Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Late in the Game

Allow me a moment to discuss something other than my true love, food. Recently I have started reading the Harry Potter series. For those of you who have been living in a cave (or in graduate school) for the last ten years, the Harry Potter books feature a young wizard named Harry Potter who has repeated encounters with the evil Dark wizard Lord Voldemort while attending Hogwarts, a school for wizards and witches. At the outset, I wasn't really interested in reading these books at all. I read mostly nonfiction; I rely on friends and family to recommend good fiction to me. Somehow all the fiction I pick out on my own ends up being chick lit, which, while fun, is also a bit grating since the characters tend to be shallow, neurotic, and insecure. I love nonfiction and I do enjoy good fiction, but I don't tend to enjoy the fantasy genre much. Case in point: I did not enjoy the recent Lord of the Rings movie trilogy. It was too long, too complicated, and frankly, I was bored.

I did not expect to enjoy Harry Potter since it is fantasy and it is written for young adults, not 25-year-old Ph.D. candidates. The first book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, was tolerable. The ending, however, was unexpectedly delightful. After that, I devoured the second book, and now I am reading the third book in the series, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Prisoner of Azkaban is actually very creepy and a little disturbing thus far! For me, though, the Harry Potter series is refreshing not because of all the magic but because the characters are so very human. Despite their supernatural abilities, they struggle with the same issues that baffle us Muggles: loyalty, goodness, selfishness, self-doubt, courage, fear, and hope. I like the characters and the relationships between them because they have qualities that make them believeable. I suspect I am not the only Harry Potter fan who feels this way.

It is rather enjoyable to become absorbed in Harry Potter's adventures now because there is just one final book that will be added to the series. This coincidental timing means that I can just keep reading without interruptions; I'm not stuck LONGING for the release of the latest Harry Potter book. My awesome friend Josh, who originally insisted I read the first book, has now loaned me his copies of the first three books, so I haven't even needed to visit the library to find the books! Cheers to life's little pleasures, including the fun, fantastical world of Harry Potter and friends.

And by the way, if I were a Harry Potter character, I would be the smart, book-loving know-it-all, Hermione. If I could be any character, I would be Hagrid, the generous, loyal, rough-around-the-edges giant with a heart of gold and a fondness for all creatures, great and small.

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