We’re currently about two thirds of the way through Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, we did have an extended break between the Chamber of Secrets and the Prisoner of Azkaban or the Prisoner of Azkaban and The Goblet of Fire, I can’t remember which, as we started her on the Philosopher’s Stone when she was quite a bit younger and she was speeding to the ‘it get’s a bit dark’ books too quickly but now she’s older we’re working our way to the end (although she does say, after Order of the Phoenix that she wants to read Boy Lacer’s The Enchanted Forest because she’s realised, after years of me trying and failing to sell it to her, that it’s a good series).
It seems to be a common topic of conversation amongst parents of 8-ish year olds round here, whether the later Harry Potter books are ‘a bit too dark’ and from my observations it seems to me that the parents who are only now just reading Harry Potter themselves (as opposed to when they came out originally) are the ones that think it is. Maybe the original Harry Potter fans, many of the older ones (I was in my 20s when I read them originally) now parents themselves, are more keen to indoctrinate their offspring into the wonders of the series rather than the parents who just weren’t fans in the first place. Now you could argue that these parents just ‘don’t get it’ or you could argue that they are the only ones not blinded by fandom. Personally, I think (depending on the sensitivity of the child and obviously each parent knows their own child best) a bit of ‘dark’ doesn’t hurt anyone and there is a danger of being too protective over what your child reads. There is also the increasingly pressing fact, that in a world where so many people know how Harry Potter ends, I desperately want Girl Lacer to discover for herself and not find out from someone else. Already she knows when a certain key character in a later book dies and she found this out from her class teacher (who really should have known better that most of his class would not have read that far yet, specially with all the parents that think it’s ‘a bit too dark’). There’s also things like the Harry Potter studio tour, which would be brilliant to go on but the risk of spoilers would be too high.
So, anyway, after that ramble, what are my three reasons why I love reading Harry Potter to Girl Lacer? *drum roll*
- Reading scenes with Snape in, I love getting to channel my inner Alan Rickman, the way how he pronounces his sentences so carefully and snootily is brilliant fun to read (and Snape’s just brilliant anyway).
- Realising all over again just how brilliant Harry Potter is, it’d been a while since I read the books and now reading them again has reaffirmed that they just aren’t all hype (and they’ve made me think less favourably of one of my recent favourite adult fantasy books, The Night Circus, because I think The Night Circus lacked the structure and coherent universe that Harry Potter has in bucket loads).
- How Harry Potter shows Girl Lacer through the medium of fiction that the world is not black and white, that there is shades of grey and that authority figures can not always be trusted (i.e Professor Umbridge). (I saw this effect recently to when we were watching ET, the kids were confused about whether Elliott and friends were ‘bad guys’ or not, when they get chased by the police in the end, so in that case they learnt that Elliott and his friends appeared to be bad guys to the police but were actually good guys because they were trying to help someone else).