It's Harry James Potter's golden birthday today, turning 31 on the 31st of July, and my thoughts have been with him quite often lately. I know he's a fictional character; I know all of his friends are fiction; and I never had any doubt that the world in which they live, with magic and Hogwarts and mystical creatures, is fiction. But I still consider Harry and his compatriots some of my good friends.
(On a sidenote, I always thought it strange that those kids who grew up reading Harry Potter would be really excited for their eleventh birthday just in case they got a letter from Hogwarts. Letters don't come on birthdays. They come in July. Sheesh, and they call themselves fans!)
It's also author J.K. Rowling's birthday today, which is cool I guess. She created the world and I certainly do love it. The complexity of the characters prompted me to ask my own questions about what their lives would be like, what thoughts we could imagine going through their heads because of the way they act, the kind of people they are "off-page." And I guess it's no secret that I've tried to answer those questions myself. I've been pretty involved in Harry Potter fanfiction in my day. (And whatever. Back when I first started I didn't know there was such a thing and I don't care that it's dumb, lazy, or whatever other pejorative people use to malign the art. I call it practice, and proof of my abiding love. Or something.) Being involved with that also got me some pretty cool friends that I still keep in touch with to this day. Love of the books, of the characters, carries across a broad spectrum.
With the advent of the final movie, and this upcoming birthday, I've spent a little time wondering just why I feel so strongly about these kids. It's not like these are the only great books and great characters I've met lately. (Be sure to come back tomorrow to see what books I read in July.) And you know what? I don't have an answer. Maybe I met them at the right point for them to live in my brain (I was in 7th grade, for what it's worth). Maybe I identify with the characters more than I do others (I, like many other girls in similar situations, was convinced I was Hermione for a long time. Until Hermione became her own character in my mind, which is much more pleasant!). Or maybe I have to obsess over something, and this world has the complexity to keep my interest.
All I know is, after having maybe watched Half Blood Prince and skipping the first half of Deathly Hallows, I cried shamelessly through much of DH pt. 2. Not because the movie was so awesome (I dunno, it was fine) but because seeing it on screen helped me play it out in my mind again, with my characters (I've always been ambivalent about the casting in the movies), feeling the way they must have felt, remembering that these were real
Point being, Harry Potter is awesome. The books are better than the movies, and I think I need to read them again, if only for gems like these:
Harry suddenly turned to Ron.Ah yes, so much to make rereading worthwhile.
"Charlie," he said.
"You're losing it, too," said Ron. "I'm Ron, remember?"
(Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Chapter 14, "Norbert the Norwegian Ridgeback")
Title Text: "Radio"