Category Archives: JK Rolwing

Must You Experience Something To Write About It?

J.K. Rowling never attended a school for wizards and witches, or at least that is the common theory. Surely, if wizards did exist, might they be outraged that a simple Muggle speaks for their struggles, their experience? What is an experience, or rather “the experience” of any certain group? Maybe Rowling need not fear backlash from wand-wielding cloak-wearers, but what about writers who write outside of their experience?

Not every crime writer started out as a detective or cop or anything more than a college graduate. Beyond the need for clearly explaining the real world aspects of jobs writers may not have, they may approach a lifestyle they have never approached. Generally, when I pick up a book by Toni Morrison or Maya Angelou, I can expect their depictions of growing up black and female in America to be accurate. Of course, those experiences do not encompass everyone’s experience, but they make a good representative example.

But what about when I write about being a black female in America? Could my words be taken just as solidly as theirs? After all, it would merely be a representative experience, right? The problem arises that I don’t know what it’s like to be black or female, and although I could research “what it’s like” and read endless books, I may never really know. That’s okay: I’ll write about it anyways.

Because no one can put their feet in everyone’s shoes. We can do only what we can, right? If I only wrote about bookish middle-class white males from Aiken, South Carolina, I might as well write a memoir. All that Write What You Know tripe, it rings true to a certain extent, but it can seriously mangle creativity. And if you never attempt to replace your eyes with the eyes of another, you’ll never learn their perspective.

I thought about this dilemma while outlining a new story about gay homeless teens in New York. I’m not gay, and I’m not homeless. I’ve never even been to New York, but I still think I can write the story. Of course I’ll do research, just like I did research when Is tarted my newest novel about boxing. I did not know anything about boxing culture or rules or even dress, but I learned. You read and read and talk to people who know what it’s like to be whoever you’re writing. Often, I base my stories off of real-life events or ideas or groups, but I don’t pretend to be an expert in any of them.

Surely, Thomas Harris never ate a single human being before penning Silence of the Lambs.

When I began In Lickskillet, one of the characters seemed to be half-black, half-white. There was no reason for it, but that’s how he looked in my mind, and I didn’t shy away from addressing his perspective. Maybe I was wrong, and maybe I assumed many egregious things, but I tried.

There is no gay experience or black experience, only the stereotypical ideas about such experiences. Either there is only one experience (the human experience) that we can all understand, or there are infinite experiences (meaning none of us will ever fully understand one another). My job as a writer is to try to understand, even though I know I can’t.

What do you think? Should authors tackle difficult subjects they’ve never encountered firsthand or act more like journalists?

140-Character Musings On the First Harry Potter Movie

Whoa! SOMEONE is pretty good at whittling.

I sat down tonight to watch the first Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone because well, I don’t really have work tomorrow, so why not? I meant to watch the other movies and tweet about them as well, but I soon grew tired. Pretty soon, I shall enter the land of Nod but not before sharing these thoughts on the movies, which I announced to the world via tweets!

Watching a #harrypottermarathon Gonna tweet all night about this. Starting with Sorcerer’s Stone. #whydowizardsweartophats?

Is the actor for Olivander the same actor as for the final two movies?#harrypottertriva #harrypottermarathon

Harry Potter’s face when he gets an owl for his b-day from an umbrella-wielding giant: priceless #whydidyougetmeanowl#harrypottermarathon

When Harry needs to talk to Dumbledore so badly, why doesn’t he just use the card from a Choc0late Frog box? #harrypottermarathon

Why did they stop making Bertie Bot’s? Flavors like acid, centipede, earwax, glue, latex, mucous, rotten egg, soap, sulphur, Worcestershire.

