Harry Potter and the Barrel of Money
Editor’s note: It’s Banned Book Week, one of our favorite holiday seasons. The other is July 4th. They both remind us that a little civil disobedience is good for the soul. We’ll feature a banned book or two each day, and probably poke fun at those who would ban them.
We’d like to extend our heartfelt congratulations to superstar author J.K. Rowling on the successful completion of her Harry Potter series, and point out that we are shocked and appalled that some people want it banished because sorcerers are pawns of the devil.
(This is Uncle Randy’s Conscience and we’re here to tell you he’s lying. He has been overheard to jealously call the seven-book series, “Harry Potter and the Barrel of Money.”)
By now everyone knows the inspiring story of Rowling’s rise from a single mother on welfare, shivering in a cold London apartment where she conceived the story ideas and cranked out the first works. It’s a true tale of human passion and perseverance brought to life by the magic of imagination.
(Flapdoodle! This guy and every other keyboard-cranking conehead stays awake at night wishing they’d written even one of these books, or even thought of it. He’s a walking contradiction. Sure they’re great, but every time he sees a display of Harry Potter books he commits at least six of the Seven Deadly Sins. But then, he does the same thing when he sees a ’69 Corvette convertible that doesn’t belong to him – which is every ’69 Corvette.)
Rowling’s accomplishments fly in the face of what’s considered common knowledge in literature – that the book industry is slumping and that people simply do not read the way they did before the advent of television and the Internet. Obviously, if they’re given something they want to read, they’ll read it.
(The same occasionally applies to his columns.)
The conventional wisdom dictates that readers won’t even pick up a book of serious heft, let alone read it. Rowling is to be commended for the strength to stick to her convictions and deliver an artistic work that does not underestimate the intellect of her readers.
(Baloney! He still can’t believe he didn’t think of it or anything like it. If the truth is told, and since I’m his conscience it will be, he had the same series of silly-headed emotional upheavals when he saw the film “Shakespeare in Love.” There he was, sitting alone in a movie theater watching Gwyneth Paltrow throw herself at Joseph Fiennes and boo-hooing that he’d spent all those years studying Shakespeare because he thought it would help him understand women. It didn’t. Shakespeare didn’t understand women either. I thought he was going to go pale and hurl when he realized that Shakespeare had already written the entire movie about 400 years before. All he had to do was collect the parts Shakespeare had provided and put them together. He didn’t, but no one else did either.)
The Harry Potter series has inspired a renaissance of reading in the world’s youth. Those young readers ensure that the glories of the written word will survive and thrive. Kudos to Ms. Rowling. Her positive influence extends far beyond her sphere of characters and their enchanting lives.
(OK, let’s get this straight. J.K. Rowling is a billionaire and he’s not. Every time one of her books came out, agents and publishers all over the world were deluged with book proposals involving magic, muggles and clearly-defined good guys and bad guys, sort of like Clint Eastwood on sorcery instead of six shooters. Every journalist who ever sat through a city council meeting is really outlining a book, not taking notes. The publishers and agents, though, agree with Mark Twain when he wrote, “All reporters think they have a book in them. In most cases that’s where it should stay.”)
As I sip an iced tea (It’s really bourbon) and quietly contemplate and await the final films adapted from the Harry Potter series, (He took a nap) I hope you enjoyed Harry Potter and the Barrel of Money … I mean the Harry Potter series as much as I did.
(OK, he’s telling the truth about that.)
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.