Sunday, July 22, 2007

A deathly hollowness

I just finished the Harry Potter series. I started reading The Deathly Hallows yesterday at about 4 p.m., read it late into the night, then finished up this morning. Seven hundred and fifty-nine pages. Sure, it should have been four or five hundred pages but still. Easy reading.

Those of you who follow chuckling on-line magazine may be surprised since my reading tastes are generally more literary. But I am on record as liking American Idol and you know I have three kids, so it shouldn’t come as that much of a shock. I also have read a lot of science fiction in my life and more than a few political thrillers, so get over it. I’m far more anti-hype than just about everyone else in this country, but I read the Potter books independent of all that. They are adventure stories. Page turners. Kind of like Orson Scott Card’s Enders Game only with a gazillion more words. If it’s any consolation, I realize that the movies suck.

Without the benefit of much reflection, I’d say this last book is the best. To be perfectly honest it’s the only one I liked, though I read them all the same way, practically cover-to-cover in as little time as possible. The thing that makes the last one easily the best is the fact that it ends. Did I mention that they are easy to read? I guess we can go beyond that and say they are hard to put down. At least for record shattering numbers of readers. I know some people can’t stomach them. I am inclined to be envious, but in the end I say fuck a bunch of that snob shit. Hallows is a good story well-told. And it had an ending, which makes it unique among the Potter books.

For those of you who have seen my comments on Alicublog, you know that I am able to separate art and politics. I generally decline to read political content into every book or film and do not judge a work by its politics even when it is unapologetically political. The story is 90 percent of what counts. The technical skill employed in telling the story accounts for the other 10 percent.

That said, Hallows, and the Potter oeuvre en toto, is a transparent comment on the current political scene. Lord Voldemort and the Death Eaters are obviously liberals and Democrats. Voldemort himself is a composite character consisting of the worst attributes of Bill and Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, Barak Obama and Franklin Roosevelt. They are opposed to freedom, equality and economic opportunity. This is excruciatingly demonstrated in their opposition to Fred and George Weasely’s entrepreneurial activities. Harry Potter and his friends represent the neoconservatives. They happily stand up to evil and fight for what’s right. The wizarding government is representative of governments everywhere. They work with the bad guys to stop the good guys.

I, like everyone else, used to think that Harry Potter represented George W. Bush, which meant that in all liklihood Ron was Dick Cheney and Hermione Condi Rice. But now it's obvious that is not the case. Harry and his friends clearly represent the savior and his disciples who have yet to come and will fight the evil liberals, Democrats, and their Islamofascist allies across the globe just as Harry and his friends fight the Death Eaters in the novels.

Do they win? Well, I won’t give away the ending. I'll just say that in art, as in real life, the good guys always win. At least you can read it that way. Can’t you? Huh? Are you one of them? Is that what you’re trying to say?