Flavors that make Bertie Bot’s worth it: bacon, chicken, cough medicine, pasta, menthol, shampoo. Oh and banana. I like banana.#harrypotter

When Nearly-Headless Nick shows the place where his neck separates: my first experience with gore as a child.#harrypottermarathon

Whoa, almost thought the flying teacher at Hogwarts was Jane Lynch. Craziness. #harrypottermarathon

“We’re on the third floor where we might die immediately. Oh, no! Filch’s Cat!! Let’s risk death, cool?” #Hogwartsfreshmenprobz

Oliver Wood wears a turtle neck. You know it’s freezing in England when everyone wears thick sweaters under their robes. #Britishprobz

During Harry’s first Quidditch game, he just sits watchimg the game until the other seeker finds the Snitch, then goes to catch it. #lazy

Invisibility cloak: best christmas present ever! #swag

Snape: A student is out of bed? TO THE BATCAVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!#harrypottermarathon

What if you saw someone naked in the mirror or Erised? That would be so awkward. #harrypotter

Detention? Oh no, we have to search out unicorns in the awesome dark forest! #bestdetentionever # harrypotter

Survives a giant dog, killer chess, and strangling vones. Ghost of voldemort knocks him out for a week. # harrypotterprobz

 

Maybe I went overboard and annoyed everyone who follows me, but I hope I shed some philosophical light on one of the most culturally significant films of our time. Follow me if you like updates about Harry Potter far too often: https://twitter.com/#!/TheSavagePen

The Percy Jackson Experiment

It’s time to talk about YA seriously. We enjoy it secretly, buy it for our Kindles, Nooks, and IPads so no one will see the covers of the books we read, and we deny its quality. We say, “I don’t read YA, but I guess I enjoyed Harry Potter. And the Hunger Games. Oh, and–”

Let’s stop pretending: YA is just another category we can store books. That doesn’t mean YA books are shined up like you’d expect: no, YA books we consider suitable for teens and preteens are full of guts, sex, and gore. Teachers can apparently even be fired for reading YA material to their middle school classes. No that that’s a problem. Books are the one great free place for children anymore, forbidden to see R-rated films or cuss. They can sink into the sordid details of books their parents never expect hold immoral pleasures, those same parents only happy “that they’re reading.”

In my formative years, when I had so much acne my face looked like a red scatter-plot and my voice screeched like a porpoise, I

resented reading YA books. I tackled lengthy Dostoevsky tomes, serialized syntactically-repulsive Charles Dickens works, and sometimes even excerpts of Keats.  Now, this all had a profound effect on me, this chasing after philosophical significance in each work I read. I craved classics, and they served both to entertain me and make me look like an under-aged literati. I scoffed at kids who read so-called YA books.

To be honest, anything from The Hunger Games to Ender’s Game to Treasure Island may be flukes. They may entertain more than just young adults simply because they are not meant for young adults. But let me impress upon you an important idea. In publishing, the marketing choice to make something YA usually does not come until the author has a deal.
Because of all of these revelations, when perhaps three weeks ago I was offered the chance to read the Percy Jackson series, I took it. I recently finished the fifth book, having devoured them quickly and rapaciously, even in the midst of exams. Getting hooked on any series when exams approach is as bad an idea as pointing a laser pointer in your own eye. Why are these books so addictive? I’m afraid you’ll have to discover that for yourself. Here is a synopsis of the debut.

After getting expelled from yet another school for yet another clash with mythological monsters only he can see, twelve-year-old Percy Jackson is taken to Camp Half-Blood, where he finally learns the truth about his unique abilities: He is a demigod, half human, half immortal. Even more stunning: His father is the Greek god Poseidon, ruler of the sea, making Percy one of the most powerful demigods alive. There’s little time to process this news. All too soon, a cryptic prophecy from the Oracle sends Percy on his first quest, a mission to the Underworld to prevent a war among the gods of Olympus.

This first installment of Rick Riordan’s best-selling series is a non-stop thrill-ride and a classic of mythic proportions.

There are five books in the series, and I really enjoyed them. At first, I was annoyed by little things. The meaning of some events were vague, and a lot happened for no reason at all. But as the series progresses, Rick Riordan finds his footing in about the third book, the plotting much smoother, the character motivations much clearer.

I believe it is extremely important to pay attention to YA books because they capture very adult themes while delivering a tight, fast-paced plot. People complain a lot about books either being pointless or too pretentious, and most YA books hit that sweet middle spot.

Like I said before, I have not read many YA books, but I will suggest a few I actually did read.

1.) The Underlander Chronicles

Suzanne Collins (Hunger Games author) first wrote this brilliant, multi-faceted series. Absolutely fell in love with it in the sixth grade. Great action with some quirky twists.

