Thursday, July 21, 2005

Potteriana

I like Harry Potter. I do not LOVE Harry Potter. I bought The Half-Blood Prince when it came out last weekend, but immediately gave it to my boyfriend to read first. I'm certain that it will be perfectly enjoyable when I get around to reading it.

On the other hand, I definitely enjoy supporting J.K. Rowling and her Potter series against the hard-core fundies and their seemingly endless list of grievances towards Harry Potter, imagination, literacy... I could go on and on! Check out Bookslut's recent article, A Masterpiece of Satanic Deception, then read this review of an anti-Harry Potter video.

I also recommend this recent Wall Street Journal editorial (found via Kottke.org), which takes Harry Potter symbolism in an entirely different direction. JiminyCricket81, I'm particularly interested in your take on The Order of the Phoenix as an allegory for 1930s England (i.e., "Voldemort" as Hitler, "Dumbledore" as Churchill).

1 comment:

JiminyCricket81 said...

Jericho,

I've long thought that there's a lot of cultural/political commentary tied up in Harry Potter. However, Rowling-lore tells us that the magic (vs. Muggle) world also had a major shakedown in the mid-1940's (Dumbledore's defeat of Voldemort's master) that would parallel our Muggle problem with Hitler & co. I've actually thought that perhaps Voldemort was supposed to be Saddam or bin Laden...and that's of particular interest to me since Voldemort attended Hogwarts, and both bin Laden and Hussein were put into power by the U.S....

If that's what Rowling is getting at, it's a rather biting commentary on the one hand, and probably a little hypocritical on the other, since Hogwarts (like the U.S.) hasn't yet been really called onto the carpet for their role in "creating" Lord Voldemort.

I've also thought that the progressively darker tone of the series has reflected current events and the consequent reports of darkness in the media (i.e., Book 5, the darkest book yet, was being written around the time 9/11 happened and was released a few months after the beginning of the war in Iraq). It's particularly poignant (and a little creepy, I guess), then, to be reading the first few pages of the new book in light of July 7th's and this morning's bombings in London.

Whew! All this, and I haven't even read the links you posted yet! I'll get back to you... :)