Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Back in Time

In case you were wondering I'm in the middle of Harry Potter book four. In the middle meaning page 363 out of 734. It takes a long time to read a book of such magnitude because for starters it's just too big to take anywhere. Not like you can just slip it in your purse on your way out the door in case there's a line at the post office. The book weighs a whopping three pounds. Sure, I might get it read faster if I carried it with me, looking for an opening, but I'd give myself scoliosis from hauling it about in my shoulder bag.
It doesn't have to be this way. The book doesn't need to be 700 pages long. Each book (at least so far) has covered one school year in the life of wizard-in-training Harry Potter, so why is year four twice as long as year three? It's not as if the calendar year has changed. The problem is that Ms. J. K. Rowling in her infinite inclusiveness feels the need to remind her readers constantly of what went on in books one, two, and three.
I may be jumping to conclusions here (which would get me in real trouble if we were still reading the Phantom Tollbooth) but I'm pretty sure that not many folks would pick up what they knew to be book four in a series of novels, especially a book four that's 700+ pages, without having read books one, two, and three. And even on the off chance you haven't read the other three books, is there anyone out there who doesn't know that Harry Potter is a boy wizard? That his parents were killed by the evil Lord don't-say-his-name when Harry was a baby and that Harry lived with his horrid aunt, uncle, and cousin until his 11th birthday at which time he got whisked off to Hogwarts, England's special school for aspiring young witches and wizards?
Enough already. Stop repeatedly telling us how to reach platform 9 and three quarters, describing Harry's scar, going over the rules of quidditch, defining muggle and mudblood, and explaining how the sorting hat works as if we were the incoming class of first year students.
J.R.R. Tolkien didn't spend any time in The Two Towers describing what a hobbit is or why Frodo was dragging some ring all around middle earth.
Of course that's probably because the Lord of the Rings trilogy was initially written as one book but still, you get my point.
Even C noticed.
"Mommy, I'm on page 100 and Harry isn't even back to school yet!"
And on an unrelated, but no less irritating note, why do house elves talk just like Roald Dahl's BFG?
"I is not liking heights at all Harry Potter." That sounds just like the BFG. Pretty soon they'll be whipping up snozzcumbers in the school kitchen and serving them at the Halloween feast.
Woah. I've got to start reading more adult fiction.

song: Back in Time • artist: Huey Lewis and the News

No comments: