As an English Literature student, I am inherently aware that I ought to be reading though-provoking and challenging material by little known but critically acclaimed authors. However, I am suffering from the predicament of being unable to stop re-reading the Harry Potter books. Is it time for me to move on now?
I remember vividly the first time that I became aware of ‘HP’. 2002, Barnstaple. One weekend away we stopped en route to our destination for a sandwich on the Devonshire high-street. As my (fittingly) seven year old self stood outside WHSmith chowing down on a tuna-and-sweetcorn sandwich, I felt my wobbly tooth fall out. After my parents had helped resolve this disgusting and somewhat bloody fiasco; I glanced back into the shop, pointed to the alarming stack of fresh ‘Goblet Of Fire’s’ displayed in full view and exclaimed a burning desire to read the book series. When my eighth birthday arrived; my wish came true in the form of four of the most brilliant birthday presents I have ever received. A decade later; I’m no longer commanding ‘Quidditch’ matches on the primary school playground, but I’ve read the books, watched the movies and debated the film’s lack of S.P.E.W content more times than Harry’s had a brush with the Dark Lord. I wouldn’t say that I’m obsessed; I’ve been to visit the set but I’ve not yet had the Deathly hallows ‘tat’; however I cannot stop re-reading J.K.Rowling’s fascinating creation.
I have tried to decipher why, with admittedly limited success. Is it because Rowling created an all-encompassing world that provides the ultimate in escapism? Am I comfort reading; in the same way that I have read Twilight: Eclipse no less than 36 times (don’t shoot me)? Is it because I find a new message or moral or plot thread with every fresh entrance into Harry’s world?
From an ‘Eng Lit’ perspective, unlike other writers, Rowling’s frequent use of modifiers is joyous, and the way she conjures a tangible world with concrete nouns aids me to envision Hogwarts and Hogsmeade with perfect clarity. With regards to plot; I am fascinated every time I find another cataphoric reference; the way that spells introduced in early chapters signify what is to later occur.
At the end of the day Harry Potter may be a children’s novel but when it comes to favourite books; I’m split between seven and, unsurprisingly Harry Potter is every single one.