Tag Archives: Wizard

“Harry Potter and Philosopher’s Stone” Created Gold for J. K. Rowling

I am coming back to Harry Potter again. I was wondering what was the unique thing in Rowling’s first book that made it so famous. Before the first book nobody knew Rowling. The world of Harry Potter did not exist. The book became popular completely on its own merit. Of course the subsequent books also were successful but they had the advantage of riding on the success of first book.

When I started reading the book, I was bowled over by the simplicity of the thought. Harry Potter’s magical world is not a different era or earth. It is part of non-magic people (Muggles). He lives in a very simple residential locality in Britain. Watches the same TV that you and me watch, goes to same school, playground and Zoo. I think this is where Rowling scores over world of “Eragon” or “Lord of the Rings”. Reader does not need to learn about a new world, at least not when Harry is living with Muggles.

When Harry realizes that he is a wizard, the things begin to change. But here also Rowling has created magic in a most magical way. Harry is almost created in a form of common magician that we have seen so often on a stage having a wand, robe and a hat. He performs magic by the swish of a wand and a magic incantation. Harry also needs to go to a school to learn magic. He has to read books, do practicals, attend classes and pass exams. Every school going kid can relate to that. Of course the subjects are different but Rowling makes them very logical for reader to understand whether it is boring history of magic or exciting defence against the dark arts.

Even the idea of using a train with coal engine and smoke from a busy railway station in London is a stroke of genius. A part of reality mixed with a bit of magic. I am sure all Harry Potter fans passing through King’s Cross station would stop at platform 9 and 10 and search for that elusive door that can take them to Hogwarts.

Another aspect which I really like is that Harry is not shown as super being. He does not have many powers, he is not physically strong like Ron or sharp like Hermione. But what he has is courage and determination to prove himself and he knows how to value friendship. The scene in dungeon when Hermione is taking Ron back and Harry has to go alone to fight “He who must not be named” is extremely touching when Hermione hugs him and tells him the same things.

The world of Harry Potter is magical not because it has magic in it but because of its simplicity and touch of reality mixed with wishfulness of being able to do more than what we can do with today’s science.

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Harry Potter’s Magic

Actually I think J K Rowling is a much bigger witch as compared to all the witches and wizards that she has put in her books. Her books have probably brought back the idea of parents reading story books to their kids like it used to be with our great grandparents. But her books are not meant only for kids. In my opinion they are the highest form of literature. The grand idea, the detailing, names, new words and a story that remains connected throughout the seven books.

I read her first book sometime in 2001 when the first movie was about to be released and I saw a lot of coverage in newspapers and media. Before that I had heard of the series and hype associated with it but somehow it could not interest me. I still thought of it as children’s book. But then I could not resist myself after hearing so much and bought the first book and I have been hooked to it ever since. I must have read all the books more than 10 times by now. Till now they have never failed to surprise me each time I read. I find something new, fascinating in these pages which I had not noticed before. It may be an emotion of character, meaning of a word or just play of words. It is a story that not only keeps you hooked till you get to the end and figure out the climax but it is also a story that you can read and enjoy even if you know the climax and end result.  I find that I sometimes enjoy it more when I know the end result.

I can probably write on and on about her books but I will write about them in many more posts but in this one I just want to mention about the particular concept of “Dementors”. The idea of dementors, their characterization, their effect on people is so realistic and lifelike that they do not look like fictitious characters at all. If we just replace “Dementor” with our internal demons or the impact that we have on us due to external disasters that happen around us, we see an uncanny resemblance. She does not stop here. The cure for dementors is chocolate which is known to give a boost to person when they feel depressed. How do you deal with dementors. By thinking very hard about the happiest memories that you had in life and lighting up your life with those memories. In one brilliant master stroke she has told us the cure for all the maniac depression that is engulfing the population around the world. This is what I consider a masterpiece.

I will probably come back to writing about Harry Potter again sometime in future. Till then, happy reading

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