This irresistible first novel tells the story of a quiet boy who embarks on a dangerous quest in order to fulfill his destiny — and find his father — in a strange world beneath New York City.
When Gregor falls through a grate in the laundry room of his apartment building, he hurtles into the dark Underland, where spiders, rats, cockroaches coexist uneasily with humans. This world is on the brink of war, and Gregor’s arrival is no accident. A prophecy foretells that Gregor has a role to play in the Underland’s uncertain future. Gregor wants no part of it — until he realizes it’s the only way to solve the mystery of his father’s disappearance. Reluctantly, Gregor embarks on a dangerous adventure that will change both him and the Underland forever.

2.) Chronicles of Narnia

Classic books to better get in touch with your childhood imagination.

Narnia is the land of enchantment, glory, nobility–home to the magnificent Aslan, cruel Jadis (the White Queen), heroic Reepicheep, and kind Mr. Tumnus.

3.) Inheritance Cycle

Like dragons? Fair enough. Read this.

Fifteen-year-old Eragon believes that he is merely a poor farm boy—until his destiny as a Dragon Rider is revealed. Gifted with only an ancient sword, a loyal dragon, and sage advice from an old storyteller, Eragon is soon swept into a dangerous tapestry of magic, glory, and power. Now his choices could save—or destroy—the Empire.

4.) The Bartimus Trilogy

Possibly one of my favorite fantasy books growing up. As I begin to delve back into fantasy, I remember why I fell so deeply in love with the genre. This dark and stylized book thrilled me.

Nathaniel is a boy magician-in-training, sold to the government by his birth parents at the age of five and sent to live as an apprentice to a master. Powerful magicians rule Britain, and its empire, and Nathaniel is told his is the “ultimate sacrifice” for a “noble destiny.” If leaving his parents and erasing his past life isn’t tough enough, Nathaniel’s master, Arthur Underwood, is a cold, condescending, and cruel middle-ranking magician in the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The boy’s only saving grace is the master’s wife, Martha Underwood, who shows him genuine affection that he rewards with fierce devotion. Nathaniel gets along tolerably well over the years in the Underwood household until the summer before his eleventh birthday. Everything changes when he is publicly humiliated by the ruthless magician Simon Lovelace and betrayed by his cowardly master who does not defend him.

Nathaniel vows revenge. In a Faustian fever, he devours magical texts and hones his magic skills, all the while trying to appear subservient to his master. When he musters the strength to summon the 5,000-year-old djinni Bartimaeus to avenge Lovelace by stealing the powerful Amulet of Samarkand, the boy magician plunges into a situation more dangerous and deadly than anything he could ever imagine. In British author Jonathan Stroud’s excellent novel, the first of The Bartimaeus Trilogy, the story switches back and forth from Bartimaeus’s first-person point of view to third-person narrative about Nathaniel. Here’s the best part: Bartimaeus is absolutely hilarious, with a wit that snaps, crackles, and pops. His dryly sarcastic, irreverent asides spill out into copious footnotes that no one in his or her right mind would skip over. A sophisticated, suspenseful, brilliantly crafted, dead-funny book that will leave readers anxious for more.

6.) Perks of Being a Wallflower

Not a fantasy or adventure series like the rest, this too is considered YA. It is beautifully written and will break your heart and make you crack up until you wheeze for air. For even further awesomness, there will soon be a movie of this starring Logan Lehrman and Emma Watson. Count me in!

Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor. This haunting novel about the dilemma of passivity vs. passion marks the stunning debut of a provocative new voice in contemporary fiction: The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

This is the story of what it’s like to grow up in high school. More intimate than a diary, Charlie’s letters are singular and unique, hilarious and devastating. We may not know where he lives. We may not know to whom he is writing. All we know is the world he shares. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it puts him on a strange course through uncharted territory. The world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends. The world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite.

Through Charlie, Stephen Chbosky has created a deeply affecting coming-of-age story, a powerful novel that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller coaster days known as growing up.

If you read any of these books, including the Percy Jackson series, you will come away with a new appreciation for books usually meant for kids. While at 18 I’m supposedly an adult (under the law), I am certainly still in love with imaginative stories that spark my mind and carry me to magical realms.

