Sunday, 15 November 2009
I'm worth twelve of you, Malfoy
"Magic is always impossible. It begins with the impossible and it ends with the impossible and is impossible in between. That is why it is magic." - Kate DiCamillo, The Magician's Elephant
If you ask me what movie (or book) I'd like to live in/visit, you know I'm going to say Harry Potter.
It's not the wand-waving, really, that gets me. It's not that I think life would be easier if I could summon myself some breakfast. No, it's the very Narnian idea that the world is going on the way the world has always gone on -- like, maybe your adopted parents are dicks who deprive you of basic affection, or your boss is a twat, or your country's two-party political system is in fucking shambles because it's run by hacks and PACs and corporate interests and Jerry Falwell's ghost -- but somewhere in the sky owls are up to something.
So you're living your life in your cupboard under the stairs, or in your dimly-lit cubicle, and suddenly you get a letter inviting you to a school of magic. The letter isn't just awesome because it's hand-written in green ink on parchment (and delivered by an owl). The letter is awesome because it means: a) There is something special about you, which b) you suspected all along.
One day you control nothing, and the next day you're in Diagon Alley buying a wand or a toad or spell books or potion ingredients or a broomstick or any number of things you imagined were real, but could never convince yourself to fully believe. (See: cupboard.)
And if magic is true, what else is real? Dwarfs? Elves? Centaurs? Castles? Pixies? Fairies? Puffskins? Mermaids? Hippogriffs? Dragons?
Magic is for kids who took a playground beating for defending Santa Claus, kids who wore Halloween costumes year round, kids who built forts low to the ground so hobbits could rest in them in the night. It's for kids who slept better because Batman was only a signal away, for kids that believed Aslan's sacrifice was redemption for them.
Magic is the silver bell in The Polar Express, deep blue soul stuff. You have to train your adult ear to hear it.
I like a world where where loyalty and humor and intelligence and courage combine to create an unstoppable force. I like a world where an earnest, incompetent, forgetful boy can become a hero. I like a world where you can learn to be brave, because of the way people love you. I like a world where you can be the most powerful, well-respected wizard in history, and as gay as Welsh words are long.
I tell everyone when I get to Hogwarts it will be Hufflepuff, but my secret hope is Gryffindor. I tell everyone it's my empathy that will sort me, but my secret hope is valor. Not because I think I'm brave, but because the deepest, most desperate hope of my heart is that courage, like magic, is hiding somewhere inside of me.
Posted by Heather Anne Hogan at 9:54 pm