Aug 10, 2011

Why I Just Don't 'Get' Harry Potter. And Probably Never Will.

I find Harry Potter entertaining, and a good fantasy romp, but other than that, I just don't 'get it'. And I am sick of my friends looking down on me because of it. I can tell you though, I most certainly know why I don't get it.

I haven't read the books, and on top of that I am way past the age for the target demographic. But that isn't to say I attempted to read the books when they were released. You bet I did. And then I literally threw the first one out of a moving car window. See at the time I tried to read the books, I was in between reading The Two Towers and Return of the King and my Language Arts class was in the middle of devouring The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. This was also during a healthy obsession in my life with anything I could find dealing with the terms 'Avalon' and 'Merlin', and the first time I picked up greats such as Dracula and Frankenstein.

So why did I throw the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone out of a window? Because I found the language and tone insulting. The idea of a magic wall in a train station wasn't puzzling and improbable to me like it was Harry. It was completely allowed within the realms of magic in my eyes and I found the pacing to just drag on and on about the most insignificant acts of magic that I had come to accept as common place. It was frustrating. I was use to the magical powers and awareness of Merlin and Gandalf, not some stupid kid who was 'the chosen one' although everyone who knew why he was given this title was too damn afraid to say why.

Fast forward to 2011. The finale of the series has just hit theaters, and after a marathon through the first 7 movies, the story finally comes to an end. People are cheering at the screen when Mrs. Weasley and Bellatrix fight -- in a very anti-climatic way I might add, a few spells thrown while moving back and forth on a table against a villain that has successfully cast an 'unspeakable' curse? I am sorry, but you have this great build up for this villain and she literally does nothing? That isn't an epic battle with a villain that was locked away in a prison for years, that is bad story telling. -- or when Ron and Hermione finally share a kiss -- which to mean came off as 'Hell yes we destroyed a phylactery horcrux! Celebration kiss time!' instead of 'I have loved you forever and you have always been the apple in my eye'. I understand waiting to see these moments for years and years on screen, but it all felt a little underwhelming to me. Same with the final battle between Voldemort and Harry. There was seven movies built up before it and the battle sucked (To see a proper battle scene done after years of build up, see Obi-Wan VS Anakin in Revenge of the Sith. Shitty movie, excellent fight scene). I bet if they would have spent more time building up Voldemort as a character instead of a bad guy that has no motivation other than wanting to be bad, the final battle would have resonated more.

It was a fun adventure through a magical world conjured through literature, which is exactly what a book/film should be, but I just don't understand all the hype. And I know exactly why I don't, and probably never will: Because I threw that book out the window so many years ago. I didn't grow up with Harry, Ron, and Hermione. I grew up with Gandalf and Frodo and the Pensive family. Harry Potter on the whole is entertaining to be sure, and I am sure there are great bits of story telling and literature and character in the books (Which is why I plan on reading them as soon as they are available for Kindle, which I know I won't throw out of a window), but because I wasn't reading them when I was growing old with the characters I doubt I will resonate with them as well as those who did read them when they came out.

But I am sick of being treated like a second rate citizen of literature because I don't/didn't buy into the hype. Harry Potter, like every other franchise in the world, was in the right place in the right time for a lot of people, but I wasn't one of them. That doesn't mean I am a lesser person (or a muggle as I have so often been called), it just means that I was not interested at Harry Potter at the time. I personally think The Harry Potter fandom as a whole needs to take a page from the Browncoats and instead of putting people down for not being as into Harry Potter as they are, they should try to expose them to the literature and films and ease them into the world instead of just putting them off immediately, because as it stands the community of Potter fans has already shunned me.

Then again maybe I am just too naive to think that fans who clamor for a franchise about overcoming adversity and acceptance would be accepting...