H = Harry Potter (A-Z Challenge)

Harry Potter did not get me into reading. The books did not reinvent the way I looked at things. My love of the English culture and reading were not rekindled through the books. All of these things existed long before I ever picked up the first book. I was an adult when I read the first, and since I have not perfected the sought-after art of successfully reversing time, I was an adult when I read every last one and when I saw all the movies. But this in no way diminishes my love for the whole Harry Potter universe.

After reading the first book I was terribly charmed but thought it was a little on the kiddie side (though some of the dangers at the school were hazardous as hell). I didn’t read another book until after watching Prisoner of Azkaban about 15 times (I may be a Harry Potter pariah for saying this, but I think overall I like the movie more than the book — certain plot elements worked better in the movie, though I hate that certain things were omitted). The dam broke then. I read books two through six (the latter of which had just come out in hardcover), bought all the books in hardcover, and had become a rabid fan in time for the fourth movie.

I cannot praise this series enough. It is very much a coming of age story, the world is larger than life, the problems (love, bullying, unfair authority figures, etc.) are very real and things we deal with in everyday life. It was epic and vast while still being relatable. There was fantasy, it took you away, but it was something you could feel almost every part of. Epic fantasy usually involves huge wars for power with warring countries duking it out for control over resources or religious differences. Those are great, no doubt about it. But there’s something about the Harry Potter universe which is fantastic but so relatable.

Who hasn’t dealt with Snape or Umbridge, whether it be a parent, teacher, or boss? Essentially, they are people in power who abuse it. Young, old, middle aged, male, female, privileged, poverty stricken — it doesn’t matter. We’ve ALL been treated poorly by someone whose position should have dictated tact rather than aggression, or understanding rather than blind dogma.

Then there’s the humor. Sweet Merlin, the Weasley twins alone could make a person pee enough to be considered a sprinkler of incontinence. What about emotion. Who didn’t care about these people? When JK Rowling turned into a murder-happy wench in the last book, who wasn’t upset? When there was love, who didn’t feel with them?

The books are humorous, enchanting (no pun intended), loving, angering, rewarding, infuriating, happy, and wonderful. As a writer-ish, it gave me aspirations. The chances of any writer accomplishing what Rowling has are slim-to-non-existent, and that’s okay. It’s the aim and happiness that come with it. One of my dearest friends / critique partners and I decided to write a fan fiction about a billion years ago. We both wanted to write, it was pure fun, we were working at unpleasant jobs, and going through tough times, and this helped us. Not only that, but it helped me as a writer. Somewhere in there I stopped (poorly) emulating Rowling’s voice and found my own again, just as I was beginning to doubt that I had one anymore. I’m still finding that voice, and while we haven’t touched the fan fiction in years and years, I still go back and read it. It was nothing but fun and games and a way to insert ourselves (quite cleverly, I might add) into the Harry Potter world.

As aspiring writers, it was a way to practice our trades and to have fun doing it without the pressure of needing to be “serious”. The final page count of our first of three planned installments is staggering and an attestation to just how much fun it was. From Easy Weasley (Ginny), to Peeves, to a lecherous twenty-something trapped in the body of a plump first-year, to tying strips of toilet paper in Draco’s braided hair, to Trelawney actually being competent, to our characters inserting themselves in the world, the whole experience — every last sentence — was nothing but fun. I learned more than I thought I could, and don’t see it as time wasted. Now that I am published and have two things out of there of my own, though they are less original than what happens in my head every day (more safe, essentially), I can look back and see that writing this, that Harry Potter himself, has shaped me as a writer, has shown me what I can do, taught me to have fun with everything I write, and gave me my voice back. For that and the countless hours of enjoyment the Harry Potter books and movies have given me, I can’t possibly be thankful enough.

Alternate letter considerations: There were no other considerations, actually. And I don’t think I have done the subject matter justice here…but how could I?

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~ by Darren Endymion on May 9, 2014.

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