My new roommate just spent two days reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. She spent the whole time on the couch. I think she probably ate a few meals during this time and once, while I was stumbling to the bathroom at two in the morning, I was fairly sure I saw her changing her socks. Other than that, though, reading the Potter book was about all she did.
There’s a reason for this: the Harry Potter books are good. This statement is not, I realize, a particularly new or interesting one. And it isn’t a cool admission either. Harry Potter is the anti-thesis of all things hip. For a while, with the early books, you could go with the neo-naïveté of the whole children’s book thing. Carrying a copy of Harry Potter exuded a dorky confidence. It said: I’m above irony – I enjoy wizardry. Now, with gizzillions of copies sold and three blockbuster movies made, the whole Potter thing just reeks of lameness. Mass popularity can ruin a decent kid’s book the same way Oprah’s book club stamp can make even Anna Karenina seem cheapened. (This is not to in any way equate Harry Potter with Anna Karenina. Harry Potter is just an OK kid’s book about wizards, while Anna Karenina has hardly any wizards at all and is, at least according to Oprah, one of the most super books ever.)
My lit snob friends openly mock me for my continued interest in Potter. “You actually read the Potter books?” my friend Jessica said. “No I won’t dress up with you for opening day,” said my sister. “I hope those pyjamas are ironic,” said my girlfriend. But I remain true.
Anyway, I saw the third movie this weekend. It was pretty good. It was dark and stylish and the kid who plays Ron is clearly the kind of hilarious fourteen-year old you would love to have as your charming and incredibly rich nephew. It was fun. The people in the theatre were big lamos though.