Friday, 20 July 2007

Potty Trained

Harry Potter mania once again sweeps the world tonight. As people lining up for hours, and sometimes days, get their paws on the last instalment of the series for what I consider as light literature at best, I can only guess that its chief popularity lies in its ability to conjure up childhood regression for adults and pure escapism for children by inventive use of characters and plots that a large cross section of what is essentially a dumbed down population can relate to. After all, most Muggles can connect to the wonderful themes of alienation, awkwardness, teen angst, rebellion against authority and the ideals of loyalty, friendships, “good” vs “evil”, schooldays through rose tinted glasses….and just having the excuse for otherwise sober geeks to dress up in balmy costumes without having to wait for annual Halloweens, infrequent stag dos or Hen nights or come to think of it…just your weekly Friday nights.

Here in Aberdeen at a few minutes past midnight, I was amused to witness hordes of adult and children Muggles, witches, wizards and God-knows-what armed with broomsticks, wands, robes and cool, hip, fashionable eyeglasses cheerfully queuing up in slytherinesque queues outside the two Waterstone’s stores for their copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows whilst Muggles walking or zooming by in cars yelled out charmingly “YOU SAD MUTHERFUCKERS!”

Whilst a wand throw away at WHSmith, despite enticing customers with sweets and by offering the exact same book for only £6.99, receives nary a customer proving that Potter fans are indeed potty. After all, it’s the “whole-queuing-experience” that validates your loyalty and not getting the book itself ASAP that is important.

What about me? I was just walking home. I used to work with people….and I mean full grown professional adults…who obsessed over Harry Potter. They would describe to my mono-raised eyebrow the intricacies of Quidditch as if it was a real sport, decorate their workplace every Halloween with Hogwarts paraphernalia and jellybeans as I rolled my eyes heavenwards, and looking back…one of them treated me like Harry Potter because I might perhaps have a passing resemblance to him (I do have a zig-zag scar but not on my forehead hahaha). As a parting gift I was collectively given the first HP novel to read and I brought the rest and read all four of them in four weeks. It was amusing but I still didn’t “get” the phenomenon. When the fifth book came out I REALLY struggled to complete it and it actually took me four attempts over two years before I finished it. I believe the Order of the Phoenix is the least favourite of the fans. As for the sixth book, I barely got beyond the first 20 pages of the borrowed library book before being bored out of my skull and had it returned. Maybe I’ll finish it one day for the sake of completeness, but in the meantime, I couldn’t really care less.


Moriji said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Moriji said...

Check out this clip from Jesus Camp:

Harry Potter is the Devil

El Draque said...

The wonders of extremism. I hope she realises Harry Potter is entirely fictional (!) A parody of this would not be funny...simply because their eanestness and seriousness will eclipse any attempt. You also get counter-parts of this where Western hatred is taught in some madrassas where Saudi educated clerics spread their version of Wahhabism. However, the one scary thing about Jesus camp over that of such madrassas is that people voluntarily send their kids and themselves to be indoctrinated when they do have other choices; very often for many, in Pakistan for example, the sheer poverty of certain people mean that their sole education comes entirely from the madrassas.

Extremism will ultimately destroy those who practice it.