Harry Potter and Fantasy’s Death: Lent in Casablanca, Night 34

For a long time, I was always in the middle of reading the Harry Potter series.  Oh, mostly I read other books–lots of them–but between “other” books, I was somewhere in the world of Hogwarts and Diagon Alley.  I tried to imagine where i’d fit in.

I’d have been in Ravenclaw, would’ve made illicit performance enhancing drugs in potions lab (drugs I’d have sold to Slytherins and Gryffindors alike), I’d have thought the Weasley twins were hilarious, kinda liked Ron, had a nerd crush on Hermione, dated Luna, and I would have thought Harry Potter was a whining drama queen.

Something happened, and I’m no longer a constant visitor to that world. The thing that happened?

The Millenium Trilogy.

At a few stages in my journeys, I’ve worked as a journalist. Granted, I wasn’t chasing the Wennerströms of the world–I was writing film and music reviews, and anchoring rip-and-read FM morning show news–but I’ve been in a newsroom. I’ve never been to a magic school.

So now, instead of a world of magic and adventure, I’m always in the middle of the trilogy, which is about as whimsical and fun as the Book of Leviticus.
But it’s a familiar world, sort of like Casablanca.

One result of my Casablanca immersion has been that I can inhabit that world independent of the story. I’ve enjoyed writing other people into that world.

Casablanca, this world entirely created on a Warner Brothers soundstage exists as a touchstone, locked forever in December 1941. While I’m not glamorous, and mine is a world of colors, Casablanca deals with actual humans under extraordinary circumstances. Ugarte had no protective spells to cast to save his ass; nobody had incantations to make Sam’s hands at least come close to matching his piano’s notes. These were real people whom real bullets could fell.

Same in the world of Salander and Blomquist.

I’ve been reading The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. On my day off, I finished Tattoo, and popped in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.  At some point, I fell asleep. As good a story as it is, as beautifully adapted a film, I couldn’t relate anymore.

I’ll get back to that world in time. It was a lot of fun. In the meantime, I’m just waiting for a flesh-and-blood German major to get shot by a Muggle cooler than Harry Potter could ever be.

(Sorry this is brief and lame, but–I swear–I had to reattach three buttons to the DorkFone’s keypad. Being a Cracker muggle, and unable to muster a permanent sticking charm, I used duct tape. 😉 )


10 Responses to “Harry Potter and Fantasy’s Death: Lent in Casablanca, Night 34”

  1. I’m sure I must be the last literate person in the US to have read the Stieg Larsson books, but I finally cracked open “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” It took a while to latch on, but by page 100 I was hooked and unable to put it down. Now I’m torn between wanting to buy the next book, or to patiently wait until it’s my turn to read the library’s copy.

    As for Harry Potter, I read the first three books. I enjoyed them, but I just couldn’t join the fan club. Maybe it was the insane way the fans behaved just at the mention of Harry Potter: I saw adults and children dressed in conical hats and capes pushing each other out of the way at the local B&N when ‘Half Blood Prince’ came out. Maybe it was because I became conscious of the strings and pulleys working in the background that made me believe Harry Potter had become less a beloved literary character and more of a marketing ploy. Anyway, there may come rainy day when I am pent up in a cabin with only Harry Potter to read, and I’ll finish the series and maybe even enjoy it. But happily that hasn’t happened yet. 😉

    • HG — for me, JKR did an excellent job of maturing the books as she matured the students in them, taking on more subtlety and complex-character. As I told Tom, I liked them without *loving* them — and appreciate them for good work. For me, I was close to not-moving-forward with them in the middle of the series, but the fourth book (Goblet of Fire) had a moment that made me continue. Worthwhile — though I doubt it will change your life.

      • I take literature very seriously, but sadly, few books actually changed my life. Which might be a good thing, given one of my favorite novels is Madame Bovary. 😉

        I’ll borrow the remaining books from my daughters, who are huge fans of the Harry Potter series. Curiously, my son the daredevil bike enthusiast and mechanic, never took to them. Even when he was little, he preferred reading about classic cars, old airplanes and dinosaurs. If Harry Potter had engineered a turbo-charged broom, maybe he would have been more interested.

    • I had the same experience with Dragon Tattoo. I was reading along, and it was almost tedious, with all this background geneaology and Swedish names (Burman or Bjurman?) and the SMACK I got hooked. I can’t explain it, but I got hooked.

      What Steve Betz said is very true. The HP books do mature quite a bit as they progress. it wasn’t even subtle, really: book 4 was nearly twice as long as book 3, and noticably darker. Well written.

      I hate all the hype, too. The only thing worse was that I ended up liking these books more than many of the hype-followers.

  2. I very much appreciate what JK Rowling was able to create, both from a writing and film standpoint, but I never immersed myself in the world the way I had in others — I liked the stories, but they didn’t *mean* as much to me.

    • I agree with you: the books and their adaptations were well done. JKR created an interesting world unlike anything i’d ever read. That wasn’t because these worlds hadn’t been created, of course, just that I’d never stumbled upon them.

      You might like The Dresden Files novels, or The Nightside series. Much darker and more adult, while being quite funny.

  3. I’ve never read either HP or The Girl With… I suppose I’m allergic to hype? I have been told I would most definitely be in Slytherin.

    I’m all excited about getting a new episode of Doctor Who this weekend, the same day as in Britain! It’s far too warm to wear my ridiculously long scarf in honor of #4, and anyway, we’re up to #11.

    • #4 was spectacular. Tom Baker. I think I read somewhere that the scarf was his idea. Brilliant idea, either way.

      In a perfect world, somebody would license “allergic to hype” from you, then market t-shirts, keyrings, bumper stickers, maybe even a Facebook page, where millions could “Like” it and join, and not one of the idiots who made you rich would understand the sad irony.

      (If you act on my advice, please spiff me 10% of the profits)
      (And my t-shirt size is Hagrid)

    • And you probably would be in Slytherin, but I’m sure you and I would work together on clandestine stuff to undermine and wreak havoc.

      • Clandestine = no hype. 😉

        (Also, try singing “allergic to hype” to the tune of “Addicted To Love”. Also ironic, but catchy.)

        Apparently the Beeb hired some little old lady to make a long colorful scarf, but she used ALL the yarn she was given instead of picking and choosing. But Baker, being so eccentric, thought it was marvelous and wore it.

        Not being Hagridian, I have a 3/4 scale scarf. It got use when we lived in Denver.

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