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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Happy Birthday, J.K.Rowlng!

And Harry too, of course. It's weird, you know, I'd forgotten and yet last night I was googling various facts about religion in the Harry Potter novels. And what a variety of articles there was, too! Some argued for the Christian elements, others that Christianity had nothing to do with the various decisions Harry and his friends made and then there were the anti-HP ones, but I didn't bother with those, because I was after symbols in the books.

I discovered this series when I picked up a copy of Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone on the book stall at the Children's Book Week Fair, back in the days when they HAD a book stall as a regular part of the fair. I'd heard about it from Alison Goodman, author of Singing The Dogstar Blues (her only book at the time)as we sat in the back of a car going to a meeting of the Aussiecon 3 committee. It sounded interesting and I bought the book when I saw it. I enjoyed it enough to buy the next, Chamber of Secrets, thinking at the time that it reminded me of Roald Dahl, but even more of Diana Wynne Jones' Lives Of Christopher Chant (and so, it seems to me, did DWJ's publishers, who happily brought out a new edition of all the Christopher Chant books) which I'd loved.

By Prisoner of Azkaban, I was hooked. The universe was becoming more complex, as were the characters. I was getting review copies now - that one was for Festivale On-Line, the ones after for January Magazine.

I'm remembering the day I picked up Deathly Hallows and went down to the food court at the Australia Hotel to read over coffee and cake. I looked around and at every other table was someone doing the same! There were brass bands and at Dymock's a choir was singing songs from the books. All this to celebrate a book... As a librarian, I was thrilled. I know kids have never stopped reading, but in this day and age, with people spending so much time on-line and playing computer games, it was nice to have it confirmed. I remember spotting a small girl with a huge Harry Potter book tucked under her little arm.

I had to finish the book and hand in my review within the next twenty-four hours, but I don't think I missed anything in my reading. I just promised myself that I'd read it again at my own pace when I could.

I'm now reading Philosopher's Stone to my Literacy class, which is willing to listen because the last movie has just come out.

If you want a really good summation of the phenomenon, google the article by Stephen King, who is a big fan of the series and has done a very good job of discussing it. I won't get the URL here, it's too fiddly, but trust me, it's worth reading. Google J.K.Rowling's Ministry Of Magic Stephen King.

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