- Five foot three, eyes of green,
Tried out for the Quidditch team,
Has anybody seen my girl …?
Ayup. You heard right. Quilly has gone missing. Popped into a bookstore in Friday Harbor early this morning (21 July 2007), hasn’t been seen since.
I will say this about Friday Harbor. It must be about the only place in the English-speaking world that has a bookstore, and there wasn’t a line in front of it all night last night, a line of people desperate for a chance to blow US$32 on the seventh and last Harry Potter book. Place opened up at the usual time (9 AM), Quilly walked in, bought the book, walked away. Normalcy.
Well, almost. There was this couple whom Quilly met on the way out of the shop. The dialogue went something like this. The lady sees the Harry Potter copy under Q’s arm:
“Oh, George, I’ve got to go in! The Potter book is here!!”
“Mabel, we’ve ordered one online. We should have it today or Monday. I’m not shelling out for two copies!”
“I don’t want to buy it, George. I just want to see the last page!!”
[Incidentally – you know all that stuff that usually shows up on the dust jacket of the book, the stuff that usually summarizes the plot, quotes some favorable reviews, all of that? Uh uh. Not on this pile of sacrificed trees, all seven hundred something something pages of it, there ain’t. No hints what’s happening here, you gotta open the book …]
At this point Quilly, charitable person that she is, and not yet having crossed into that dimension where Muggles would fear to tread if they had any clue about it, offers to let Mabel see her copy. Which brings a sharp retort from George:
“Don’t encourage her!”
George? I’m with you, pal. ‘Course, any time I get wind of one of these cultural feeding frenzies, like Pound Puppies a few hundred years ago, or the Wii craze last year, or the current Harry Potter insanity, I’m heading the opposite direction. Maybe ’cause I have to get my ears checked. I don’t hear “Gotta have it!” when that’s what everyone’s saying. All I hear is ka-CHING!! ka-CHING!! Loud and clear. And plenty loud and clear enough to know that, hell, that ain’t my cash machine that’s ringing. OK, maybe Rowling was a single mom on welfare when she managed to sell the first Harry Potter book. But I read that, today, she’s a billionaire and ranked 48th on the 100 most powerful celebrities list of 2007. Thanks, honey, but you can point that vacuum cleaner nozzle someplace else than at my wallet.
It might be different if I actually liked the Harry Potter books. I’ve tried to read them, really I have. I got about half way through volume 3 and stopped. Couldn’t bring myself to go any further. That was more than a year ago.
For me, reading Rowling is like listening to music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Cliché piled on cliché piled on cliché. At least with Webber, it’s a smooth ride. But there are places in the Potter books (especially the second and, I’m told, the fourth) that read like snarled rush hour traffic.
I remember a school teacher I met in a supermarket checkout line back in Maine, with whom I was discussing the relative merits of Rowling and J. R. R. Tolkien. She summed up the difference in one word.
Tolkien’s got ’em – not to mention a whole lot of intellectual depth in the development and use of his characters and plots. Rowling ain’t got ’em.
I also ain’t got Quilly. She vanished hours ago onto Platform 9 3/4 of King’s Cross Station, tracking Snape and Voldemort and the Weasleys, and she will learn the fates of the likes of Harry P. and Dumbledore long before I will.
Y’know, once upon a time, it was actually considered acceptable for a man to curl up in front of the television on a Sunday afternoon and disappear into the fantasy land of American football …?
– O Ceallaigh
Copyright © 2007 Felloffatruck Publications. All wrongs deplored.
All opinions are mine as a private citizen.