The end of an era
Ahh, Harry Potter. Why do you mean so much to so many people?
Seven books. Eight movies. Countless children (and adults) who have grown up with a world of butterbeer and quidditch.
There’s something in these stories that touches each one of us. Whether you’re the nerdy Hermione (ahem, me) or the fiercely loyal Ron or even the oft-befuddled Neville Longbottom.
At the same time, we all identify a bit with Harry. With someone who goes unnoticed but is actually quite special. We want to be special – we want to be unique and necessary.
Sometimes, I get a bit, well… pissed when someone dismisses these stories simply as ‘children’s stories.’ As if that makes them any less remarkable.
These stories capture the transition from child to adult. The growth, the awkwardness, the challenge of realizing your purpose in the world. In that fleeting period between youth and adulthood, there is fresh hope – hope that you can stride out into the world and shape it into a good and beautiful place. Hope that you can help, that you can heal, that you can save.
Every time I open one of Rowling’s novels or watch one of the films, Platform Nine and Three Quarters inevitably transports me to that period of fresh hope and I remember when I stood on the border of youth, one foot in the safe shore of home and one foot in the ocean of life’s potential.
More than one critic has granted Rowling’s stories the condescending label of ‘derivative.’
My immediate response is ‘derivative of what? Blinding success?’
But after some thought, I realize they’re right. These stories are derivative.
They are derived from the innate desire for good to triumph over evil, for friends to grow up and still be friends (imagine that!), for loyalty, for compassion, and of course, for the happy ending.
And Lord knows, we could all use a few more happy endings.
As the final movie opens, a chapter closes. A wonderful, satisfying chapter.
But that doesn’t mean there won’t be a new and better chapter…
I look forward to the day that when I can share these stories with my kids. When we can open the cover and dive into the world of the ‘boy who lived.’