Monday, 23 July 2007

Beyond Peril

Note: The following contains explicit spoilers for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

I finished the latest and final Harry Potter book at precisely 8:10 this morning. What I call self-sanctity (although a more honest term would be identity pride) compels me to clear up at the onset that although I received the book at one of the many hype-ridden Release Parties (a topic for another post, where my apologies are in order) this was due mainly to the fact that I’m currently sharing my copy with my sister, and this has restricted my reading time to late nights and early mornings. But that is not the subject of this post. Right now I want to talk about the effects of the book on me.

For quite a while I couldn’t think what I found so distasteful; after all there was much in the book I heartily applauded and found immensely satisfying: Snape’s innocence, Draco, Ron and Hermione’s kiss…I even approved of the losses, intimate to heighten the cost of the struggle but not enough to mutilate its worth. And then…after worrying it and worrying it I realized that my problem was on an academic level and rather generic: I disapproved of Harry’s isolation.

This may confuse someone who would want to know what I’m referring to – after all Harry ends up the furthest thing from alone at the end of the story. But I’m not talking about the absence of friends or personal fulfilment…I'm talking about a crude articulation of the paradox of fantasy, a line that has been crossed where Harry's story inhabits a realm between adventure and myth, upsettingly, towards the latter. I am not saying that fantasy must not play it's inherited mythic role, but not to the extent where the protagonist is elevated above the reach of psychological identification, which is what adventure enables in its qualties of earthiness and the immediate extraordinary.

Now nothing I should have enjoyed is free of a certain mythic glow; Harry’s children and even Ron’s jokes are bathed in it. Where before Harry's story was a journey to be taken, for the pleasure of his life and the purpose of navigating our own labyrinthine psyches, now it is a relic on a wall. Something to be treasured, dusted, worshiped, but not touched. Not experienced, because in isolating Harry, his character has been elevated, depressingly I found, from hero-as-me to hero-as-sign.

Monday, 02 July 2007

The Shadowy Marches of the Country of Idleness

Far greater peril runs rampant in a land of not so far kin to the realm of faerie, one where the sun neither dims nor shines, or admits of night announcing its incestuous presence. There is a stream of consciousness alive in the place it is true, without rhyme of reason, signposts or destination. It feeds and births dreams, neither of the waking consciousness nor the sleeping subconscious. We are creative therein, it is so. But no craft takes shape in our hands for we have none therein, but are only disembodied ecstasies and streaming yearnings. We are alive and well, but the blood does not run in our veins as it ought, and we bleed grey syrap when wakefullness pricks us.

This is the land of the grey mist, the faint light not of the sun. It is the land immortal, unchanging, whose time is like a vacuum for our own. Youth is to be gotten there, it is so, but not without sacrifice. Not without life. Not without peril.