I wouldn’t be sitting here blogging away on a Saturday night, if it weren’t for Harry Potter. It’s fashionable to be cynical about the boy wizard, but I don’t see why we should be. If you don’t like him, or have any interest in that direction; then just leave him and his fans alone.
Harry didn’t start me off on either reading or on reading children’s books. I was already doing both. He just set something quite different in motion. I’m not the same, and neither is the rest of the book world. I’m sure lots of books I’ve enjoyed since, would not have been written without Harry.
There was one of the normal sneering articles about him in the Guardian this week. At first I thought the article writer was yet another with opinions formed after very little contact with Harry. Then it turned out she had actually read all the books, and more than once. And she had seen the films. But now she had grown out of Harry Potter.
He’s not an affliction we need to get better from.
I was trying to think back over the last twelve or thirteen years, to understand why Harry Potter has been so good. Apart from the obvious comments one can make about his immense popularity and the wealth he made for J K Rowling, I believe it’s the companionship and the friendships in the books, which make them special. That, and the moral fibre in turning your wizard’s sleeves up in order to do something for the greater good. Not just for a date with someone you fancy. Or better exam results, or a dog.
We’ve still got the orange t-shirt and vest we bought for the night of book seven. There are a lot of things we would never have done had it not been for Harry. And it’s not as if J K simply had money thrown at her by accident. She actually sat down and wrote all those books. It’s a not inconsiderable achievement, unlike the buying of a lottery ticket.
Harry Potter has given me a lot of pleasure. There will be other enjoyable books, but there will never be another Harry. It’s like first impressions. You can’t have a second shot at it.