This is my walk to the bookshelf, first choice pick every time, when I want to read something I don’t have to think about. When I just want to be transported off to somewhere else entirely, without really having to think about it.
I wonder if you’ve already guessed, given some of the earlier posts? ‘Tis Harry Potter – again!
My favourite of the series is The Prisoner of Azkaban – it has the mystery and fun of the ‘young’ Harry books, but because we’ve been there twice already, I think the development of the wizarding world is more encompassing in this book. I love the twist that comes with Lupin and Padfoot – And Scabbers? I don’t believe it!
This is also the last book I felt that school is still quite fun and, possibly, innocent for Harry. Even with dementors at the gates and a crazed killer on the loose, getting to Hogsmeade and Honeydukes sweet shop is still pretty high up on Harry’s to-do list. Perhaps because I felt like this about the book, I disliked the film on first viewing: it’s a lot darker than I felt it needed to be – we knew things were going to go down hill, but it was a bit more of a ‘sunset’ book than the shadowy world the film gave. On subsequent viewings, I’ll admit it has grown on me: I like the school banter and Malfoy’s manly screams when he’s attacked by Buckbeak – the classes do seem more like that official ‘first teenage year’ age group than I gave them credit for on first viewing. It was just too short – skipping over some of my favourite bits from the book (I love the Marauders Map) and the first run-through of the twists was too quick – blink and you miss-it moments for anyone not familiar with the story.
I actually watched the film of this over the weekend and now, after writing this, I feel like going over to the bookshelf and taking it down to read. Again.
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? 😉
You would need to be living in a cave to have missed the recent Mr Grey mania – ASDA bookshelves across the UK have found themselves picked clean as ladies go out in force to grab the book. But what’s it all about? I’d like to say I knew – but from reading the Kindle sample, I’ve not felt especially inspired to spend my money on the book itself. So instead – I’ve taken what little I know from work colleagues who are reading it: there’s a contract, a dungeon and lots of saucy conditions…and given the Fifty Shades… treatment to some other areas of literature.
The Gryffindor common room was buzzing with the sounds of early evening activity. Several tables were occupied by groups of students: heads down, lips pressed tightly together in concentration; diligently completing their homework. In a dark corner, away from prying eyes, the Weasley twins were testing their latest lunchbox items on unsuspecting first years. A small girl was turning blue as she had a severe reaction to a Cough-it-up Drops. “More cough, less choke needed,” Fred nodded, making notes on a dog-eared scroll. Several members of the quidditch team were playing ‘dodge the bludger’, near the stairs leading up to the dorm rooms. That is, until Katie Bell nearly got hit in the face by it and swiped the bludger away with an over-zealous bat of her textbook, directing it straight into one of the ornate, stained-glass windows.
“Fenestra Reparo,” Hermione muttered as she passed by the still shattering window, absently waving her wand in the direction of the wall. As her charm caught the glass shards, they swirled upwards and flew back into the frame, repairing the window perfectly.
There was a determined expression on Hermione’s face as she marched towards the fireplace and Lavender Brown – taking note of this – swiftly dodged out of her path. An instant later, Hermione was standing before the two boys sitting on the sofa, who up until that moment had been happily chatting about the pros and cons of performance enhancing magic in sports.
“…it’s just unethical, mate.”
“A-hem,” Hermione coughed quietly.
Two faces turned towards her, wondering at her abrupt intrusion into the conversation.
“What’ve you done now?” Harry asked, taking one look at Hermione’s face and then swivelling to look at Ron.
“What…me…?” Ron scrambled, sounding a little confused, but also a tad guilty.
“Yes, you!” Hermione confirmed, fixing him with one of her sternest frowns.
“What has he done?” Harry asked, looking to Hermione for clarification.
“Ron made a wager with me that I wouldn’t be able to cast a particular spell – I did it and now he won’t pay up!”
“Well…it wasn’t a fair spell…” Ron began to protest, before meeting Hermione’s gaze and falling quiet.
