Post the Eighth - Harry Potter Explained
I’ve decided to write a blog every day for the next seven days. What inspired me? None other than Wheezy Waiter.
Wheezy Waiter is a YouTube vlogger who is sort of insane and obsessed with inside jokes, but he makes me laugh out loud on a regular basis, and I think his humour is really clever. He also posts a video every single week day. That’s a lot of videos and requires him to be super creative, or else he’d have absolutely nothing to vlog about.
But aside from the fact that I think he’s really funny, he also talks about setting goals - whether arbitrary or not - and just accomplishing them. He decided a while ago to make a video every day, just because, and he ended up getting really good at video filming and editing. As such, he got a job with his film skills and could finally quit his job as waiter. As for me: I feel like I’m lacking purpose lately, no direction or demands on me, so I’m going to start setting demands for myself. Starting with this blog thing.
I’m not sure what I hope to accomplish by posting a blog every day this week, but we’ll see. It never hurts to set goals for yourself to learn some self-discipline. Maybe that’s my goal: to learn self discipline. Goodness knows I’d rather be watching episodes of Ace of Cakes online right now, but blog instead do I.
I want to talk about something near and dear to my heart, and something I’ve had a hard time articulating. Today, I try to cross that threshold.
Why I Like Harry Potter: An essay by Jillz
From the moment my English teacher in grade seven cracked the spine of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, I was hooked. (Actually, that’s a lie; a guy in my class who had caused me mild annoyance and occasional frustration throughout the entirety of elementary school had already read the first three Harry Potter books, which were the only ones released up to this point in history. He was a bit of nerd [and not the good kind who are actually kind of cool], and he had the chapter titles memorized. Memorized! So he would announce out loud the names of the chapters as the teacher read, and that annoyed me.) As she read on, I became smitten with the characters and the story, and decided I needed to read the rest of the series. But I was a child who was particularly drawn to serial literature, and my adoration was mostly because I don’t like endings and I want a character’s life to continue indefinitely. It wasn’t until maybe book 5, Order of the Phoenix, that I really fell in love with the books.
One thing I’ve learned about my reading style is that I’m drawn to writing more so than story. A good story can hook anybody in, but often I’ll choose a book based on the style of narrative as opposed to the content. Take Julian Barnes: he’s kind of a boring story-teller, but man can he write. Ditto for John Green and Ian McEwan. I also don’t really like science fiction or fantasy. I couldn’t, and still to this day, can’t read The Lord of the Rings. I can’t latch onto the story because I can’t relate. Hobbits and trolls and dwarves are not things I’ve experienced or can imagine easily, and therefore I can’t connect with it.
By the time the fourth book, Goblet of Fire, came out, I was hooked. I spent the two days after I got it lying on my couch devouring the story. I was depressed when it was over, because a) I couldn’t be a part of their world in real life, and b) I couldn’t continue the tale until the next book came out. I think it was the first time I really, really loved a book, or a series. It was the first time I felt like I had become a part of the story and it was the first time I realized the complete power of books to wrap their words around your soul and drag you into a narrative that otherwise you’d never have experienced.
Harry Potter is brilliant on so many levels. The story is intricate and complicated and constantly leaves you rooting for the good guys, even when they’re terrible human beings. I think this is why Order of the Phoenix is necessary. It allows the series to transition to a more serious, dark and adult series. Up until book 5, Harry is this nice, likable hero, but when he turns 15 he just cracks and goes nuts. He becomes broody and angry and angsty everything that teens should be and, in fact, are. The story becomes so real, and because the wizard world and the “muggle” world so often intersect, the ability to imagine yourself as a part of this narrative becomes so much easier.
On top of the great story of strength, love, perseverance, acceptance, and honour (and really, what’s more important to write about?), the writing is fantastic. I realized how amazing J.K. Rowling was at stringing words into sentences in the third book, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (and, also, my favourite of the series). In one scene, Harry is hiding under a table, eavesdropping on a conversation he’s not supposed to hear. At the end, the speakers all stand up to leave; except, Rowling doesn’t write that they stood up. She writes: “One by one, the pairs of feet in front of Harry took the weight of their owners once more; hems of cloaks swung into sight and Madam Rosmerta’s glittering heels disappeared behind the bar.” It’s almost poetic, really.
I’m not into the merchandise associated with the Harry Potter franchise. Yeah, I think wands are fun and I like my time-turner because it’s a nod to a series that has really moved me. But I could do without the movies and the branding of Harry Potter. I could do without the Disney World theme park and I don't want to own a cloak. The books I fell in love with look very different in my mind, and the movies erase a lot of the magic about the books, which lies in the writing and the emotional dynamics that can’t be caught on film. It makes me sad to think that there is an entire generation of children who’ll never read Harry Potter without picturing Daniel Radcliffe.
Anyway, to round out this post, I thought I’d link one of my favourite Wheezy Waiter videos. Enjoy!
See you tomorrow,