The Evolution of Writing (Part 1): Faster, Better, Stronger

Since the dawn of typewriters, there has been an evolution in how writers write. Some say that to speed up how fast someone can pen a story will only lead to more bad writing. That can be true, to some extents. Wen u typ rilly quick, u tend 2 mispel words or just sound stuped.

It has been argued that since writers can write faster, they have to think too fast. And they do not pay enough attention to what they’re actually saying. They’re just banging out words, like I do whenever I write a blog post. A robotic writer-churner of words, processing word vomit thirty terabytes per second. How exactly has writing evolved?

We’ve gone from pen-to-paper to type writers to laptops to tablet-sized writing devices. It seems we can write anything and anywhere, so how has that affected the art of writing?

A long, long time ago, the printing press was invented. Before that, the Bible and a few other texts were the only things were read because monks had to devote their lives to transcribing those thousands of pages. Imagine if J.K. Rowling had to write every Harry Potter book by hand for each individual reader. It’s likely she would not have sold as many books.

No one was very literate. All the townspeople relied on the priests to interpret the Bible for them, which of course caused some obvious problems. Church leaders could say things like, “God says to give me all your money and your wives. Seriously, it’s in The Bible.”

There was something else impressive about these books: their ornateness. Some might take more than a year to pen own, perfectly. And then they were filled with incredible illustrations, rewritten every time a book was reprinted.

Then, when the printing press was invented by Johannes Gutenberg in around 1440. This exploded literacy because more people could afford books. Bibles and scholarly works were available to more people, so more people began to read. Of course, this lead to the Protestant Reformation and a change of religion, but this isn’t about religion. This is about writing.

Before, storytellers acted orally. A story might be passed down through generations, as was Homer’s Odyssey and the Arabic classic 1001 Nights. But when the printing press came along, writers could get their stories out there which gave rise to what we call today “the novel.” Not only did texts of science, philosophy, and religion bloom, but so did works of fiction such Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. The books published were more widely circulated and read by more people.

This increased the flow of ideas, so by the time the 1600s come, everyone is reading books and sharing ideas. This is end of the Renaissance era. Writing is entirely about ideas, so this is important to what I’d like to talk about next. In 1868, the typewriter was born, which revolutionized writing. Before, writers were affected because more people could read what they wrote. But this device made writing available to more people because it was faster and more efficient. Like a mini-printing press at your fingertips. Writers loved typewriters. Even today, a typewriter seems a universal symbol of the ideal age of writing.

Things have changed, but have they changed for the better?

Today, I sometimes take notes in a journal and at other times with my Nook. Soon, I’ll buy a keyboard attachment so without the hassle of carrying a full laptop, I can whip out the device and type away whatever I’d like to. Even in the backseat of a car at night, I can still make notes and write. Amazing, huh? Try to do that with a typewriter. This has also changed WHERE we write (which can certainly affect the story itself), but that is a discussion for Part 2.

Typewriters seemed the natural evolution of recording words, but the next leap changed things forever. Writing words in a digital form. Ala, a word processor. This changes HOW the writer writes, literally. On Microsoft word, if I suddenly don’t like a word, I have to only delete it. But typing on a typewriter, I may have to use white-out or trash a whole sheet and start over again. This forces the writer to do the thinking in his head rather then on the computer. He must compose the perfect sentence first before typing it out, “thinking as he goes” as many computer-users do. Then again, does it not seem easier to type it on an erasable surface such as a computer screen?

Why are some writers obsessed with the old times?

Ernest Hemingway stood beside his typewriter to give him better creativity. Jack Kerouac wrote On the Road on his typewriter using a single scroll. E.E. Cummings used his typewriter to accentuate his poetic style in his famous “Grasshopper poem.”

Writing has been inexorably changed! AGHAST!

I can go back now and delete the entire post without having wasted tree’s lives. What madness hath these computers brought upon us?

We can write anywhere and anyhow we want now that we use computers to write instead of paper or a typewriter. Unless you still do write out entire drafts on paper or are nostalgic enough to use a typewriter. Honestly, I usually write poems and short stories first on paper, even sections of the novels I’m working on. But to write an entire novel on paper seems ridiculous, pointless even.

