On one language exam in university, we were asked to write a short essay on whether the Harry Potter books had literary value. Mind you, this was a Russian language exam (Russian was one of my two concentrations in undergrad), so the likes of Tolstoy and Bulgakov were inevitably coming to mind in comparison. However, knowing that the point of the essay was to show off our language skills, I decided to ignore the masters and wrote something along the lines of the following.
When it comes to the Harry Potter books, I am personally not a fan. I tried reading the first one and swiftly got bored, so I dropped it never to pick it up again. However, my sister, who is 10 years my junior, was slowly growing up with the movies and loving everything even remotely related to them. Accompanying her to the cinema when one of the episodes opened, I casually asked if she had read the books. “There are books?!”, she enquired in shock. Now, my sister was never a fan of reading. In our literature-devouring family, it was incomprehensible to us that of all her childhood toys she was least interested in the picturebooks, there were wars over getting her to do her obligatory school reading, and however much she saw us sit down in an armchair with a book, she always prefered the TV. So when I first mentioned the Harry Potter books, she assumed they were made after the film. Nevertheless, she was interested, and asked for Dad to bring them home from the library. Now, I wasn’t living at home at the time, so for a while I had no idea what happened later. I assumed she would soon lose interest, especially considering that she had the so much easier option of the movies. So you can imagine my shock when, next Christmas, she squealed with joy after finding one of the Harry Potter books under the tree – even though it had been one she had already read! My parents glowed. So, several years later, when the final book came out, when it was still fresh enough to be impossible to obtain at the library, when my sister’s allowance was nowhere near big enough to be able to afford buying it, I put the 600-page monster under the Christmas tree with her name on it.
Do the Harry Potter books have literary value? I don’t know and don’t care to judge. But I know one thing. My sister, who had previously had to be held at gunpoint to pick up a book, read and read and read that Christmas night. She stayed up until 6am reading, and in two days told us all how happily it ended. And announced that she was starting over immediately. These books had made a reader out of her. For me, that’s value enough.
Yesterday, we went to see the latest film. I do like the films, especially when there’s plenty of Alan Rickman to drool over. ;) And, as many knitters have observed, plenty of lovely knits. So, after coming back from the theatre full of impressions, I thought it only appropriate to work on this. It’s a lovely pattern, free, and well-written, and bound to appeal to more than just fans. It’s coming out even nicer than I thought it would and I’m looking forward to showing you the FO soon.
In the meantime, happy Sunday everyone! :)