Sunday, July 22, 2007

Harry Potter 7

Whew. What a weekend! I've been hooked to Harry Potter since 1999 - when my then boyfriend (now husband) gifted me the first three books. I've wavered in my loyalties through books 5 and 6 in particular, because they just seemd like prologues to the real stuff, i.e. Book 7. And after all the hype, all the news and all the excitement, I hoped it wasn't going to be a letdown.

We had pre-ordered our copy from Fabmall but the kids woke us up at 5 am - not to read the book, they're too young, but JLT - and after that I couldn't get back to sleep. So I lay and brooded and brooded and brooded until by 8 am I couldn't stand it. "Can't wait for the postman", I yelled, and chivvied poor hubby, who'd been out late the previous night, into driving us down to the nearest Landmark to buy us a copy. While there, I also saw the kidebrity who's featured on HT Sunday's front page as the 7 year old who loves the HP books (whether they're suitable or not for a 7 year old is a whole other post).

Despite all our rushing, I could only seriously start reading around 1:30 as we were running around doing errands. I had to force myself to slow down despite the breathless pace of the book itself, as I really didn't want this book and therefore the series, to end.

When I put it down finally, I was in awe of the author - she's my pin-up idol, if I had one today. What is incredible is the little touches of whimsy which show a fantastically inventive brain at work - and once she names something, it seems so natural that one wonders why one never realised that before, e.g. goblins speaking gobbledegook, or the deluminator...She has created a wonderful world which is so real that one is a little dazed when one looks up from the book and sees our everyday world. She has borrowed from the classics, both ancient and modern, and made them so spectacularly her own, that a whole generation of children is likely to say - Doesn't this remind you of Harry Potter?, when they read the myths, rather than the other way around. And she has spun a phenomenon which reaches people across ages, cultures, countries and languages. It's not about the commercialisation of the book - people must have tried that and failed with several other books. But the reason why the commercial aspect of the Harry Potter franchise succeeds is because of the success of Harry Potter, rather than the other way around.
Children and adults in India, Russia, South America, Germany, the US and other parts of the globe overwhelmingly respond in the same way to her books ( I'm talking about the fans here). Seriously, when was the last time you saw so much excitement, so much participation or so much security around a book? When was the last time both parents and children fought among themselves to be the first to read a book or bought individual copies for each person in a house? When was the last time a book release made you so anxious you queued up outside the bookstore at 1 am or thereabouts to get your hands on a copy?
I think people should be thanking her, not only for writing this wonderful series, but for making it cool, in a world where pictures have started to mean more than a thousand words, for people to read more than a thousand words!

No comments: