Wednesday, October 12, 2005

I've got HP6!

Although it sounds like a mutant strain of the herpes virus, HP6 actually stands for Harry Potter Six, otherwise known as Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I started out tonight with the intention of writing about Taylor Behl, the bright and beautiful 17-year-old who was murdered recently in Virginia. But I couldn't do it. I couldn't face the thought of talking about one more dead girl. One more wasted youth. One more senseless tragedy.

I started to think about how overwhelming the news has become. Earthquakes, hurricanes, subway terrorist threats. Millions of people evacuating their homes and images of dogs roaming in packs, desperately trying to survive the fallout from Katrina, lingered in my mind. I used to be a news junkie. I read two newspapers a day. My TV was permanently set on CNN, since I grew up in the US.

Now, I find myself watching Comedy Central and shying away from shows like CSI and Law and Order. I'm spending more time reading lighthearted books and talking to people on the phone. I need to get away from death and destruction because life is all about balance. We never read headlines that say, "Woman left home at 7:30 a.m. and arrived back at her apartment safely as usual that evening." Of course, that's the norm but it's not newsworthy. Even those who are affected by violence -- or should I say, especially those who are affected by such horrors -- need some humor in their lives. Something creative, fun, different and not terribly cerebral.

More than 25% of JK Rowling's fan base is adult. I began the Potter series in order to have something to discuss with my young nephew, but I quickly became addicted and I've read all six books. One thing about the Half-Blood Prince that impressed me is that there was a lot of media hype about one of our favorite characters dying at the end of the book. HP6 was released on July 16 and I was convinced that someone would spoil the surprise by telling me which one of my Hogwarts' favs had departed. (Yes, I can't escape death even in Harry Potter!) But I must say that no one was rude enough to ruin the book, so it came as a shock when I learned that #@#@#@#@# had magically passed on.

All of you Potter fans know the sheer joy of escaping to Diagon Alley; for those who have never traveled on their broomstick or apparated, I would highly recommend it. My only complaint about Rowling is that she tends to be quite wordy, but I'm usually content to let her ramble and sad as hell when her magnificent stories end.

Sigrid Mac

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