Ten Years ago...
The seventh and final book of the Harry Potter saga, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, was the most anticipated book release in...ever.
We all knew the story to that point. The series J.K. Rowling gave to the world was epic, and truly spectacular. We also know that the whole thing came to her in a flash of inspiration, one that occurred before the chronological end of the series.
As a teenager who'd been mildly obsessed with the series since the first book had come out (I'd read every entry to that point at least 20 times), I was thrilled when it finally was in my hands. I tore through it on that first day, wondering how the puzzle the first six books had set up would all end up fitting together...
Here's the problem: The puzzle didn't fit. It felt as though someone had taken pieces from a different puzzle and forced them onto the one we'd been so looking forward to completing.
I don't say this lightly. I've since re-read the series several times, if not as frequently as I once did, and with each time through I've found more problems with the seventh installment. Be they outright contradictions, loops of illogic, or the crux of the story coming down to the newly-minted (and heavily discredited in previous books) concept of wand logic, rather than the promise of Love proving to be the most powerful magic of all...
The thought struck me: Maybe that initial flash of inspiration J.K. Rowling had so many years before didn't give her the whole story. Maybe the last part, the seventh part, she didn't have, and the frantic desire of the world to have that final installment forced her to put out this version, a large chunk of the puzzle that didn't quite fit.
Back when the seventh book first came out, I, in the anger of youth, tried to redo it, and stopped part of the way through. I was too inexperienced, too raw.
Now, though, I've grown to become a writer capable of taking on the challenge. I've worked out every piece of the puzzle that is the series, looked at it from every angle. I've had ten years to figure out what that dang gleam in Dumbledore's eye in Goblet of Fire meant, although I've known all along how the final confrontation would play out...how it had to play out.
So here it is, released in full on September 1st, 2017, the date of the Epilogue, Nineteen Years Later.
I'll leave it to each reader to determine which end of the story they prefer. This is, after all, no more than an alternate take, the way one dedicated fan thought the story truly ended. But I am sure of one thing: With this ending, all the pieces to the puzzle of the series as a whole are a perfect fit.