Fonzie and Harry

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"(your house, can tell us the position books occupy in your life), if they are a defense you set up to keep the outside world at a distance, if they are a dream into which you sink as if into a drug, or bridges you cast toward the outside, toward the world that interests you so much that you want to multiply and extend its dimensions through books"
138 Calvino

it is interesting that books can mean different things to different people. Shy people can hide behind books; to others, they are escapes, sort of like therapy. The part about books as drugs is true. Many of us get attached to the characters in the book we are reading. At the end of the book, we are left with a melancholy feeling, wondering how the characters lives continue beyond the pages. Our addiction is fed with a series of books. There is a continous forward; everything is always changing. New surprises are around every bend, and we (carefully) race towards WHAT IS TO BE. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. Nothing lasts forever. An author cannot continually churn out new books in a series. The story will get stale, plots will begin to repeat. This is why long-running series (plural) have to end. It is not the characters that people grew tired of watching; it is the fact that the characters cannot run into an exciting problem forever. Our minds are limited; the writers will run out of steam eventually. Under pressure to come up with ideas, some may think of outlandish situations that do not fit the character at all. In television, this term is called "jumping the shark", coined due to an episode of Happy Days wherein Fonzie waterskiied over a shark (while in his leather jacket, I might add). Jumping the shark means that a series is past its prime; increasinly rediculous storylines make you think,"what the hell?"

here it is; I know you were waiting for it: a Harry Potter reference:

the series, for me, was a bridge. Not into a world I wanted to be, but one that I knew never could be. While Harry's world contains a lot of things I would love to have in ours (flying brooms, invisibility cloaks, the ability to change our appearances at will), there are also a lot of problems with his world. Basically, everyone is walking around carrying a concealed weapon. With great power, comes along someone who abuses it. The abiltites that people in the wizarding world have can be very dangerous when put in the wrong hands. For seven years, Harry lived in constant fear, with knowledge that someone out there was trying to kill him and would keep trying until he succeeded. I would never want to experience that. Harry Potter is a fantasy: full of things that would be really cool to have, but things that would not be practical for society. People abuse guns, and they would probably abuse magic if given the oppourtuniy. For now, I'll stick to a Honda Acura Integra instead of a Firebolt.

Harry Potter had to end. Evil cannot go on forever; sooner or later something has to stop it. The boy could only have taken so much before he would have broken down. Humans cannot go on forever. Since Rowling was writing about humans (albeit fictional ones), she had to be realistic.

There was nothing left. The obstacle had been destroyed. There was a new stasis. The major force got what he wanted: Voldemort was gone, and would never come back. The balance of the world was restored. Without Voldemort, the series would have been about (sort-of) everyday people. No one wants to read a story where Harry goes to work in the morning, putters around the office, and then comes back home to Ginny. Novels are not made up of the ordinary.

After Hamlet died, there was no reason to continue; after the house burned down, Jane and Rochester settled into a normal life; Cosette and Marius got married and Javert was dead; Algernon and John both got their ladies; and Yank got crushed to death by the gorilla; and Alice woke up from the dream. No need to continue.

*Hamelt, Jane Eyre, Les Miserables, The Importance of Being Earnest, The Hairy Ape, Alice in Wonderland


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1 Comments

Rachel Prichard said:

I never looked at books as a form of an addiction, but as an avid HArry Potter fan, I guess Daniella would know addiction in that sense. Books meaning different things to different people is true in so many senses. I know they probably mean more to my mother's genereation than to my own in this digital age. She often tells me read more. It is a question of value I think.

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