Friday, August 3, 2007

Kiddie Lit

I have kept up with the Harry Potter series over the years and admit that I have quite enjoyed them. I have a strong affinity for children’s and young adult literature and sometimes even wish that I had taken a few courses in it in college and graduate school to better appreciate its place in literary history. Fantasy series that draw on the imagination and call for a bit of thinking like C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia or Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time books were among my favorites and had I been born a couple of decades later, I’m sure that I would have treasured Harry Potter. In fact, there are several great series out there today that Harry Potter aficionados may enjoy such as Angie Sage’s Septimus Heap books (Magyk, Flyte and Physik) or Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy—Pullman’s are wonderful, imaginative, intelligent books.

What I have enjoyed about J.K. Rowling is that while her characters go through amazing trials and tribulations, and have first hand experience with ugly, adult matters of death and loss, they remain unspoiled by their experiences and, though not naïve, retain their youthful innocence and vigor. These are kids having fun, enjoying and relying on one another’s company, even when they have to muster up every drop of courage in their young bodies to face hideous obstacles. And wouldn’t it be fun to be a kid at Hogwart’s? Rowling has an impressive—and smart—faculty of imagination and a great gift for coining terms for her inventions. I can’t imagine any of her creatures, spells, potions or curses having more apt names, abilities or consequences. I think that her world of witches and wizards is so convincing precisely because of this skill.

The seventh and final Potter book did not disappoint me. Like the others, I nearly finished it in one sitting, staying up all hours of the night to find out what would happen next. I was pleased with how she ended the series: she explained the puzzling actions of Dumbledore and Snape, worked out the mysterious connection between Harry and Voldemort and strengthened the bonds between her hero and his two great friends Ron and Hermione. We learn more about the psychology of these three as they mature into responsible adults. There are hints of love, inner turmoil, self doubt, concern for the greater good. My only complaint—and I’ve discussed this with my brother—is that the Deathly Hallows, supposedly a central aspect of this book if we are to believe the title, receive only peripheral attention. I can’t quite say that they were an afterthought, but I was a bit disappointed that their importance was not more fleshed out. A minor complaint in this otherwise exciting, satisfying read. And the epilogue certainly opens the door for a next generation of Hogwart’s fans. Although Rowling may have meant it when she said that there would be no more Harry Potter books, there is certainly room for a next generation!

So who is your favorite HP character? I’ve always liked Ron Weasley. Poor old Ron lives in the shadow of his best friend and just can’t seem to live up to his standard. How can you not find him endearing. I also have a particular fondness for redheads, having married one! Apparently, though, I have more in common with Hermione. I suppose it’s not too far-fetched since I was slightly nerdy and awkward until I got contacts and grew up a bit.

By the way, in this post, I learned that the sorting hat would put me in Ravenclaw. How about you?

What Harry Potter Character are You?

Hermione Granger

You are a smart and intelligent person. You use your smarts to help out friends. You can be emotional at times but you always seem to be in the mood to help someone out.

Personality Test Results

Click Here to Take This Quiz

Quizzes and Personality Tests


Megan said...

I took the quiz and wound up as Harry!!! I'll take that.

Megan said...

I suppose that you, your husband and I could pass for the infamous trio next Halloween??? If the baby is here by then, I could dress him up as Hedwig, or maybe Buckbeak. Larry could probably pass for Hagrid. Now, that would be a good time. We should plan it!

By the way, I loved the book. I thought it rocked.

Jonny said...

Yet another example of the absurdity and inaccuracy of internet quizzes. To paraphrase: You are Harry Potter. You are an outgoing leader. Though I do in fact wear glasses...

Kelly said...

You know, Megan, that does sound like a good time! If only I could get Karri to tease my hair like she did once for Tacky Party...that would make my Hermione a bit more convincing.

Now Jonny, you always have been stubbornly literal. The absurdity is fun, though not necessarily inaccurate. Remember Erasmus's paradox: beneath folly there is often an unexpected truth.

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