A Harry Potter question

current book: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Since I started reading the HP books, I’ve told friends about them, suggesting that they read them. And quite a few of them have said to me, “Oh yeah, I read a little of that, but I couldn’t get into it. I would have loved it when I was ten, though!”

This puzzles me. Am I so weird to like Harry Potter when I’m pushing 40? These are books about a group of kids in school, granted, but the books have a lot of adult subject matter–murders, emotional depths, moral quandaries, adult characters ensconced in rivalries, politics, and ambition.

This is not Walt Disney cartoon stuff. Or am I wrong? It’s been a long time since I watched any Disney cartoons. Maybe I’m reliving my childhood through the books, but it doesn’t feel that way. And I seriously doubt a ten-year old would get half of what is going on in these books, much less make it through the two-inch “Goblet of Fire”. The Harry Potter world is complex, both in its metaphysics and in the plot; even I have to go back and reread things a few times before I get what’s going on, if I do.

The books remind me a lot of BtVS and what I found appealing in that show–which is a show that drew in adults by the hoard, including some of the people who “never got into” HP because it’s too “juvenile”. And more than a few adults got that same reaction about watching BtVS: “Oh, I don’t like shows about teenagers.”

Just another one of life’s trivial puzzles I’m trying to sort through.

Deep thoughts on “Prisoner of Azkaban” coming soon.

My demon

Taking inspiration from the always inspirational aliera9916, I have my own quotage to share:

“Writing a book is a long, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.”  ~ George Orwell

I have long thought of the main character of my novel as my muse, and probably it is the case that I have multiple muses, and they are always my characters. But to think of the urge to write as a demon is an interesting stroke of insight. For what could “possess” me to sit at my computer for hours a day, pounding on they keyboard like my little icon demonstrates? I always thought it was my characters, begging to have their stories told, giving me no peace until their voices were heard.

But what but a demon could force you to work for not months but years, neglecting the rest of life’s other pains and pleasures?

This demon is an incessant need to put words on a page, on a screen, spewing them out like a scream, like vomit, like one of those really, really long urinations you have after you’ve been forced to “hold it” for hours after drinking way too much coffee.

Oh, ho, get your metaphors and similes here.

The Metaphysics of Harry Potter

OK, I’m half way through “Chamber of Secrets” and, yes, I’ll admit it: I am now a fan.

But is this a surprise? Not to me. The books are better than the movies, charming and entertaining and almost a perfect fit for the kind of fiction I look for: sci-fi or fantasy that takes place in our world, but reveals a secret segment of our world no ordinary person knows about (BtVS/Angel and Highlander are both like this). And it’s a series, so that when I get that “so what happened next?” bug I can just pick up the next book. Or wait for the next book. And of course, I like books with complicated teen-aged protagonists/heroes. Don’t ask me why. Connor Angel, John Connor, Luke Skywalker, Buffy Summers, Richie Ryan, Harry Potter.

Rowling has created a rich complex sub-culture/universe that, only half-way into the second book, rivals a full 11 seasons of BtVS and Angel. To crawl around in this woman’s mind! I knew I was merrily in fandom land when I found myself looking for Harry Potter websites that resembled the Metaphysics section of my own ATPoBtVS. If I hadn’t come across a clever and decent little reference site on my first search, I would have had to wrestle my inner metaphysician to the ground to keep her from starting a new website, All Things Philosophical in… well, you know.

I came to Harry Potter through the movies, so that might make me sympathetic to the movies, but I actually find it fascinating to compare the books and the movies. I’m the sort of person who enjoys the writer’s and director’s commentaries on movie and television show DVDs almost more than the original piece. It’s interesting to see where the movie-makers cut corners, what they decide to chop out, what they decide to keep, and where they decide to make events go completely differently than the books in order to save time and resources.

But this is why the written word will never be replaced by film. The written word can go more places, and people are willing to give it more time than they’ll sit through a film.

Rowling has given a fresh face to classic fantasy themes: the unwanted child, discovering a magical new world right under your nose, good versus evil, the mundane/poor/outsider kids vs. the popular/rich/insider kids, secret passageways, mystical animals, bubbling potions, spells, rituals, monsters, super powers, and the panged, panged pains of childhood/adolescence.

Now I will just have to find a way to deal with the fact that I like something that is immensely…. dare I use the word? Ugh!


shudders Instead of people staring oddly at the front cover of the book I am reading on the bus, they smile nostalgically. I am not used to this. I’m so used to doing what comes naturally to me and finding myself the odd girl out.