“Oh, mate,” Harry laughed, shaking his head. “You bet against Hermione on something magic? Guaranteed fail.”
“That’s not the point.” Hermione insisted. “Ron’s forfeit is to become my slave for a week and now he won’t make the unbreakable vow to do it. I have the contract ready and everything.” She brandished a sheaf of papers in front Ron’s nose to reinforce the point.
“Help me out Harry – she wants me to spend two hours a day working with the house elves to help me appreciate their situation…”
“You agreed to the terms,” Hermione reminded Ron, ignoring his pleading tone.
“She wants to dictate how long I sleep for at night…” he went on.
“It will help you perform better in lessons during the day – you’re always staying up too late, then moping around in class.”
“And I’m only allowed to eat at the times she tells me I can!”
“It’s all for your own good!” Hermione exclaimed, gesturing towards Ron’s stomach with her wand, eliciting a nervous squeak from him, before he realised she wasn’t actually going to do anything to him. “No one wants a chubby Keeper on the team now, do they?”
“What do I get if I stick to the contract?” Ron asked, looking hopeful for the first time since the conversation began.
“You get rewarded,” Hermione said.
“And what happens if he doesn’t stick to the contract?” Harry asked, inquisitive eyes darting between his two friends.
“Then he gets punished.” Hermione confirmed, with a business-like nod of her head.
“Oh, fudge,” muttered Ron, beneath his breath.
Harry nodded. “Don’t ever bet against Hermione on magic – definitely a fail, mate.”
As it is currently twelve minutes after midnight – and officially Saturday – I realise that my TGIF Lookback this week is pretty poor: no post, no picture and now it’s not even Friday. Oh well!
It has been a good week though: busy over on Aside from Writing as Indie Author Month continues with the daily features and giveaway; and like most people I’ve been trying to cram five days of work into a shorter week after the bank holiday, so have been kept busy everyday.
Quite randomly – as I was cruising to work this morning through an attractive haze of grey rain and listening to a retro pop playlist – Playing with the Boys from Top Gun came on and it got me thinking…if you could walk into any scene in a movie and just become a part of it as though it were actually happening, where would you go? And would you want to take a main part or just sit in the sidelines and watch?
I always liked the look of the bar they go into in Top Gun on the first night Maverick meets the blonde super-professor love interest – I could quite fancy popping in there with my big hair and eighties outfit for a drink. Then there’s Moulin Rouge – how cool would it be to swing around in a diamond encrusted outfit above what looks to be the world’s best party? I’d also enjoy running up the hillside in Julie Andrews’ place to spin around and sing happily – just because you live in Austria and you can and because it’s nice to be a trainee nun. Of course, you’d be in Maria’s happy position, not knowing that your fellow sisters are thinking about a career change for you on the grounds of capability (could you imagine how long proper consultation, performance management and CRB checks might take today to switch her from one role to another now and allow her to work with children?)
Sorry – I digress a little…
Harry Potter world would be pretty good too – I always liked the first film as I thought it nicely captured the magic and spark for children in discovering a whole new world – so I’d head to the LEaky Cauldron to join in the Diagon Alley stuff – plus Mr V isn’t too tough in that film, so the lights are switched on and you can see what’s happening. By the time you get to the Goblet of Fire it looked like it was being filmed in Manchester with all the grey skies and dark sets.
I’m sure there are lots more I could think of, but it’s getting late and I’m liable to start writing (even more) rubbish now. But what about you…if you could go into any scene in a film, where would you go and why?
(Oh – last thing before I go – I discovered that May 13th is Top Gun Day whilst searching for the little picture to go on the post. How random is that? I get the Stars Wars – May the 4th thing – but Top Gun Daywas new on me. But they have website and everything, so it must be real [click the links to find out more]. If you’re feeling like a retro throw-back, cheesy weekend activity, maybe celebrate with dozens of other people worldwide by watching the film and trying the Top Gun drinking game – it is messy, but supremely entertaining. Maverick out.)