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We enjoy stories more when we know the ending.

You might remember where you were on July 19, 2007. In New York City, it was sunny and cool, with a scattering of popcorn clouds sweeping overhead. Most importantly, it was a Thursday—two days before the official release of the final Harry Potter book. And yet, on every newsstand that morning was a New York Times book review titled, “An Epic Showdown as Harry Potter Is Initiated Into Adulthood.”

By the fifth paragraph, readers were told, among other spoilers, that half a dozen beloved characters died, that a war had begun, that Voldemort’s followers breached the walls of Hogwarts and that Harry and Voldemort fought.

  • Words:
    Ben Shattuck
  • Photograph:
    Claire Benoist / The Licensing Project

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  • Words:
    Ben Shattuck
  • Photograph:
    Claire Benoist / The Licensing Project
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