Tuesday, August 7, 2007

What is it about Harry?

Confession: I'm a Harry Potter maniac. And this little love affair I have with a book series that nearly takes up an entire row on my book shelf is getting a bit out of hand with the final installment. Okay, I've always been out of hand when it comes to Harry. Aaron came to bed last night, saw me curled up around the orange volume and sighed: "I can't believe I found you in bed with Harry again." His disappointment might have something to do with the fact that I reread the entire series in preparation for the final book. Did I just admit to that? I can't believe I'm telling you this stuff!

Anyway, as much as I'd love to ramble on about Harry, I do have a reason to bring this up. What is it about Harry that has me (and most of the rest of the literate world) so enthralled? J.K. Rowling's writing is simple, straightforward, and easy to read. I guess I'm not drawn to her books because she is a lyrical mastermind. The plot is cumbersome and winding, filled with so many angles, twists, and turns that I can't be sure she's still weaving them together artfully. So my interest is not about a razor-sharp edge of truth and clarity. Could it be the characters? They are definitely well-drawn and fascinating--they are as real to me as distant friends. Or maybe the page-turning excitement? It almost takes a catastrophic natural disaster to tear me from the pages. And yet, I don't think that's it...

Could Harry's allure have something to do with the fact that he embodies our deepest desire? I don't mean the fact that he's a wizard (though it would be ridiculously cool to wash my dishes with a flick of a wand). I mean the fact that he is one-in-a-million, singular, extraordinary, unique. He is necessary, desperately needed and irreplacable. Even though he is a reluctant hero, he is (or at least, seems to be) the salvation of his people. God-complex? Christ figure? I'm sure much has been written on this and I have no desire to philosophize Harry Potter. He's my escape and it is not my intention to exegete Rowling's creation. But all the same, I can't help noticing that I respond to Harry's character on a very elemental level.

Remember when you were a kid and you played imaginary games? My brother and I role-played with the kids in our neighborhood all the time. We were royalty, knights, cops, explorers in far-flung lands... We were heros. And the very world depended on us. We never once played a game or imagined a scenario where we were anything less than the very crown of creation.

I think we still long for that, whatever our age. We want affirmation at work--we want to be an irreplacable asset to our coworkers, our company. We want our spouse (or significant other, or conquest) to be thrilled by our very presence, in awe of who we are. We want to be recognized, respected, adored maybe. We want our books to sell and our reviews to be glowing. We want the world to think: This life is no life without Nicole in it. Or whoever you are. Fill in the blank.

Maybe it sounds trite (it does a bit to me, but then, I think I'm still working on grasping it completely), but there is someone who thinks all those things about us. We ARE the crown jewel of creation. We are unique, matchless, one-of-a-kind. We are each the hero of our own story. We get to be Harry. Every day.

Like I said, I don't quite get it. But I'm trying. And as I read about Harry the Hero, the Chosen One, the Boy Who Lived, I try very hard to understand that as far as my God is concerned, I am his extraordinary creation. I think it takes a lot of grace to grasp such a concept. I'll work on it. In the meantime, back to The Deathly Hallows. I'm almost done--don't you dare ruin it for me!


  1. My kids like Harry, but honestly they have kind of walked away from it also...don't have the last book yet.

    I don't care for it to much, have only seen the movies. Some part of me is glad. Maybe some part of me likes to say, "Ok people are going that way, I will go this way." That is the rebel in me.

    I like how you tied it all in though. There is one who does say, "this life is no life without_____." If you had no purpose, he would not have formed you in your mother's womb.

    I had to laugh out lound at "conquest."

  2. Prepare yourself girl to be welcomed =))

  3. I'm reading #6 as my hubby reads #7. We're also reading aloud #1 with our 7 year old. He came down the other day with a pen-drawn lightning bolt on his forehead. I guess we all have the desire you speak of! Glad to see another Harry fan in the ranks!