Mark Reads Harry Potter...A Love Letter.
Posted 22 August 2010 - 06:34 PM
Remember the first time you read Harry Potter? When you thought: "Oh. A children's book. Ok." Maybe you had never heard of it, or maybe it was already so hyped you felt almost predisposed to dislike it...because something that popular was bound to be a let down. And you read the first chapter, and you thought, well this ok, I'll probably finish it. And then you found yourself reading about Diagon Alley, and even though you were fifteen, or twenty-six, or forty-two...you held your breath a little bit as Harry careened through an underground bank with goblins, and when he went to Ollivander's, you felt a pang of something that can only be described as envy. And you actually sat up in your bed while you read about what is undoubtedly the most exciting game of chess in the history of literature. And then you stared at page for several minutes, feeling completely baffled as you took in the words: "It was Quirrel." Because you couldn't quite conceive it...you got turned on your head. And the next thing you knew you were tearing through The Chamber of Secret's, annoyed by a character called Dobby, because you didn't know yet...how you were going to feel about him...that you were going to weep for him. And then you felt heartsick, that everyone got to go to Hogsmeade, and Harry had to stay in the castle all on his own, like you yourself had been banned from the prom. And then you felt betrayed, when the Rat that you yourself had felt a passing affection for, turned out to be the worst kind of traitor, and you were angrier still because his actions this time sent Harry back to those awful Dursley's when he had been so close...so close to freedom, and to family. Remember? When we thought the worst that could happen was Harry having to spend the summer with his Aunt and Uncle?
And remember the time when we all went wizard camping? Because by then we sort of forgot it wasn't real, and thought that we ourselves were watching the world cup, then running in fear, then standing in confusion while an elf got clothes and we weren't quite sure what had happened. And do you remember reading the scene where Harry and Ron do their Divination homework? I just really like that part. And do you remember Cedric? How reading one little sentence: "Kill the spare.", took you beyond scary, and into something terrifying and tragic...and how your stomach hurt every time you thought about it for months afterward. And remember how after that book, we had to wait for THREE YEARS to find out what Snape was doing and how Harry was going to cope, and what the hell the Order of the Phoenix was? So we all jumped online and theorized and complained and read SO. MUCH. FANFICTION. (Seeking Ginny...holla!) And remember the angst? Oh the angst. The profound depression of grief, and social injustice, and oppression, combined with the ordinary hell that is fifteen. Remember Harry destroying Dumbledore's office, and how you simultaneously wanted to make him stop, and at the same time join in? And how about Luna, talking to Harry after Sirius had died, when Harry was his weakest and most vulnerable, and frankly so were you...and how she knew the words to ease our hearts, in the magic way that those who have lived through tragedy so often do.
Remember how even though Voldemort was finally out in the open, in so many ways the Half Blood Prince was a breath of air after book five? It was the eye of the storm, to give us a rest for what was to come. And remember when it came? When Dumbledore fell from the tower, and in the course of one page you felt like you had been untethered from something, because for the first time no one was safe, and how in the world were we going to make it now? And remember the Phoenix? Remember when you realized that hope rises from the deepest sorrows, even from death itself. And remember the journey you took with your three best friends to destroy the broken pieces of Voldemort's soul? And how when Ron left, you were overcome by something that can only be described as homesick, even though you were sitting in your living room. And how you felt your heart break in half when Percy finally told a joke...and his brother fell, still laughing.
And remember when Harry realized? What he was...what he had to do...? Do you remember that walk through the forrest? Do you remember when the spirits of his mother and fathers...all three of them...walked with him? Do you remember putting down the book, because you couldn't see through your tears? Because that image, that message struck you to your very heart. That even when we are lost, when we are frightened, when we are walking to our doom, and when we are our most alone...we are not alone. You are not alone. You are walking with the love of your family and your friends and all those who have gone before you, and it surrounds you even though you cannot see it. Do you remember Mrs. Weasley taking down Bellatrix Lestrange who even Sirius could not defeat? Because in all this world there really is nothing that can beat a mother's love. Do you remember Harry offering Tom Riddle a chance even at the very last? That's our boy.
Do you remember? Well, I write all this because there is this guy, who is reading it all for the first time, and he's reviewing the whole experience chapter by chapter, and you guys? It's like reading it for the first time. I didn't intend for this to be very long, just a link to anyone who may still inhabit this little corner of the interweb...but somehow it turned into a love letter to Harry Potter. And honestly? I'm ok with that. This isn't the most important series of all time, there are books out there of philosophy and scripture that are deeper, far more profound. But the truth is, there is nothing else like this. It brought millions of people into agreement on one thing. We became obsessed with it because it was creative and it was magical...but also because it spoke to something deep inside. It told truths like violence and hate will fracture us, and poison us, and turn us into vile creatures. And that Love is the thing that unifies us, cleanses us, saves us. It was all of that, and it was more...it was fun. So anyway...keep on keepin' on Hidden tower, and if you have a minute, go read Mark Read's Harry Potter.You can thank me later.
Posted 25 September 2010 - 12:49 PM
"Don't you have a conscience? If Jiminy Cricket was here, he'd be puking in his hat."
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