Monday, April 18, 2011

Monday is a Neville Fangirl

So, life is crazy hectic right now, and I’m writing this post in what are, perhaps, the only free few moments I’m going to get today. Usually I’d put it off until I got home late tonight, but you all are mean with your punishments! I saw what Carlyn and Casey had/have to do, and I’m not taking any chances!

My musical auditioned last week, and our read through is tonight, and I’ve spent the day trying to put a rehearsal schedule together, which, oh, good Lord is far harder than it sounds. Not only do I have my schedule to work around (which includes the rehearsal schedule for another show that I’m in), I’m also juggling my musical director’s, my assistant director’s, my assistant musical director’s, 38 kids’, and the three facilities we will eventually be rehearsing at. I have detailed conflicts calendars, standing conflict calendars, and ten colors of highlighter, and I still managed to schedule a rehearsal in the middle of my fraternity’s big Spring Masque, and not realize it until five hours later. Oi.

But it’s done, and it’s good, and now, I’m gonna talk about Harry Potter.

Well, first I’m gonna answer Christina’s question about makeup. But then, I’m gonna talk about Harry Potter.

The answer to whether or not I wear makeup is it depends. I own makeup, but I own far more than I usually put on. This is mainly because I’m a performer, and so I own whatever I have to wear when I go onstage – base, powder, blush, lipstick, eyeliner, mascara. But on a day to day basis? Even at my most fancy, I keep it to base, blush, and mascara. I just don’t have time for more than that, and even that only goes on when my skin is particularly bad and I’m going to be around people I feel like I should look nice for. Just the boyfriend or friends or family? Hells, no. My students? . . . Eh, depends on how bad the acne is. On camera? Yes every time, ‘cause I’m  self conscious like that.

So, yeah. Sometimes. But never very much.

And now I’m gonna talk about Harry Potter.

So, my parents read aloud to me long past when people seem to consider appropriate, but I never cared. I love the fact, now that I’m older, that my mother read books to me well into my high school days. And not because I couldn’t read them for myself, just because that was something we did together. My aunt and cousin did, too, and we would recommend books back and forth to each other all the time.

The summer I turned 11, my cousin told me about this book she and her mom were reading, but it had a long, complicated title and I stopped paying attention halfway through. I shouldn’t have. I might have discovered this marvelous series a little earlier in my life. The book was, of course, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. My first real introduction was during our family reunion that summer, when my cousin invited me over to hear my aunt read from it. So the first thing of Harry Potter I ever heard was the midnight duel in the trophy room, and my lasting impression of it was, “Man, Malfoy is the weirdest name for a kid I’ve ever heard.”

I know, right? But there you have it. I knew I had to get the books and read them for myself, if only to clear up all the confusion. So I did. And I’ve loved them ever since.

Part of the magic for me is the fact that I grew up with Harry. We share a birthday month, and I was eleven when I read the first book and 19 when I read the last. I love Rowling’s quirky writing style, and the way that things mentioned just briefly in an early book come back to play such an important role in the later ones. I love the way Rowling uses words and tells her stories, and I loved it long before I learned how to dissect what I loved about it.

Favorite piece of narration? “Just then, Neville caused a slight diversion by turning into a large canary.” - Goblet of Fire

Favorite spoken quote? “Of course this is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” from our own wonderful Dumbledore.

Favorite book? Prisoner of Azkaban, though asking me to choose my favorite HP book is like asking me to choose my favorite mango-flavored item (I will eat mango in any and every form I can get it, to clarify).

Favorite character? Neville Longbottom, and if anyone looks at me with disdain and asks why, I will throw my 19-page character analysis of Neville as an orphaned hero, a child of prophecy, and Harry’s foil at them and make them read it.

Opinion of the epilogue? It was the ending the series needed, and I will defend it forever.

I own two full copies of the series: one in American hardback and one in British paperback, as well as a copy of Philosopher’s Stone in Welsh. Why? Because it was four dollars and I could. I am currently creating my own annotated Harry Potter series and I invite pretty much all of my friends to add to it if they’d like. Deathly Hallows is up to seven annotators, I believe, and Sorcerer’s Stone stands at two.

I don’t know why I love the series so much, except that it has captured my imagination in a way that few other books have. Some of that, I know, is the fandom. It’s huge, so it was much easier to find a niche to fit into and prolong my love. I write Harry Potter fanfiction, quite a bit of it, and I love that there’s so much to work with. There are so many rich and fascinating characters on the periphery of this world that I can go in and explore and build up past what JK Rowling was able to give us. I love the secondary and tertiary characters: Dean, Luna, Draco, Astoria, Percy, Lavender, and the whole next generation. I love looking at this world from their perspectives. I written over 40 stories in this world, and Harry appears in hardly any of them, and Ron and Hermione scarcely more (though they were my entry into fandom, so I do keep going back to them to pay the debt, as it were).

I love Harry, too. Don’t get me wrong. I love him and his story. I love how human and real he is, to the point of having that ridiculous stubbornness and angsty period because, let’s face it, we’ve all been there and gone through that. I love that he isn’t perfect, and is, in fact, far from perfect. I love the way he views being a hero and the way that, in his mind, he just set out to do what had to be done.

But more than that, I think, I love what these books did for reading. I love that they made it cool again, that teenagers were standing in lines for hours in the middle of the night to get their hands on a 500+ page book and sit down and read it. I love that publishers and authors have been trying to recreate this pop culture phenomenon for the past ten years. I love the way Harry Potter brings people together. I’ve already told you that I met some of my best friends because I mentioned to a girl I hardly knew that I wrote Harry Potter fanfiction, and that spawned a three-hour conversation.

And I love that I can disagree with other readers about just about anything having to do with the books –  the epilogue, how awesome Hufflepuffs are, why Harry naming his son after Snape wasn’t crazy, whether or not McGonagall should have turned out to be a Death Eater in the end — and at the end of the discussion still be able to find a common opinion about the books somewhere.

There’s more to my story and love of Harry, of course, but I’ve written enough for now. Plus I have to head to a read through. If you have more questions, ask! And in the meantime, tell me.

Why do you love Harry?

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