Yet changing the way we write, we change the WAY we write. We write with a different psychology. Because we write faster, we think differently. We are allowed to write much later into the night, so we write differently. Perhaps the ability to write at any time has diminished how much work we actually get done!

What do you think about this evolution in writing? Has the ability to use new writing implements proved helpful or detrimental to our writing processes? Is the future the way to go, or should we fall back upon what has served us in the past? How are you affected by the change in writing tools?

Tune back in soon for an extension of this conversation on the evolution of writing and writers.

Epic Fantasy Novels: They Are Epic

What can persuade a man to spend nearly a month reading one novel that is longer than the world encyclopedia five times over? A good story.

This post is part of my genre studies series where we dissect specific genres of books. Fantasy novels set themselves apart by being often incredibly long, sometimes upwards of a thousand pages.  But these books need such length for good reason. Think about Tolkein’s works. His Lord of the Rings, planned originally as a sequel to The Hobbit, spanned over 500,000 words. Compare that to the average novel which barely reaches 100,000. The story proved long enough to split into a trilogy, each counting well over 100,000 words. Stephen King’s Dark Tower series reaches over a million words in count.

Fantasy writers need a lot of words to fully convey the world they create. For that reason, fantasy writers are given more leeway over other writers on how long their novels can be. If a story is truly impressive, readers will gladly sit through 700 pages. While not regarded as an epic fantasy, instead as a kid’s fantasy, Harry Potter novels are heralded as “long.” People even brag that they “read all seven Harry Potter novels.” Well, hip-hip-hooray for you. While that boats an impressive 1,084,170 words, other famous fantasy series contain thrice that.

Robert Jordan’s famous fantasy series Wheel of Time, which I have not read, has reached over 3 million words.

Now, I’m not the sort of writer who hails anyone with high word counts as a genius. The tighter and shorter you can make your story, the better. It keeps a good pace for the reader: a tightly plotted novel at 90,000 words can be devoured in one or two days and leave a great impact on the reader. A fantasy novel of great length, however, is not the same beast.

I began considering the place of epic fantasy novels in the literary canon when I picked up the first book of George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series. I know I’m very late in the game considering I was three when the first book was released. His latest installment, the fifth, was released in the past year. A Dance with Dragons was released to very positive reviews and gracious fan reactions. Likely because it was published six years after the fourth book. Imagine: you wait six year to find out what happens next!

And it is no easy thing, waiting to see what happens next, as I quickly found out. I picked up the books after watching the HBO series entitled Game of Thrones which follows the books basically word-for-word with little embellishments. By the end of the series, I could not wait another year to see what happened. I bought a box set of the first four books and got reading. And read I did. Already familiar with the first book’s plot, I plowed through.

What keeps a reader compelled through a 1000 page book is that the author places something on each page to keep you turning those pages. Which means something drastic and exciting on each page. Martin is a master of character development and over the course of a thousand characters, it’s entirely possible. Yet he strives not just to flesh out the main characters (we are allowed to see through a different set of POV characters in each book), he also includes so many knights, sorcerers, and war lords that they’re hard to keep track of. But he makes each one so incredibly unique, you find that it is not actually too hard to keep track of the liturgical family trees and countless minor characters.

Fantasy novels are often derided because of their content. Martin’s work is rife with the usual cliches: dragons, knights, honor, kings, and things that go bump in the night (may the Others take you). But he actualizes those cliches to make them his own. Drawing off medieval history and folklore, he creates something incredibly real, incredibly human, and incredibly cool. I’ve literally never been so excited to read about dragons as I have during the end of Game of Thrones. These longer fantasy epics can incorporate such massive story lines, such a vast band of characters, and so many nuances, that you became insanely invested in the story itself. Now you may see why it would pain anyone to wait six years to find out “what happened next” when production companies shell out sequels to popular franchises, one each year.

The epic fantasy is another book that could get a lot of help from the advent of e-readers. With my Nook, I carry around thousands and thousands of pages at a time, a huge library. Lugging around books that almost reach 2000 pages is cumbersome, but I have the first four books in e-book format along with a few others. Those first four books, if you’re interested, comprise of more than a million words.

