one on the way in February, and, boy or girl, I will be reading Harry Potter to them as soon as they are old enough to understand and enjoy as much as I do.