Monday, July 23, 2007

She done good

Wow, this is a far cry from how I felt after Harry Potter #6. You know how in dissonant music the chord progressions just grate on you, until the composer introduces the final combination that resolves the whole thing? And you just sigh with relief and understanding? That’s what this feels like to me.

No spoilers here, don’t worry. Read the thing, and then re-read it (as I’m doing) and then re-read the entire series (as I’ll do next). I did just want to comment on one bit of dialogue that struck me as insightful. Harry’s experiencing something in his mind/imagination, in which he speaks with a much loved mentor.

Harry: Tell me one last thing. Is this real? Or has this been happening inside my head?

Mentor: Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?

Interesting. As I wrap my head around that this morning, I’m realizing that actually *everything* happens in our thinking. Every experience we have has to be conceptualized to be experienced. In other words, we can’t have the experience if we don’t know we had the experience. And if we forget, it’s like we didn’t have it at all. And if we remember, we have it forever.

Much of my childhood is a blank. I don’t remember a lot of it, although now and then something will spark a long-forgotten memory. Usually at that moment, it’s time to deal with it and resolve it.

But my strongest childhood memories are of Middle Earth. You know, from The Lord of the Rings. I spent more time there than anywhere else, both with the books and my own imagination. I was invincible there, a force for good, always loyal, always effective. Now, I can pick up the books and relive it. These memories, although they just happened to me, are as real to me as the ones you might call more “factual,” events that other people shared. I was there, I remember.

Literally millions of readers are sighing together this weekend over the fates of Harry, Hermione, Ron and the rest. Nothing like this has ever occurred in history before. We’ve had shared disastrous experiences that the media filled us in on simultaneously, but has there ever been, since instant communication became possible, a moment where so many are united in a sense of uplift and resolution? Maybe the end of WWII. Or the moon walk.

But the story of Harry Potter, from start to finish, is genuinely all happening “in our heads.” I wonder if we’ll ever be able to measure the power of this collective imagining and experiencing of good mentally. The values in these books have shaped a generation. Rather than GenY or Millennials, we may wind up calling them, “GenHP” -- the Harry Potter Generation.

And you know? I think they might change the “real” world for the better!

Your ideas and inspiration are welcome! Please comment below or Contact Laura.
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At 7/25/2007 11:10:00 AM, Blogger Becca said...

I'm so glad that I'm not the only one that's read it twice already! She really did a good job making you stop and think. I can't wait to have kids to read the series aloud to. There are so many great take away messages


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