Fantasy novels allow us to explore worlds entirely not like our own. Martin’s world is one where treachery and honor relentlessly cut each others’ throats and swords clash and kings rule. We do not live in a world where dragons exist. America is not a place where we “bend the knee” to any king. Yet still in this strange place, the characters are painstakingly human. We can explore fellow people like us take on incredible tasks that we may never face. Yet we still learn something. There will always be a special place in my heart for dragons and centaurs and fairies and wizards.

Because no matter what genre you read, every reader is looking for something “magical.”

Why Mario 64 Is the Best Game Ever

For weeks, all I’ve been hearing about is Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III, the third installment in the second generation of these first person shooters. I am, naturally, not all that impressed. For some reason, I don’t get a kick out of blowing up Nazi zombies with mortars or “making a head shot” or “pwning” anyone.

                                                                                                        VS.

 

In fact, I can’t even play the game right, since the controls are too complicated. The one game I like to play– Mario. Yeah, that’s right. I’m that guy. I can’t play real video games, so I play Mario. And by far the best Mario game ever released was Mario 64. Oh, it has crappy graphics compared to your hi-tech virtual-reality-reproducers, well, whatever! This is why it is better than all those boring war games.

So, what’s so wrong with war video games? What inspires this hatred in Derek’s heart? First of all, I find them incredibly difficult to play. I mean, what sort of game console has that many buttons? I’m looking at you, XBox. Mario 64, though with considerably lesser graphics and older ideas, is a classic. And it’s fun. It’s not too complicated, either. You jump over blocks and gets stars and throw Bowser into bombs. The best, right?

Really, this is a post about the simple things in life. I apologize if I simply can’t stand video games that require actual school. Not to mention the strange cult following surrounding such games. These games gets played like crazy because of this cult-ish-ness. It’s the same reason good tv shows get cut while Glee stays on air. Not saying that I don’t avidly watch Glee, but that I do so because it’s… well… I’m not sure. Because there’s such an expectation for it to be, and even if it isn’t, who cares? We can wave away accusations of it sucking by saying, “Oh, it’s satire, that’s a joke,” but really what we’re watching is a poorly executed continuous musical.

If you’re wondering who is responsible for allowing such things to exist, it’s me. I support to stupid, the mundane, the pointless, the childish. And I’m not sure what makes me adore trash so much. Maybe because it’s incredibly shiny. But a glossy, sugary veneer on anything and people come running.

Cite my interests: True Blood, Glee, American Horror Story. Shiny trash. Wonderful shiny trash.

That’s not just how those war games sell.

Even my beloved Mario garners some success from public attention. People expect great video games from Mario or Call of Duty. And even when the video games makers miss the mark (cough, cough Dr. Mario), the audience doesn’t really care. They gobble up the crap and the genius alike.

So, is there maybe a formula? Produce awesome material until the audience loves it, then… taper off the awesomeness. Some authors

might do that, but not count out the exponential goodness of the Harry Potter series. But what happens when a writer produces so many books, some are bound to be bad. What about Stephen King?

I don’t read James Patterson, Nora Roberts, or John Grisham (though I did read The Firm and thought it was awesome). But I imagine that not all their books are stunners. Sure, there are quite a few that are really impressive and gripping and the rest? Well, they’re alright, I suppose. I’m not saying all their books are not awesome (as I have not read all of them), but based on the sheer output of these authors, I find it hard that every fan will like every book they write. Just like I may not enjoy every Mario game. (London Olympics, really?) Or why Call of Duty fans love Call of Duty games.

Because authors, much like video game developers, write games as part of a brand. With the trust of consumers, they both are pressured to do their best and allowed a little slack. Though brands should maybe stay awesome. Mario Galaxy 2? Yeah, it was really good. Not as great of Mario 64, but still really good. Or Chuck Palahniuk’s latest book? Not a mind-blowing masterpiece. But will I keep reading him because I believe inside of him are still plenty of great books? Sure.

So, go on, play your games. I’ll play mine and watch my addicting, trashy television (at least I don’t fuel the great Reality TV Beast). Whether you play Mario or Call of Duty, you’ll have your favorites and your not so favorites. That being said, Call of Duty has nothing on Mario. Soldiers have flamethrowers. Mario? He can shoot flame balls from his palms!

Occupy Hogwarts: Ron’s Awkward Realization

Happy Birthday Harry!

Today marks Harry Potter’s birthday, another reason to gush about my love for the Harry Potter book series. Thank you, Joanne Rowling, for turning a generation of nonreaders into a generation of wizards.

Raise your Butter Beer, raise your Fire Whiskey to the Boy Who Lived!

Survival Guide For a Post -Potter World

Directed by David Yates, says the screen, springing into the credits with a soundtrack of nostalgic Harry Potter themes. There is a moment of disquiet that occurs in one’s mind, then of panic. It’s over, I say. It’s over?

After a predominantly silent ride home, I passed out at three in the morning and woke up to something entirely different. What was this new world, a little bit less light and certainly less magical? Well, I discovered that there might just be something beyond Harry Potter- a reality that exists parallel to our own in which Harry Potter does not fill any such void as it does in ours. So, I rubbed my eyes and asked, What they do in this world? How do they survive?

This is what I’d like to say to the magical world, quoting Tom Riddle during his attack on Hogwarts:

I know that you are preparing to fight. Your efforts are futile. You cannot fight me. I do not want to kill you. I have great respect for the teachers of Hogwarts. I do not want to spill magical blood. Give me Harry Potter, and they shall not be harmed. Give me Harry Potter and I shall leave the school untouched. Give me Harry Potter and you will be rewarded. You have until midnight.

After every Harry Potter book I read, I was excited for the next to be released. I began reading the series just before the fourth book was published, and I’ve become a Buddha of waiting for the next Harry Potter. Whether it’s a book or a movie, and at this point, even if it were a comic book or a Disney Channel sitcom, I’d wait avidly. Except there’s not much left to wait for. Which means unfortunately, life has effectively stopped.

Sure, there’s Pottermore, but I look upon it with a mixture of excitement and fear: what if it’s just not what we want? Can we really rely on the premise of Fan Fiction via Pottermore keeping the legend afloat? And then arise other, more pressing worries: what if people forget? How will I feel in forty years when some teenager asks, “Who the hell is Harry Potter?” After knocking him over the head with a cane (A classy one), I’ll feel devastated. Where do Harry and Ron and Hermione stand in the aftermath of their Hogwarts educations?

It’s actually quite worrisome for the trio when you take into consideration the fact that they spent their final year tracking down Horocruxes. Hermione won’t be top of her class any longer, and none of them have applied for any wizarding scholarships. Harry might be fine, considering he has a heap of gold left over by his parents that will never depreciate because it’s, well, gold. But what about Ron who didn’t pass as many OWLS?

And now that we’ve all graduated, even though we’ve failed Potions enough to delay it for a few years, what are we going to do? Well, here’s the truth: I don’t feel like Harry Potter has ended. It’s such an abstract notion that my mind can’t comprehend it.

The books will always sit on our shelves like Kings Cross Station; we only need to board a train to take us back to Harry and his friends. The films will be stowed in their DVD cases below, ready to be watched. Even with nothing more to look forward to, we have not left Harry for good. Pottermore may offer something for us to divulge our Potter appetites with, and maybe, just maybe… some prequel, sequel, in-between-equal will emerge from Rowling’s mind. And in the meantime, we can pore over what we have and hope for the best at what she’s now producing.

Anytime we want to return to Hogwarts, we need only open out Marauder Maps and mumble, “I solemnly swear I’m up to no good.”

Review: The Deathly Hallows Part 2

 

Heartbreaking.

Thrilling.

Gut Busting.

Satisfactory.

The final installment does not let down, and yes, I saw it in 3-D, and yes it was worth it to be completely blown away. Everything turned out absolutely perfect.

And I know already someone will complain that because they didn’t read the books, they didn’t understand the movie. Well, go watch Transformers then.

It was depressing in a way. Pandemonium in the theatre with the realization that it’s over. And everyone gave this final movie every bit of love Harry Potter deserves.

Is it worth your 7 dollars?

Well, I think it was worth waiting five hours in line for.

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