On the end of Harry Potter and why it still remains an inerasable part of everyday life.
Now, it was like yesterday. I remember climbing the helical staircase of Ega theatre to watch the sorcerer’s stone. Harry Potter was a big thing even then, I was just waking up to it. Suddenly everybody seemed to talk about the boy wizard and his wizarding friends.
Now I am quite slow in the head, the present tense of the statement would also clearly indicate that the past was also true, I was slow even then. My first harry potter was the third, meaning I had picked up the book after much conversation with the toothless pirated bookseller near LIC that this indeed was the ‘first’ in a series of books.
Only later and due to the literary knowledge of one of my friends did I come to know that I had in my hands ‘the prisoner of azkaban’ and that was not the first book. As mentioned earlier, I did see the first movie and had read the third book.
The early years of this century has been infested with harry potter fans, no I do not mean that in a pest sort of way but you have to agree there still thousands and thousands of them, it was also the time I was in school.
School largely meant doing the things others were doing, if one were to draw parallels between my life and that of harry potter then they would nothing in common. I completed reading the third book and embraced the other three books initially because of the fact that I would be included in the fan movement which debated hotly on the future of the series, picking favorite characters and presenting essays on lesser known ones. I also got to be part of cool games such as harry potter word building which required an almost scholastic knowledge of everything in Hogwarts and surrounding areas.
Suddenly everything was harry potter, my reading was limited
to enid blytons and three investigators before that and i fondly remember the latter but i must confess that harry potter must have been the first ‘propah’ work of fantasy i would have read.
In between the release of the fourth and fifth books i read the first four again and again, if it were true i was only reading them. HP Fan fiction also ruled during those days and that was also when my introduction to the internet came, and along with every savored visit to the net café came the need to read through them as well.
I tried some on my own as well, in an English examination at school. I remember getting zero as well, “it is improper and answer to the question, and not to your fantasies” was what the teacher told.
When the fifth book finally got released, it was almost built up to become a ‘read or die’ situation, my father would have nothing of it, he didn’t care what the order of the phoenix meant or what it members were up to. So I was not one of those ‘lucky’ boys and girls who stood in line or had pre-ordered, some weeks later I read the book but I remember being not so impressed when Sirius Black had been killed off to prolong the series.
From the fourth book onwards, Rowling was in a serial killer mode. I do not know if it is a result of inborn genius or some advice from the publisher, some main character had to be killed and Sirius black had been one of my favorites, that is where I truly believed that my dislike for the series began.
Until then what I had viewed as a literary roller coaster ride had transformed into a commercial giant trying to sell everything and anything it had to offer. In the years that followed fans would buy themselves unusable broomsticks and fake scars along with the usual mugs, lockets and mini figures.
There were also the fans, people who were till yesterday been members of the intelligentsia for me had become buggers of stupid lore. I had become like a communist who had lost his faith somewhere in the middle, but I didn’t become disillusioned but I had discovered Tolkien’s Lord of the rings sometime earlier and my time was spent more in Gondor and Mordor rather than in Privet Drive or the forbidden forest. Fortunately my love for LOTR has not diminished and my patronage should require a separate post.
I still saw the movies; I had given away my earlier collection of HP books and had refused to read the final book although people had screamed into my ears what would happen.
“Hey, Harry does not die in the end”
I knew something of the sort would happen anyway, a hero does not die even if he should; he doesn’t.
I wouldn’t call myself cynical of the series, but it was time to move on. At some point the series had become an adolescent coming of age story and the innocence in magic had been replaced by carefully laid set pieces to seemingly explain characters and their motives, this is however not how hardcore potter fans see it.
The movies on the other hand manned by executives from the Warner Company have almost never failed to deliver an entertaining film, which is what the children (at that time and even now) have expected, because the target audience for HP has always been the pre-teens and for the people who are more or less Harry’s age and there is no logic in expecting a critically acclaimed or a niche film. I know of certain people who have only seen the movies and are satisfied with what they get.
Moving away from Harry Potter in this age is quite a difficult task, the branding and the commercial and peer pressure for the series is such that you can compare yourself to a prison inmate you can choose to be one among a million prisoners or join the dwindling warden population. One can easily by the wave of a hand discredit any literary merit in these books of magic, but one reflects his/her kind by doing so, but i can still hold on to my views and not irritate others by imposing my choices of literature.
One can also easily blur an initial fascination for the series, I still have an email id which says Dumbledore and that is not because I am not able to undo a selected username but in a way it represents the surroundings in which I grew up, whether I like it or not.
This is the end of Harry Potter at least on screen, and I am quite relieved for the seduction of the innocent peers will reduce considerably, nobody will ridicule you for not knowing who Mundungus Fletcher is or what the concept behind the horcrux is.
I find no guilty pleasure in reading harry potter and I am happy that I see no change in my decision in moving away, so there is no betrayal of emotions. I am happy that it all ends and I go back to my dirtied copy of the Lord of the Rings.
The opinions stated in this article are entirely my own.