Monday, 18 August 2014

There's something about Harry Potter. (I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.)

Before I get started, I want to talk about some plots of Harry Potter that span over the entire series. So, if you haven't read them all and you intend to at some stage, PLEASE don't read this blog post.

My HP Story
I have to say Harry and I flirted a bit in my teenage years. It wasn't serious. I don't like fantasy, I don't like magic, supernatural themes literally make my head hurt and tingle (check in with Stephen if you don't believe me). I couldn't decide if HP and his gang were leading the way for witchcraft and satanism to become cool and mainstream. I ate a lot of Chocolate Frogs though. Om nom nom frogs.

Just before I finished uni my brother Matt told me I had to read HP if I was going to teach children. He had some convincing arguments and so I took the first few books home and read them like a crazy mad woman until I finished the last book. I knew about the epilogue 19 Years Later, so I knew that a few of my faves would make it. Then I bought all the movies. Then I read all the books AGAIN. Then I married Hars, AKA Harry AKA Stephen. I'm not sure how he looks like Harry, but whatever, I can roll with that. I am the Urban Dictionary certified Potterhead.

Here's some of my thoughts about HP. Question or comments, hit me up.

I ship Harry and Hermione 
Yes, I am one of those Harmony people and have been since 2002. Why? They just make more sense. But if you take 19 years later as canon (which, IMHO it is), everyone becomes one big family. Which they are already.

I really like the Dursleys
This was always my favourite chapter in the book. The Dursleys are such fun characters to read about and as it is pointed out the the book, the character building that comes from living with these people really makes Harry a better person. As the books develop, Harry becomes frustrating, shouty and arrogant. If he had been brought up in the wizarding world we would expect a lot more of that.

Cho Chang, you break my heart
Oh Cho.
There's a lot of heartache in these books, but to me Cho is one of the saddest characters Rowling writes of. You want to like her, but you just feel to gosh darn sad to be able to do anything with her other than feel... well, sad.

I solemnly swear I am up to no good
Everyone loves the Weasley twins and as a literary device they work well. Not only are they smart and humourous, but they only give away information at a time when it is completely necessary.

The Weasley twins are also encouraging as so often we hear about adults in the Wizarding World doing something, but we are told step-by-step how the boys make it in the world. Carrot wands - so fun!

I don't know how cliched Snape's character is, but I think the whole story line is so complex that you couldn't accuse JK of this.

There are so many things I love about Snape. I love that Ron blames everything on Snape at every possible moment. I love that Snape is still upset with his tormentors from school. I love that Snape still loves Lily even tough it was perfectly clear she did not love him back. I love that Snape makes

Harry look into his eyes while he's dying because Harry and Lily have the same eyes. *tear*
There are things to hate about Snape. He is nasty. He cannot move past his memories to show any kindness to Harry. He really only loves Lily and begs for her, and begrudgingly her family, to stay alive.

What I like most about Snape though is that he is incredibly clever. He works both sides incredibly
well and that we never really know whether Snape belonged to us or the Death Eaters until the very end.

Dumbledore is one of my favourite people.

I like him because he is flawed, he is old and wise and because he comes up with great quips. Dumbledore brings great hope. When he cries about not making Harry a prefect, you really want to give him a cuddle, while, at the same time, being so very angry that Harry's been led like a lamb to the slaughter.

Dumbledore knew what to say and how to say it.

Not my daughter, you bitch!
This is one of my favourite lines ever.
Because Mrs Weasley is a lot of things. She's cranky, two faced, kind and thoughtlessly thoughtful. She gives Harry presents at Christmas.

But, if anything, Mrs Weasley is a Momma Bear above all else. She is feisty and loving in a time when the world is literally crumbling around her. This scene encapsulates all that is good about Mrs Weasley.

Mrs Weasley is also over protective of Harry. She is the mother figure in his life and treats Harry like one of her sons (but, well, she is much nicer to him than her boys, let's me honest). Without Mrs Weasley, Harry would probably still be standing at King's Cross Station, wondering how to get on the Hogwarts Express.

Sirius is such a tortured soul. JK's characters are mostly made up of people with a flaw or two. What I love most about Sirius is that he would do anything for his godson. He is the best godfather ever. My favourite line about Sirius is from the Deathly Hallows: [Harry] seemed set on course to become just as reckless a godfather to Teddy Lupin as Sirius Black had been to him.

Of all the deaths in HP, and there are a lot of them, my heart broke most when Sirius had passed. I was okay until Harry discovered the special magic mirror, which he could have used at any time to talk with Sirius, but now it was too late.

The saddest scene, excluding Snape
Although it covers this in the book, the very hardest scene for me to watch in the film was when Hermione has to erase herself from her parents memories. We can only assume she went back to rescue her parents from the charms cast on them to make them happy living as dentists in Australia.

The 'sappy' (sad but happy) scene that always makes me cry
Although Hagrid is one of my favourite characters, the thing he does in the first book captures my heart some completely that he can never top it, no matter how kind he is in future books. Hagrid writes to James and Lily's friends to create a family photo album for Harry to have a way to remember his parents. I find all of this incredible and moving beyond words.

Dumbledore's Army
I think the creation of the DA is one of the best plot devices ever. It's even better than an Enid Blyton midnight feast.

Neville used to drive me batty. But if I am like anyone in HP, I'd probably be a Neville, except I wouldn't have a toad as a pet. Neville tries so hard and in the end he is the strongest character in the book. HP fans (or Potterheads as we liked to be called) often point to the fact that Neville and Harry could have both been the boy mentioned in the prophesy, though there is enough evidence suggesting it really could have only been Harry.

Neville's family is even more interesting than the Weasleys, and that says a lot. His Gran is fierce and rarely proud of Neville, except for when he really deserves it. When Neville pockets his gum wrapper present from his Mum, my heart breaks just a little more each time. But, Neville is also lucky that his Gran is so supportive of his passion for the cause.

A world you can't help but enter
I say this from the point of view of someone who never moved beyond the Magic Faraway Tree in terms of reading fantasy: I really like the Wizarding World created in the Harry Potter books. I like that we are introduced to it at the same time as Harry. That it's okay that we know the same amount about this world as our hero, Harry, and that as he learns, so do we. I like that it is a book series that grows with you and makes you think. I even like the prickly characters. I like Harry. A lot.

Harry Potter has made me laugh, but more importantly, made me cry. It's a series which is really based on love and death. There is a lot of fan art out there about things people have learnt from reading Harry Potter, but mostly, what I have learnt is that every book contains a world, and HP is one of those few worlds where you are invited in and expected to stay until the very end.

All was well.