Harry Potter the Children Getting Books At Midnight

    July 15, 2005

It’s only a couple of short hours away from the overwhelmingly anticipated release of the latest in the Harry Potter series of novels, “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.” Children all over the world will wait in line to get their copy of one of the most renowned series of books of the modern era.

I grew up reading the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis and the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. They were exciting, fantastic and certainly not of this world as we know it. The thing was, as I grew and studied, I found out that Lewis was pretty obvious Christian allegory. It was loaded with symbolism and messages.

Tolkien was certainly a bigger beast to tame. His long, thorough descriptions in absolute detail, his heavy character development, we absolutely fell in love with the characters because a few of them, we were sure we knew. They were normal guys and then they weren’t. Tolkien pulled his imagery and creative juices from many places, judeo/Christian history, some Norse mythology and much on his own experience. But it still had messages and it had a large degree of morality in it too. I still love that stuff, probably my favorite story ever.

The thing is, these two gentlemen were extraordinary scholars at fine English universities. Now, the modern fantastic series of earth-shattering popularity has happened. These books, aimed initially at relatively young children have come along and captured the hearts of the world and pop culture but it’s also captured the imagination of many a child like nothings done in quite some time.

These books tell the adventure of a young boy who grows up over the course of the books. He faces all the worst topics. He deals with abusive foster parents in his aunt and uncle; he deals with the death of some his friends, his godfather whom he’d just gotten to know is gone now and then there’s just being a normal kid. He deals with being picked on, instructors that are jerks or who might not know what they’re entirely doing and blamed for stuff he didn’t do. The boy has a lot to contend with. Things happen to the boy that shouldn’t happen to many kids his age, even if they do attend the Hogwart’s Academy.

The appeal of these books is just that contention. J.K. Rowling, while being brilliant, certainly isn’t a distinguished scholar like Lewis or Tolkien, but she’s tapped into something. She’s written good books about growing up. They’re spaced apart as children themselves grow up, basically each year of school over a seven-year period (book seven will be the last). They cover real life situations in the guise of this delightful academy. Even though Harry can fly on a broom and fight evil wizards, he still gets nervous around Cho and still worries about exams and possibly making Dumbledore disappointed with him. Real life situations, for many kids growing up.

I’ve read all the five books and I intend to read number six. While I’ve long since past my teenage years, the stories are still moving because most everyone can relate to moving to a new place or going to a new school and trying to fit in and trying to survive. I just wish they’d had quidditch matches when I was in school. I will say I’m going to wait in.

John Stith is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.