Monday, August 9, 2010

The Force of the Harry Potter Series


Ardent followers of the Harry Potter series have probably devoured already the seven books and the six film adaptations of the first six books. What remains to be seen now is the two-part movie for ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’.


I eventually fell for this Harry Potter series. Nine years ago the first movie was released and was met with indignation on the part of some religious groups who deemed it a poison to the minds of the young people. Briefly lost in this wave of confusion as to how to deal with it, I later turned into it with an open mind. This is a product of a creative mind and personally, I only delved into it for the story’s richness and intensity, rather than those issues being wrapped around the Harry Potter series. I leave the religious moralists to their brooding. There are many things in the series that are being missed out by those who hold contempt for it.

For one, the bulk of the story is something I can call compact. I am no literary critic, but what has been described as ‘exposition’ technique, which has been used in some parts of the series was indeed instrumental in giving it a compact feel. As one progress in reading the books, pieces of details unexplained in a previous book are gradually given light in the next, or several clues are laid out as to what lies ahead. After reading the seven books, I was able to appreciate those widely distributed little details, details that made the series a fine read.

Although the series is set in JK Rowling’s home country some of the characters, scenes, and developments take universal forms. The imperfection of Harry, his woes and triumphs, are some of the things that a teenage reader can readily relate to. Even the side of romance is given gradual treatment in the book (as in the case of Harry, he eventually found his love in the person of Ginny who was earlier a semi-obscure character in the series).

The concept of family is also given notice although in many different forms: the lost family of Harry Potter, the comic family of the Dursleys, the seeming lonely past of Severus Snape’s family, the tumultuous family life of Albus Dumbledore, the wizard blood-line ‘purists’ like the Malfoys, the colorful and adventurous lives of the Weasley family, and the many turns and tales of the ancestry and eventual family of Tom Marvolo Riddle.

Also in many instances, a keen reader would be able to get a glimpse, through the series, the form of education they have in their country, the ups and downs of the students, and the likely characters of their educators.

As a whole, the series is essentially a story of a boy wizard trying to learn about his lost family under the shadow of a dark wizard seeking dominance over the wizard and non-wizard world. There is this thrill in reading about the characters with different views towards power and their different motivations for wanting or not wanting it. I cannot say that it can be conveniently placed under the label of a ‘fairy tale thing’, where good is expected to triumph in the end. The characters possess weaknesses and strengths and we see towards the end of the story that the main antagonist’s ultimate downfall was caused by his failure to think about some small details but decidedly important ones. Voldemort essentially prepared his plans for his ascension in power in the course of the seven books only to prepare at the same time his demise.

Despite that, his character is an interesting study, together with two other characters that I have come to appreciate more than the other character in the series. I shall be sharing about them later.

1 comment:

Naomi said...

"The characters possess weaknesses and strengths and we see towards the end of the story that the main antagonist’s ultimate downfall was caused by his failure to think about some small details but decidedly important ones."

Couldn't have said it any better. Sorry, couldn't help commenting :D I'm one of those who got hooked from the very first sentence of the Sorcerer's stone. Great "exposition" by the way ;)