I love Harry Potter. Not in the “Oh, it’s a ‘fun’ read” love it; I love it, love it. I started thinking about this when I realized that the latest movie installment would be released November 18th. (See, I love it, love it). I realized it after I checked out the website www.gobletoffire.com just to get a few sneak peaks. I especially realized it when my son was wearing glasses and called them his “Harry Pottah” glasses (we only refer to Harry Potter with a British accent in my house).
The whole idea of Harry Pottah mania is so baffling to me because in all fairness, he’s just a wizard on a broomstick that gets in and out of trouble with two of his friends by his side. He’s just a boy wizard fighting crime so what’s all the fuss about? If I had a dollar for every time I thought to myself, “I wish I would’ve thought of this first…” I’d be one rich woman. But I didn’t think of it first, and that’s what brought me to my conclusion.
Kids love Harry Pottah because they are growing up in an age where TV, not fireflies, is keeping them entertained. It seems kids know more about Grand Theft Auto than King of the Hill on snow dunes. When was the last time you saw Red Rover being played anywhere but the schoolyard where PS2 doesn’t come as school-funded equipment? Childhood obesity wasn’t as prevalent when I was at that age because we only came inside when it was snack time or bedtime. Right after school it was down to the bridge to mine for fool’s gold, not picking which prostitute to sleep with then run over (For those of you who don’t know, that’s what happens in the game Grand Theft Auto, believe me, I’m not even good enough to make that up). What an incredible time when kids ask, “What am I supposed to do outside,” when not allowed to come inside.
It seems their imagination is being provided for them. Sure, as my avid game playing husband argues, there have been studies linking good hand-eye coordination from kids who play video games. Sure, there are the cartoons that can be intellectually stimulating and faith renewing. But when do they get a chance to form their own imagination? I can hear the “Debbie Downers” who think the same can be said for books but it’s a different world. When kids read Harry Pottah they put their own voices with it. Their own trusted friends are that of Hermoine and Ron. They picture themselves flying and when they’re reading the books they get lost in a guided world of imagination. It’s like the good old days when we read comic books and leapt off our beds like Catwoman. They are Harry Pottah just as much as I was She-Rah, Princess of Power.
It’s amazing to me how spoiled kids of today really are. With pre-packaged food and toys come pre-packaged imaginations. Just right for your little Mikey and works well for your little Betty too! I’m going to try my darndest to let Trysten explore the world of his own imagination. Reach beyond the corners of what TV can teach him. I ache to watch him create castles out of sand and hear the screams of a midnight game of hide-and-go-seek. I long to hear his version of the book he just read and wait with anticipation at the first time he can utter the beautiful words, “The book is better than the movie.”
Because that would mean I'm doing my job right. Afterall, the book is only a representation of his imagination.