Thursday, July 14, 2011

Harry Potter is my Star Wars... and other thoughts

First of all, I love Star Wars, almost as much as I love Harry Potter. The difference is that I knew all Star Wars' dirty little secrets before going into any movie-viewing experience.  Even when the prequel series was brand new and in theatres, by the very nature of the beast I knew somewhere along the line that blonde kid was going to have breathing problems and Natalie Portman was going to get HUGE.
But as each Harry Potter book came out, it was a brand new experience, and, with the exception of Order of the Phoenix (more on that in another post), I read them faster than anything could get posted, written, or said about them.  That's not to say I rushed--I definitely took my time and read them at whatever pace it is I normally read at.
I have three younger sisters. The sister closest to me in age (17 months younger, to the day.) sort of read the HP books, but never really got into them. The next sister (seven years younger) tried reading one because I wouldn't stop pestering her, but only liked when I read them out loud with lots of different voices.  If you've ever tried this, you know it is not an easy endeavor, and you have a grand appreciation for Jim Dale or else you have no soul. My youngest sister, who is now 13, decided to start reading the books this past January and just finished up the seventh recently.  Upon asking her about the books, she told me her favorite was Half-Blood Prince, which confused me a lot, considering books five and six are sort of hard to get through even if you're the same age as the characters. I asked her why. Her response "It's like the book that Belle reads in Beauty and the Beast-- far off places, daring swordfights, a prince in disguise."

My sister, who is brilliant and imaginative and original, was basing her favorite Harry Potter choice on a tumblr meme.

This troubled me, because what the hell.  Anyhow I decided that I wanted to talk to her more about her choices re: Harry Potter, why she thinks she read them and who she identifies with and why she decided to marathon-read the books before the last movie. (there is some dispute between Jeremy and myself re: the definition of the word 'marathon'. I think the way that Lauryn read the books is more important than how fast she actually read them.  Jer disagrees--the fact that she read, on average, one book a month is pretty normal, and he doesn't think that counts as a marathon based on the speed.)
In the mean time, I'm thinking about my relationship with Star Wars and how I saw Phantom Menace in theatres before ever watching one whole Star Wars movie all the way through. What's that about? Maybe it's the same thing--social pressure to be into something that's hugely popular.  I mean, I've been sending my love Star Wars' way for years now, and I still barely understand what the "War" is actually about. True, my Han Solo-Princess Leia knowledge is a bit above average, and at one time I wrote a paper comparing literary greats to Jedi and Sith, but how can I chastise Lauryn for doing... exactly what I'm doing?
These thoughts, and plenty more, have inspired me to start a series of conversations with my sisters about their relationships with popular literature, particularly Harry Potter and Twilight, and about YA fiction in general.  And so, I am launching a series that is yet untitled, but will consist of myself and my sisters talking about books and movies.
I've got to go back to work, but I wanted to make sure you guys know there are projects in the works (always. I promise) and that I am so super excited about this one I wanted to let you all know about it! Let me know what you want to hear about from me and my sisters (that sounds both cultish and ghetto at once...), and I will do my best to accommodate!

EDIT: Check this out while you're waiting. CAUTION: SPOILERS AND BAD LANGUAGE AHEAD:

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