Thursday, June 4, 2009

Don't Judge Me, Please

It's a risk. It's a risk I'm going to make, typing this here. On the one hand, I'm fairly sure no one reads this blog AT ALL. Which is a wonderful thing, because I can write something and send it out into the void, and I feel like I'm putting it out there but at the same time I don't have to deal with judgment or even mere interpretation by someone other than myself. I have come to depend on that strange dichotomy. I'm depending on it now.

Because the truth of what I'm about to say would offend many people I know. There are so many people that I've met all as a result of this one thing, and it seems like a slap in the face to say it, and I don't know how true it is (although I'm two glasses of red wine into a bottle, so the truth is starting to simmer up toward the surface a bit).

Sometimes I wish Harry Potter had never existed.

Sometimes I wish Jo Rowling had never written it. Not that I don't want her life to have turned out as wonderfully as it has; in that sense, I wish she had had the same success but without the same books. Why?

The Harry Potter books are good. Addictive. Fun. Moving. Inspiring. But they're one series of books out of thousands of millions of stories in the world. I love the Lord of the Rings. I love I Capture the Castle. I have loved many books in my day to the point of obsession, but that is what I loved: the books. But... when I needed to distance myself from them, to pull back and have a normal life, I could. Not so with Harry Potter. With Harry, fandom is a community, and with community you have a sense of responsibility. Gone are the days of lurking. I have a name and a face out there in the community now. I feel like I have to participate and be involved, when sometimes it would just be healthy for me to take a four month Harry break before coming back to the discussion.

Another thing... the question of creativity. Fans have done some very creative things based entirely around this series of books, and that's something to celebrate. But in a way, if I were to try to do that sort of thing, it would feel stunted and unnatural to me. I am not slamming the wrock bands and craft people and fan artists and fan fic writers, but I feel false somehow when I try to write a song or a story based on someone else's characters and situations. It's like saying "Be creative--within these parameters." And that's not art to me. Sorry. I mean, it is art, because who am I to say what is and isn't art? But art seems to be about expanding or ignoring limits.

No, I'm wrong. I'm saying it wrong. I don't know...

I just feel like: before HP came along, I was creative and creating stories and worlds and people that were different than anything else I'd been reading. After HP, I became so invested in a fandom focuses on one world and one set of characters that it closed off all other worlds to me.

I'll be honest, there are some things about HP I think aren't the best. For example, when I first read Order of the Phoenix and got to the end and heard the words of the prophecy, I literally said, "So what?" What I should have said was, "Uh, DUH!" Of COURSE neither is going to live while the other survives. That's the classic good guy versus bad guy result. Voldemort isn't about to put up his arms and say, "I give up! I'm sorry." And Harry, likewise, isn't about to surrendur and say, "Okay, you win. Let evil reign." So the so-called massively important prophecy was a bit of a major let down.

The other thing I despise about HP is in Deathly Hallows when Ron and Hermione manage to get basilisk venom to destroy one of the horcruxes by mimicking Harry's parselmouth sounds to get the snake to open up and let them in. I'm sorry... WEAK. You spend so much time building up how rare and special this parselmouth thing is, to the point that we realize it's not very common and probably quite difficult unless you have the gift. Then suddenly you undermine the whole thing by having it be mimick-able just so you can tie up a loose end in a very unconvincing way. Seriously, you rocked it out with the rest of the series, which is massive and awe-inspiring, but that one little detail just totally irked me.

So yes, this is an "I hate Harry Potter" post. Which, let me be honest, is very rarely my true state of mind. I will probably be horrified reading this post even hours from now. Because HP has done so much in my life in terms of me meeting people and getting involved in stuff. But I get frustrated. I want a few HP free months to chill, live life, be myself. Maybe I'd actually start writing again, and my stuff, not something with the name Weasley flitting around the back of my brain.

You know what Harry Potter lacks, that I think other things like Lord of the Rings and Narnia have? "Echoes of eternity" was the phrase that came to mind. It has important themes illustrated in moving and creative ways, but there is no isolated moment where I can say "This is it. Sam's Star. Puddleglum's believing Narnia even if there never even was a Narnia." The closest we got was when Harry walked into the forest. And maybe when I reread that book, I'll feel it.

But right now I'm just so tired. Right now I just want out.

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