Saturday, January 12, 2013

Harry Potter and Me.

Harry Potter has overtaken my house. My son and his mother have engaged in a Harry Potter marathon during this, his last week at home for quite a while. Between shopping and packing they have been watching all the movies. Since Pam was just six chapters shy of having finished reading the last book, Patrick insisted that she turn off the final movie at the exact point at which she had stopped reading. Now they are sitting on the sofa downstairs staring blankly off into space listening to a skilled actor read the last six chapters. Pam has a box of tissues on her lap. All activity has ceased, even Molly is still and silent, probably too scared to even pass gas.

I had forgotten what an amazing work is the Harry Potter series. It will be read by generations of kids to come. When my kids inform their kids that they waited in line at midnight at Barnes & Noble every time a new book in the series was released, they will stare in wonder and ask, “Mom, what’s a book? And why did you have to wait in line, and what is a barnes and noble?”

What I remember most about the Harry Potter phenomenon, sadly, was the uproar it ignited in the Christian community, at least my corner of it. We knew many parents who were horrified by the books, thought that they were satanic, glorified the occult and were aimed at nothing less than the possession of our children’s minds, and if our kids were allowed to read them they would become lifelong slaves to Lucifer. With those kinds of accusations flying about, my contrarian, rebellious nature insisted upon giving them a try. I don’t remember all the details, but the first time I discovered the books was on a drive to Maine, or Nags Head, or something. As I drove, Pam read the book. I took maybe fifteen minutes to discover that this was indeed no ordinary “ children’s book”. This was beautiful writing, filled with wit and crackling with imagination. Yes, the story centered around magic, but as far as I could tell, it was chocked full of big themes of right and wrong, courage and friendship, and even good and evil, with clear delineation between the two. Plus, it was great fun.

It was the very first time that Patrick showed any interest in a book. Now, as an adult, he loves reading. Kaitlin was overwhelmed with the stories, and the Harry Potter books played no small part in her adult love of literature and the pursuit of discovery it has produced in her. For this, I suppose I have J. K. Rowling to thank. So far, neither Kaitlin nor Patrick have succumbed to the full time service of Satan. Fingers crossed.