Sunday, April 13, 2008

Harry Potter (warning-spoilers!)

Linda and I finished reading the Harry Potter series, an altogether satisfying experience.
We read a chapter a day, alternating reading aloud to one another.
To show how satisfying an experiencing, we are now buying hardback copies. I want to read them again and they are books I would like to pass on to our grandchildren in a few years.
I am also listening to the various podcasts dedicated to Harry, Hermione and Ron.
There are a few observations that I have not heard elucidated on the podcasts or written on the Internet.
First, Jo Rowling (aka J.K.) is to be commended for introducing young people to the joys of reading. One way she has accomplished this is by advancing the reading level in each book.
Look at the first book and compare it with the style of the last book.
"Deathly Hallows" is definitely an adult book. Not adult as in dirty books, but adult as in the texture, the complexity of character, even the language.
In the first book, we are introduced to a little boy who learns he can converse with a snake.
In the last book, Harry is a grown man who slays an adult snake.
And, how great is the Epilogue! Harry even names one of his children after his hated teacher, Severus Snape!
There are all kinds of adult themes running through the "Hallows"!
One of the themes that is definitely NOT apparent is the homosexual orientation of Albus Dumbledore. Yet, Miss Rowlng told a gasping crowd that Dumbledore was homosexual. That may have been in her mind/notes from the beginning but it is NOT indicated in the books, IMHO.
The series will go down as one of the premiere literary works of the 21st century. J.K. Rowling will be remembered alongside Dickens and perhaps revered better than Tolkien.
Will there be more Potter stories? Of course!
They may flow from the pen of J. K. Rowling or as fan fiction, but they will come.
As a Christian, I am not offended by the witchcraft theme of the books, any more than I could be affected by the old TV show, "Bewtiched," or "The Munsters" or "The Addams Family," though all are inferior to the Potter chronicles.
From my perspective, Potter is all about the triumph of good over evil with themes of the cost of war, the value of friendship and loyalty and coming of age thrown in for good measure.
On Saturday, we bought hardcover copies of the first two books in the series at our local Books A Million store. The clerk asked if we were just beginning to read them.
I laughed to myself, no just getting ready to look a little deeper.