Okay, so as of today I am about half way through Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (yay!). I’ve been reading Harry Potter non-stop since mid January and I’m finding it not as easy as I thought it would be. I mean, I FLEW through these books when they first came out. I’m pretty sure I devoured each one within 24 hours of the midnight release.
It has me thinking, why aren’t these books as good as I remember them being?
I think I have the answer.
I’m not the same person I was when I started reading them. I’ve grown-up and began reading other things. My approach to fiction is no long strictly for pleasure – now I look at how the story is crafted, what the writer did to make the characters memorable, how they drove the plot. I look at things like an academic. Has that ruined Harry Potter for me? (Because at the way I’m starting to sound you might think so). But no. I still love the books.
I have such great memories with these books. When I settled down to start Goblet, I remembered being 14(ish) and the outfits my mom made me and my best friend. I remember waiting in line in our costumes and running out to the car as soon as the books were in our hands. I remember my best friend sitting on the bottom bunk (several pages ahead of me because she’s a faster reader) while I sat in a beanbag chair on the floor – her giggling at Pig the owl when I was stil pages away. I remember being enchanted by these books and the characters. I wasn’t thinking of the balance of magic or the plot structure.
Sure, now I am a bit annoyed with the world-building of the HP series. Look at LeGuin’s stuff for example. Magic is all about balance. You use magic to make your ship go faster (by calling up the wind) and you’ve created a hurricane someplace else. That makes sense. This whole wand motions and incantations is fun to read about – but still, it’s not the artful magic in other places.
HOWEVER having said all of that stuff up there, there is something indescribable about these books. Was it that they were just written at the right time for the right audience? I don’t think so. If that was the case than it wouldn’t be the world-wide sensation the books were. I mean, how many books are there that have not just launched an 8 movie series but also a theme park?
Yeah, I’m drawing a blank too.
So, there is something magic about them. They speak to all ages in all countries. And this is something that I hope you all will ponder with me as I keep up my project. Over the next few weeks I’ll be posting some Harry Potter Reflections posts where I look at different aspects of the series. Will any of them shine light onto my paper topic? Maybe. You’ll just have to read and find out.