July 22, 2007

Why should we read Harry Potter?


With the world frenetically devouring the final installment of the Harry Potter series, many critics have questioned the literary value of the books and in fact, expressed their fear that the 'quality of reading', especially for adult readers is steadily on the decline!

Literary critics have, as we all know, always been partial to serious plots and writing of a quality that we mere readers most often find very 'heavy'. Bombastic language, meandering lengthy dialogues, war of words and a number of literary devices are employed by in those 'appreciated books' that more often leave you confused with what actually is the story about rather than provide wholesome reading!

Not stealing the credit from the classics or any of the above mentioned books, what one's trying to convey is that literary critics needn't judge a book only by the kind of words used or the high purpose of the book or moral it conveys but by the ultimate feeling with which it leaves a person.

Books, like music appeals only when it is simple, straight from the heart and has a truth and honesty about it! I have found many books that have been lauded by critics, extremely boring, prosaic, didactic and even not worth a single reading! While 'The Scarlett Letter' by Hawthorne could not grip me for more than 5 pages, a run-of-the-mill chick-lit book called 'The Real Thing' would not let me put it down!

Harry Potter has been one series that has, even from a literary perspective, exceptional quality! The writing is simple, the characters-extremely everyday people(muggles or otherwise!) and situations that can be related to the real world! The depth of characterization, the subtle internal struggles between the good and evil in everyones' heart, the various shades of emotions, expressions and thought have had no better outlet than through the words ofJ.K.Rowling. One great thing about her words is that it is unpretentious and clear.

To create a magical world co-existing with the real one, weaving both together in such a way that they fuse when necessary and remain parted at other times is no mean task! What Tolkien did was to create a whole new 'Middle Earth'. It fascinated me- his imagination. But after numerous tries of reading and re-reading, I always tend to stop after a point. J.K.Rowling got the trick right- she made sure we remember the world she created by making it as real and as magical as possible at the same time!

The characters- from loyal, love-craving Harry, sarcastic attention-seeking Ron, brainy steadfast Hermione, happy go-lucky Fred and George, the wise Dumbledore, loving Hagrid, kind Weasleys, brave Ginny, brave yet shy Neville, eccentric Luna, the courageous and caring Lupin, Tonks, Sirius and others on one hand contrasted with the embodiment of evil-Voldemort and all his Death Eaters and their families together, subtly help us learn how to be and how not to be! That we are what we choose to be, could never have been explained in a better and more unconscious way than how Rowling has chosen to do!

In every book, there's something new to learn-not only about the plot but also about the spirit of living itself! What Enid Blyton, L.M.Montgomery, Charles Dickens, Jean Webster, Mark Twain and other children's writers created is what Rowling has also sought and brilliantly achieved! The only reason why people still go back to their 'Faraway Tree' and 'Oliver Twist' is because it has a never-ending appeal. It infuses a hope and faith in life; that all is not lost in this big bad world. There's love, loyalty, brotherhood, sacrifice and truth to conquer even the deepest rooted evil! Harry Potter teaches us that!

For all those who say that 'The Boy who lived' will be forgotten from the world soon after and will maybe just remain a marketing logo, think again!

The truth is, we all are kids within. And once in a while, we need to remind ourselves that! Else, the adult world will ensnare us in its many vicious traps and make us forget that it's not about money and power but it's only truth and love!

P.S.: This is my 200th Blog post! :)
Here's wishing me and my blog and my writing a long long life together!!!


Pedro Morgado said...

Please, don’t let J. K. Rowling kill Harry Potter. :)

Ramya Shankar said...

We should wear these "Hail Potter" badges in our meets next time ! And make sure to be dressed in gold and maroon ! :D :D
And I back u on that, there couldn't have been a better ending for all those ppl who were predicting loopholes in the story with their own version of ending each.

Dinvra igaluaC said...

I really loved the way you wrote this post.....byfar one of your best articles in recent times!!!!!

Dinvra igaluaC said...

I really loved the way you wrote the post.......byfar your best article in recent times.......

SK said...

Neat post! :--) Agree with most of it too.

The last book was dark, cos of the plot, but still had allt he ingredients of a childrens book. Loved it!

legspace said...

really well cast..wink!loved it!
so true.i still can read hp1 to 7 numerous times....just the way i still go back to the magic faraway tree series from my 4th std!!

they all have managed to weave what we wish we could do...;)

Vani Viswanathan said...

second, lovely post!! can so agree.. and we should probably agree that harry potter has got gaming-addicted kids back to the book-reading lovely habit! and i hope it continues!
and saw naresh iyer for the first time on KWA. bowled over. by the voice, and the kid himself :D and oh, that genuine smile always on his face, and the (shy?) quiet self.. ok, ok, let me stop :)
and when will i get to lay my hands on potter's final installment?! :(

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