Friday, July 15, 2011


I went with my friend B to see Harry Potter tonight.  It was the last film in the series.  Watching the climactic ending of a cultural phenomenon made me think back to the first Harry Potter film.  Both my kids were young and wanted to see it, so off we went to Hogwarts.

I had no idea what to expect.  I'd seen all the hooplah in the news about Christian protests and boycotting evil witches, etcetera, but having been an outsider all my life and never being particularly evil, I ignored the rants and took the kids.  Movie fanatic that I am, I cringed a bit at the unseasoned young actors but was enchanted by the story.  I kept glancing at my son and daughter in the theater, their blue-glow profiles en rapt upon the screen, and grinned with maternal pleasure.  After the movie was over, we enthusiastically went to a store that sold Harry Potter candy.  I spit out a foul-tasting green polka dot one.  My children were thrilled.  I even bought them chocolate frogs.  We ate them before they could jump away.

As the years passed, I began to go to the movies alone or with friends.  After the first three were done (my favorite being The Prisoner of Azhkaban), both kids had moved out, traveling to different states, but I kept up with Harry.  I watched as the actors grew and improved, I watched the story get darker and more heart rending, I worried about the outcome.  I'd made a vow a decade ago to not read the books until all the movies were done.  That was a tough vow to keep; four years ago, at a town wide garage sale in Briggsville, the local library was selling all the hardback copies for a dollar each.  I nabbed four of them.  Since the town is mostly composed of bible thumping river dunking individuals, the books were in pristine condition.  I doubt most kids would have dared to check one out and bring it home. 

I'm looking at the books now as I type this.  I'm grinning.

The basic story of Harry Potter is good versus evil.  I always like those stories in all their myriad forms.  From comic books to classical literature, good versus evil is a popular and poignant theme.  I love what Gandhi said: that in the end, good always triumphs over evil.  Think of it.  Always.  History has proven that true, even though good sometimes takes one hell of a long time to triumph.  But triumph it does.  Look at me.  Miserable, broken, depressed, abused, suicidal.  Name your poison, I drank it.  I ate sorrow and swilled melancholy.  Self loathing was a popular entree.  I even devoured myself, sneering at any attempt to overcome my own sadness.  But I triumphed.  I told evil to go fuck itself as I began the long road toward coming to the rescue of poor old Becky O'Donnell. 

It's not unlike Harry versus You Know Who.  Insecurity is the dark wizard inside.  We ourselves are the only ones who know how to find all the lingering vestibules that lurk in our screwed up psyches.  But if you don't give up, if you keep on trying to find all those dark corners and clean them out, you'll discover unexpected and unbelievable magic inside yourself.  We're all creatures of light and dark.  The dark's noisier but the light is more powerful.  So good luck against the forces of evil, my friends.  Insecurity, self-loathing, cruelty, broken will.  Flat-nosed and bald, sinister and compelling, seemingly invincible, it'll all turn to dust with the power of your own magic.  So don't give up.  Fight for yourself.  Fight for what's good, even when you can't feel it, even when you're incapable of seeing it.  It's there, waiting to be saved.

And then what a creature of light and magic you'll be!

Take care.

Love, R

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