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June 26, 2004: P is for (Harry) Potter

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Yesterday we were both supposed to go down to the Scottish Games in Campbell. However, when I woke up yesterday my sinuses were hopelessly clogged, my head was throbbing from the pressure, and I was exhausted from spending the entire night trying desperately to find some position in which I could sleep without my sinuses draining down the back of my throat and making me try to cough my lungs out. So I curled up on the love seat downstairs with a box of tissues and a mug of coffee and waved Richard goodbye. He went off by himself to spend the day with his family, amid bagpipers and burly men in kilts, and I spent the day home by myself. I decided that the only way to get over this current bout of sinus infection hell was to just let myself relax. I took a short nap after lunch, once my sinuses decided they were going to play nicely for a change, and poked around online, and did a bunch of knitting, and eventually decided that I felt well enough to take myself out for dinner (because everyone should treat themselves to fries and a chocolate shake now and then). I also spent most of the morning reading.

After we saw the third Harry Potter movie two weeks ago I immediately read Prisoner of Azkaban again. I try very hard to not read books immediately before I see any movie based on them because I do not want to how the movie director saw fit to make any changes. Obviously there will always be changes, since (with the possible exception of The Princess Bride), movies based on books will never be exactly the same because there is no way that any human can ever translate the things we imagine from words on a page into what we can see on a big screen. And yes, as I read through the third Harry Potter book, I could see the things that had been changed some of which I agreed with and some of which I didn't but I deliberately waited until after the movie because I knew this way I would enjoy both more.

Today, since I had nothing else to do, I decided to read the next two books in the series again if only to remind myself of what happens next. I poured through Goblet of Fire and then I made myself peanut butter and cottage cheese on toast (trust me, it's good) and devoured Order of the Phoenix once more. And I reminded myself all over again just why I love these books so very much, and why I like most of the rest of the world is so impatient for the next one to be published.

They are not great literature although I have my own opinions on the books that the snooty set considers 'great literature' (it often translates into 'great bore', in my opinion) and they may not be the best examples of perfect writing. But what I think a lot of people forget, when they are looking at a book and tut-tutting over how well sentences are structured or whether or not the editor should have really let the author get away with those extra few hundred pages, is that the whole point of a book especially a book for children is to entertain. And the Harry Potter books are certainly entertaining. They are entertaining, not only for the kids for whom they were originally written, but for their parents too. They get the whole family reading the books together. They give everyone something to talk about. And most of all, they are fun.

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