In my last blog post I listed some things I'm passionate about and asked which of those things ya'll would like to hear about. The first vote was for "What made me fall so head over heels in love with the Harry Potter books." (BTW--I think what I'll do is label these "passion posts" and put them up maybe once a week for a while. Sound good?)
So here goes....
The first should be obvious. If you've read anything I've ever written, you know I love the idea of magic. And "adolescent boy discovers he's really a wizard" is absolutely a recipe for success with me.
The Britishness of the writing. I don't mean to say all British writers sound the same or anything, but pick up just about any book by a British author and you see similarities. No, I'm not talking about spelling "color" as "colour," nor do I mean the use of words like "Mum" and "mental." Honestly, I don't know exactly how to put it. Something about the way British humor (humour?) works its way in, even in the darkest moment, and without being intrusive. Americans simply can't pull it off. The British just have a certain tilt with which they see the world.
The train. I simply adore trains. The old-fashioned kind, like the Hogwarts Express. The kind of train you see in Back to the Future III, and Wild Wild West, and the new Sherlock Holmes movie. All wood and big red engine and clackety-clack. My family went on a train trip one time, and it was so not like that. New trains are more like airplanes or buses. My husband did take me on one of those "mystery dinner" trains once, and it was close in feel, but the scenery out the window left a lot to be desired.
The scenery. Okay, so maybe that's for the movies. But the movies did help me fall even more in love with the books. Rolling green hills. The giant forest trees. I am seriously dying to visit Scotland now.
Mystery. I mentioned the mystery dinner train. My husband took me on that because I love mysteries. And at its heart, Harry Potter is a mystery as well as fantasy. (BTW, I think of Finding Angel the same way.) The standard mystery novel rarely holds my attention. After reading a few of them, I've gotten tired of the "whodunit" meaning "who killed the victim." Harry Potter gave us a mystery about someone trying to become immortal. All the sleuth-ness, but no body count.
Hermione Granger. Smart and she knows it. Strong, but she doesn't know it. She learns, though. And watching her do so is grand. I adore the way she really runs the show. I read a blog post not long ago (can't remember where, sorry!) written by someone who claims Hermione is the real Main Character, and that JK Rowling is just slick and sneaky and brilliant by giving her a "side role" to fool us into thinking she's not.
Snape. Do I even have to elaborate on this one???
The castle. I simply love castles, even more so than trains. The stone, the stairways, the secret passages...and add to it the magic...I want to live there. I just really, really want to live there.
The creatures. I love her use of mythical creatures, and how she combines traditional ones and original ones, and takes liberties with her use of both. Like house elves are much like traditional brownies, and the resident werewolf is lovable.
Let's dig a little deeper....
The intricacy. This, I think, is actually what I love the most. Harry Potter is plotted so deeply, so intricately. We writers talk about "plot threads." JK Rowling weaves a tapestry of such beauty and detail. The way the tiniest reference in book two will show its significance in, say, book five or six, or even seven! And all the books are filled with such links! I could spend hours, days, weeks, months, just analyzing how it's all plotted out and where this refers to that and ties these two (or more) things together. So subtle, so brilliant.
The symbolism. I truly do not understand how anyone (that means Christians, folks) can not see the Christian symbolism in the Harry Potter books. It goes so much farther than good vs. evil. And there are more obvious symbols and more subtle symbols, and they are everywhere. Every. Where. There is an awesome book that addresses this whole thing: Looking for God in Harry Potter by John Granger. Go buy it, read it, then come back to me.
OK, do I need to add more? Hm, I think that's a pretty good list. I'm sure I could go on (and on and on), but a blog post should be only so big :P.
So my fellow HP fans, do these ring true with any of you?