Below are sample publications. Within these links you will find three national award winning articles, one Idaho Press Club award winning article and a link that lists all publication titles. Enjoy!

My Journey with Harry Potter

A local columnist reflects on her impressions of the final book in the seven-book series

Author: Mary Keating

For:  Family Living Magazine

Date:  August/September 2007

            775 words        

People hurriedly stuff fingers in their ears. Strangers whisper to each other as they glance around checking for ease droppers. And, muffled lalalala, shhhhhhhs and uhums can be heard around nearly every corner.

Beyond the many strange vocal noises and even odder non-verbal gestures, people are reporting record number of individuals sitting everywhere with merely the tops of their heads visible. This has become more pronounced as faces push their noses deeper and deeper in the pages.

Many have spotted the flash of the gold binding and witnessed a light olive green cover as it slinks out from under arms and struggles to free itself from purses and backpacks.

Phrases have taken on a similar air. ‘Yes, I’m done” or “Don’t say anything I am only…” or “I know someone who…” is spewing out of mouths all over town. I’ve even heard people call those who are not involved in this strange phenomena, ‘too muggle to understand.’

As for me, I fortunately finished the final book on Sunday the 22nd. And, I gladly take my well-earned spot along with the millions who have successfully journeyed with Harry, Hermione and Ron and felt the strange silence as they hung on the last word and closed the final cover of Book Seven.

It is not so much the overwhelming love for Harry and his harrowing adventures for me as it is the story’s strong thematic tones and rich, spellbinding fairytale environment. They reach into the heart, the mind and collective consciousness of its readers.

By series end, four definite themes emerge: love, knowledge, choices, and, of course, death.

The first and most pronounced theme is love, for it was the love of Harry’s mother that kept him alive that fateful night when he first encountered He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. Harry then had to learn to love himself. This love guided him to both trust and love others and, in turn, be guided by those with whom he loved.

Whether it is love or understanding, Harry had to realize the importance of loving and treating people the same, even those who may be perceived beneath him for “every human life is worth the same, and worth saving.”

The second theme is clearly knowledge. The quest for knowledge is the power that fuels the main thrust of all the adventures. Harry, Hermione and Ron had to seek certain knowledge to help them save the sorcerer’s stone, maneuver the chamber of secrets, emerge safe from the tri-wizard tournament, create Dumbledore’s army, learn about the half-blood prince and unearth the secrets of the hocuses and the deathly hallows.

The third theme revolves around our individual choices. Harry has to make many choices and choose many paths. He has to pick and choose what to believe, who to follow and what to do with both his knowledge and his increasing power.

And, of course, the last and final theme is death. As readers, we all anxiously awaited the final fate of the characters. And by books end, readers understand the characters are often personified by their own perceptions of death.

JK Rowling perhaps states the theme most clearly in chapter 22. “The Boy Who Lived remains a symbol of everything for which we are fighting: the triumph of good, the power of innocence, the need to keep resisting.”

It is not just the belief in Hogwarts and its much loved and much hated characters, it is a belief that life is truly about more than material and earthly goods and power. It is more; the notions of friendship, love, innocence and justice are worth dying for. Harry is, in the purest sense, a hero who can love, who can learn and even when faced with death, can be a champion with a pure heart and an untainted soul.

For parents, it is important to realize that children younger than 8 or 9 may need help comprehending not only the extraordinary experiences, but uncovering the multi-layered themes carefully woven throughout the seven books.

Now that the series has ended, I am sad. I wish I could begin again with the same innocence I had when I began Book One, or perhaps not.  I realize it would have been an entirely different journey had I grown up with Harry like many middle school children. He has given each reader a moral compass that will continue, I hope, to be a guide and a friend throughout our lives.

And I hope, that those who find the story engaging will consider reading the books before seeing the movies. Many of the thematic elements are not clearly evident on the big screen.

And in the end, all was well.