Thursday, July 12, 2007

Pottermania and its discontents

It seems that the world is abuzz with all things Harry Potter, what with a movie now out in theaters and the seventh and presumably final installment of J.K. Rowling's beloved series - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - due to hit bookstores on the 21st of this month. In celebration of the final countdown my friend Matthew Reidsma and several of his fellow cartoonists have been drawing a Harry Potter character every day until the last book is released, which is pretty freaking cool. Today's featured character is Sirius Black:

That being said, however, I have a terrible confession to make: I haven't read any of the Harry Potter novels! Mind you, I'm not a Potter hater. I know that a lot of wannabe-writers (especially those hoping to break into the fantasy genre) have no small amount of contempt for Ms. Rowling and her work, but I'm actually quite happy for her success - she's living the writer's dream, is she not? From what I know about her novels, they sound delightful, and probably right up my alley as far as fantasy is concerned.

So what happened? I think it all was a matter of timing. When Harry Potter and the Sorceror's/Philosopher's Stone was released a decade ago I was neck-deep in my own fantasy world, having ditched a Masters degree in Classics for the opportunity to write and collaborate with my best friend on designing a roleplaying game, so the whole Pottermania thing blew right past me before I knew it. I was also just falling in love with the future Mrs. Exile at the time, so my mind was really anywhere but the adventures of Harry Potter and his fellow classmates at Hogwarts.

I'm sure I will get around to reading these books someday, perhaps to my daughter when she gets a little older. But it's funny when a cultural phenomenon like this just passes you by. It makes me feel old! In any case, I hope the series comes to a thrilling conclusion and that J.K. Rowling is able to continue to captivate readers of all ages with her future projects. Following Harry Potter is going to be a tough one, no doubt, but I'll be pulling for her nonetheless...

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