August 17, 2007

On magic

Tamar, Damian and I went to see Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix yesterday afternoon. I had read the first book and seen the first movie. I also read the first and last chapters of the last and final book. I also read, this week, a review by Stephen King of the Harry Potter series. I also heard a discussion on the radio recently by two women authors of children’s books. The two women were deploring the poor craftsmanship of J.K.Rowling’s writing. “Too many adjectives on one page,” they said. Sloppy and lazy writing was their general consensus. On the other hand, Stephen King thinks Rowling is an excellent writer, improving with each book. Most readers agree it’s not high art. Most say the stories are good. Maybe because I have missed out on reading (or seeing) the whole series, I don’t appreciate it properly. But overall, the sentiment is strong: everyone (and especially me) loves magic. No matter how it is told. Or seen.

Wishful thinking is dangerous. As dangerous as fear. It projects us from being present, from being real. Magical thinking separates us from reality. But for Harry Potter and his friends, hope and fear are made tangible and useable. I’ve never enjoyed seeing violence on film or in life. But in the life of Harry Potter, violence seems rarely to have fruition other than to create more possibilities of fear and violence and use for magic. And magic IS fun.

The magic itself is the best part of the film. I lost my sense of boredom (which pervaded the first half of the movie for me—possibly because I haven’t seen or read much of the other books and movies so I don’t have a strong relationship with the characters and the story-lines) when Harry and his friends started hurling chants and sparkling lights around, with fire demons doing their thing, swirling magical smoke. Smoke screens. Fireworks in the sky.

In this movie, hope and fear are what Harry, ultimately, learns to harness. To accept himself as a good person, loved and loving. Doesn’t good always win out!?! So maybe I can go back and read the whole book and maybe the other books and movies. But I doubt it. Too many other really good books to read. And reading itself is an act of magic. One I dearly love.

Posted by leya at August 17, 2007 05:14 PM | TrackBack