Author Archive

Introducing Harry Potter to the next generation

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012 | Author: Marcel

As one grows older (almost 30, for Fawkes’ sake…), one cannot help thinking about the future and everything that goes with it. One such thing, naturally, is kids. Oh, they’re not on the way yet, there’s still a lot more I would like to achieve in my life before I want to focus on the whole concept of offspring. But there are many things I look forward to experiencing as a dad. One of them is taking my kid(s) on the wonderful journey to Hogwarts alongside Harry Potter. I want them to be able to enjoy discovering those amazing adventures like I did. 

I am already sort of planning a schedule on how to space out the various readings of the novels. Because as great as it might be to have all seven books at your disposal right from the get go, there is also an unfortunate downside to it. If I read the first book with my 11 year old, which I consider to be an appropriate age since it’s when Harry himself enters the wizarding world, and assuming he likes it (why wouldn’t he???), the temptation would be immense to just delve right into Chamber of Secrets, then Prisoner of Azkaban and so on… At this rate, we’d go through the whole series in under six months! Compared to the epic 10 years filled with delightful anticipation and speculation most of the current generation got to experience, that would just seem like a wet firecracker, fizzing out after a massive display of Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes best fireworks. 

Not to mention the fact that, while the first 2 or 3 books might be perfect for an 11 year old, things get pretty heavy and complex starting with Goblet of Fire. Arguably, even Prisoner of Azkaban might get a bit intense, or maybe I’m just underestimating 11 year olds on a global scale. But I just don’t see such a young kid fully appreciating the many layers of GoF, the social commentaries sprinkled throughout OotP, the meaning of the death of a loved one, and so on. While we might have started reading at a young age ourselves, we had the big advantage of growing up with the characters, going through the hardships and joyful moments of life at more or less the same pace, therefore maturing enough in time to grasp the deeper meanings of the next book, and the next… 

Truth is, I’m a bit sad that the new youngsters won’t be able to experience the series the same way we did, but no matter what, I wouldn’t want them missing out on this fantastic story that is sure to remain a classic. To our kids, and many generations after them.

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Category: Uncategorized  | 2 Thoughts

Count Voldemort?

Saturday, June 11th, 2011 | Author: Marcel

In times like these, where vampires are trendy again, I sometimes ask myself why we never got to learn more about this particular breed of the living dead in the Harry Potter books. After all, we do know they exist, Harry was even introduced to one Sanguini in HBP. We possess extensive knowledge about werewolves thanks to Remus Lupin. We know they are ordinary people… with a furry problem. But what about vampires? Are they still people or are they considered creatures? There are so many things we don’t know about HP vampires. Sadly, even Newt Scamander’s “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” doesn’t tell us more. I wish I could get my hands on a copy of Lockhart’s “Voyages with Vampires”, I’m sure it would make for a fascinating read. Here is what we do know about vampires in the Harry Potter books : they drink blood, they are repelled by garlic and they hang out in bars (according to Hagrid, who had a row with one of them in Minsk, on his journey to Giant-Land). Not a whole lot, in short.

But let us assume that the most popular lore, namely that they are immortal,  also applies to them. Why hasn’t Lord Voldemort ever sought to explore that particular branch of longetivity? Perhaps because being turned into a vampire actually means to die (and we know he didn’t want that…). Or because even vamps have their weaknesses? Sunlight is not their friend after all, but judging by L-Vo’s pale skin, he doesn’t see daylight often anyway, so that shouldn’t bother him. Stake through the heart? If no one ever even got close to him as a normal wizard, I don’t think he’d be afraid of that. His horcruxes probably wouldn’t work though, and that might irk him. He did mutilate his own sould beyond repair, but at least he still had one. Vampires usually don’t.

J.K. Rowling gave us quite a bit of info on giants, unicorns, werewolves and other not so mythical creatures, but only a handful of tidbits about vamps. My best guess is that they are such a complex subject on their own that she prefered to not go into detail any more than she had to.

And what if a vampire had been introduced as a teacher or even as a mysterious exchange student from Durmstrang? Would he have seduced Hermione, Ginny and the other girls… or devoured them?

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Category: Uncategorized  | 4 Thoughts

Harry Potter : A Life Lesson

Sunday, April 03rd, 2011 | Author: Marcel

Hey, everybody! I’m Marcel, one of the new Potter Pensieve bloggers, and happy to be part of the team!

First things first, and before I launch myself into random ramblings about plot or characters, I’d like to share with you how I discovered Harry Potter and how it changed my life. It was at the end of the year 2002, my mom and brother made the suggestion of going to the cinema to watch “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” one Saturday evening. At that point I had of course heard of Potter (who hadn’t? ) but not really being into the whole fantasy thing, I’d dismissed it as just a fad that would blow over in time. They insisted, however and when I protested that I’d never even seen the first one, my mom drove to the movie rental store and came back at once with the DVD of “Sorcerer’s Stone”. (Or is that “Philosopher’s Stone”? Actually, it was “Harry Potter à l’Ecole des Sorciers”). To my surprise I really liked it and as soon as the credits rolled, we headed to the movie theatre to see CoS. Needless to say, I was hooked! I proceded to buy books 1-4 ASAP because I needed to know what would happen next. Then the wait for OotP began, the anticipation was building almost painfully. I had succumbed to the Potter mania at last, though I was yet unaware of the proportions the phenomenon took mainly overseas. When the fifth book was released, I devoured it instantly, finishing it with very mixed feelings. Not because the book was bad, it definitely wasn’t, but because it was so bleak, the ending so tragic that I could only start speculating about where the series would be heading next.

The wait began again, for both the next book and the next movie. HBP was the first HP book I read in English rather than in French. The experience was drastically different and more enjoyable. Perhaps that is why the sixth book remains to this day my favorite and most re-read of them all. It was only after finishing that one that I started researching what was happening in the fandom around the world. I so discovered the existence of the two most listened to podcasts “Pottercast” and “Mugglecast”, both with huge fan bases of their own, and realized that I was only one among many people obsessed with discussing the meaning of the series right down to every last detail. I felt relief wash over me! The fandom revealed to me so many wonderful and inspiring people that comforted me in the belief that it’s actually okay to be proud to be a Harry Potter fan.

From then on, things only got more intense. The release of “Deathly Hallows” in 2007 brought the book series to an emotional yet satisfying close. Wizard Rock got huge, inspiring many people, myself included, to go about making music the DIY way. Not one, but two musicals were created in honor of Harry Potter. It was revealed that a HP theme park was under construction. The awe inspiring solidarity in the fandom was furthermore revealed when the HP Alliance’s fundraiser for “Helping Haiti Heal” managed to garner over $125’000! This amazing feat made me realize just how much we have to gain by applying to our lives the messages that the books convey : live with love in your heart and respect for others, do not go through life fearing death and forgetting to live, stand united in times of trouble, don’t be afraid to speak your mind.

I will stop here, though I could carry on endlessly about the many things HP has given me. All I know now is that Harry Potter is not merely a story, it is a life lesson.

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Category: Uncategorized  | 11 Thoughts