After a few days off, I’m back on the 30-day challenge wagon again! This was one of the easiest posts to answer in the challenge…
You know it, I know it – pretty much every Muggle in the world knows it, that’s why JK Rowling sold so many books – the magical world of Harry Potter is one of the best book places that anyone could want to live in.
I missed the first few years of hype around Potter and ‘kidult’ fiction (as it was being called at uni, which is where I was at the time that it started gathering pace). Then came the films…it irritated me that LotR and Potter were being geared up for a big Christmas film showdown in the media – to me the stories weren’t comparable, from what I understood of HP – and I thought it was stupid to make the comparisons between them. There was also a part of me that wondered if Potter wasn’t a bit of a rip off of one of my childhood faves: The Worst Witch – magic boarding school, broomsticks and pets – all sounded familiar…
So – what changed? Well, with my super exciting social life *cough* I found myself at my parents house one evening and Dad was just settling down to watch The Chamber of Secrets. He’d already read several of the books and was a big fan of the first film for ‘bringing the magic and wonder of Harry’s world to life’. I sat down and watched, and – as you do – fell for the series…ghosts in the bathroom, giant snakes and magic books that suck you inside them, and the wonder of all the well-developed ‘magic’ lessons – it was so much more than I had expected (sorry Worst Witch!)
After that, I read all the books, watched the films and waited like every other fan for the next instalment (JK had only gotten to book 4 at that stage) – admittedly, I never queued up at midnight dressed in a cloak – but I did pre-order and devour the books as soon as I got one in my hands. I remember walking everywhere with The Deathly Hallows: eating my breakfast with one hand, in the bath, it went with me everywhere for the 48 hours I read it in – then I had to start all over again, because I’d read it so fast, I felt like I hadn’t gotten all of the details.
The detail of the world is – I think – one of the biggest reasons it is so appealing: from transport to money, sweets to clothes, every aspect of Harry’s life once he discovers who he is, is like a fantastic version of our own reality. Having seen one of the films first, I didn’t have to worry about the debate of book Vs film, I think it’s easier to accept that way around sometimes – as the books add to what you liked in the films, rather than detracting from them. My issue came once I’d read the books: I wasn’t a fan of films 3 and 4 originally (The Prisoner of Azkaban is still my favourite book in the series and it was a big let down on first watching, there is so much detail in the relationships – and the Marauder’s Map – it was just too quick in the film, and it felt like they could have let it go a while longer, with more scenes without much trouble), but I’ve learned to go with them now. Films 5 and 6, I prefer to the books in some ways, as I felt there was a lot dragging in the books and wow, was Harry grumpy in The Order of the Phoenix! I was actually worried for how things would go in the final book – but I thought it was the perfect finish 🙂
Anyway, so that’s me – along with many people I imagine – who choose Hogwarts and Harry’s world to live in. Whenever we ask this question on the blog in interviews, this answer comes up the most. I think many adults who choose this are really choosing to go back as a child: we want to go to Hogwarts, do the magic lessons and be just like Harry, Hermione and Ron. Don’t get me wrong, I like Mr Weasley well enough, but I don’t imagine working at the Ministry is much less mundane (after a while) than any other job 🙂
What’s the closest I’ve come to escaping my Muggle life? Well, I’ve seen the Hogwarts Express in York, and in Kings Cross Station I’ve ‘pushed’ my trolley through the wall in platform 9 and 3/4 – I have the photographic evidence to prove it! In Florida, I loved looking out the bedroom window each morning and seeing the towers of Hogwarts in the distance – yes I know it wasn’t real, and Wet and Wild slides blocked some of the view – but with the suspension of disbelief… If you ever go there, look at the young children who see the broomsticks ‘floating’ in the wand shop, or laugh from their hearts when Ron makes it snow inside the classroom in the castle – they believe in that world and all the fantastic things that happen there, who wouldn’t want that to be real?
How about you? What book world would you want to live in – fancy joining me at Hogwarts? 😉