You see, you don’t need to queue outside a book shop at 1am on a Saturday morning to pick up your copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, you can just have a lie in, walk to your local village supermarket and pick a copy up there!
Of course, I won’t be reading it, although my good lady will. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the fascination and wonder these books give to children – I read all about magic and wizards as a 9 year old when I read the Wizard of Earthsea trilogy by Ursula Le Guin. These books really captured my imagination and the plot lines bear a striking similarity to the Harry Potter books (a kid with magical powers, a nemesis that you just know the protagonist is going to have a battle with at the end, a school for wizards, not playing by the rules, the character growing up through the series and developing in much the same way as Mr Potter and so forth). But of course the stories are quite different.
However as an adult I find that mere escapism or fantasy in a book isn’t enough to keep my interest. I like to read a book that makes me think, challenges my brain and keeps me guessing up until the end, maybe even makes me learn something along the way. I want to relate to the characters, get into their heads – but I don’t particularly want to get into the head of children half my age!
Having seen the films and heard my good lady talking about the books I find the Potter tales a bit too predictable and obvious. However that’s just me. Many millions of adults have enjoyed reading these books and there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s great to see people reading books (most of the adults I know don’t read books at all). Not to mention all the children that have had their imagination inspired and their minds opened to new and exciting possibilities in ways that only captivating books can.
I notice – ironically – that Ms Le Guin has now written a further 3 books since the trilogy I read was written. I’d be half tempted to buy the 6 and read them all the way through. Either it’d recapture some of the wonder I had as a child or I’d be disappointed that the wisdom of growing older has dampened that spirit in me. I hope it would be the former but sadly I suspect it would actually be the latter. Just like Harry Potter himself, once you grow up and lose that innocence and wonder at the world, you can never get it back.