Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett is shaping up to be one of those books–the kind where I read the occasional line to my husband, either because I want to, or he wants to know why I’m laughing. I greatly enjoyed this bit:
Human beings mostly aren’t [particularly evil]. They just get carried away by new ideas, like dressing up in jackboots and shooting people, or dressing up white sheets and lynching people, or dressing up in tie-dye jeans and playing guitars at people.
The last bit was particularly amusing to me, because unless it’s an actual musician playing a guitar, I generally want nothing to do with that scene.
What does this have to do with Harry Potter? I felt the first book was halfway there to something that could elicit emotions from me, enough to make my husband ask what I was reading, but Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was just flat for me. It’s neither long nor difficult, but it wasn’t with any enthusiasm that I picked it up. Some of that probably has to do with the fact that the BIG REVEAL (Yer a wizard ‘Arry!) happened in the first book. It’s like those books you read, wondering when the characters are going to do it, and after they do you’re like, “Welp, done with that.” (This pretty much describes my relationship with the Anita Blake books.)
If I’ve reached the moment of satiety, why then, am I rereading them? It’s the rational question to ask at this point, if I’m already starting to feel lukewarm and I haven’t gotten near the long ones. It’s like after the third book they said, “All right, this is a gold mine, fire the editor that’s always red-lining long unnecessary passages of details.” Developmental editor maybe? Someone who loves Hemingway? The thing is, I’ve just started on this task, the task I gave up with one book to go, one that I happen to have gathering dust on a shelf. Chances of success are looking murky, especially given that I don’t do long series. So again, why am I doing this?
Lomonaaeren on fanfiction.net has written 270 Harry Potter stories, and she’s still at it. I downloaded Barbie Jeep by Kitty (produced by Hot Sugar!) for free off Adult Swim and found the word “muggle” in it and the charm “wingardium leviosa.” It’s like references to black poodles in literature. Pop culture is saturated with Harry Potter. People post pictures of lolita skirts to the group on Facebook and a discussion ensues about what everyone’s custom HP skirt would look like.
Pottermania isn’t something I quite understand, but goddamnit, I’m going to try. After all, I read both Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey out of morbid curiosity. HP can’t be any more difficult to read than Stephanie Meyers (I think seven books by Rowling works out to be about one book by Meyers). A Google image search with the keyword “yaoi” added is always enjoyable. It’s just everywhere, and I feel like maybe there’s something I’m missing, and I want to look harder. It’s not that I need it to mean the same thing to me that it does to other people, I just don’t want to leave any stone unturned. Not that any scientific study of HP will yield results that you can copy to make yourself into a successful author. If Rowling’s experiences with writing under a new pen name (a mystery that was reviewed well but sold little) shows us anything, it’s just how fickle fame is. Good thing I’m more interested in taking the HP experience apart like a clock as opposed to attempting to duplicate it.