Thursday, July 31, 2008

'order of the phoenix'

My daughter Evangeline just finished reading "Order of the Phoenix" this morning and it's the turning of an era. (It took her about two weeks to finish, mostly because we made her stop reading so she could eat, go to the bathroom, and get outside.)

A colleague of mine from the school board said she envies Evangeline the opportunity to read the books for the first time and to experience Harry's world as a brand-new thing on her own. For us adults, the magic is still there, but it's imore informed because of all the other fantasy works we've read over the years.

I'll allow Jessica that feeling, but I have to admit that I don't envy my younger daughter Rachel the experience she'll have. By the time she gets to finish the Harry Potter series, all the surprises and cliff-hangers will be part of the cultural white noise. It'll will be lost on her, like Star Wars was.

You see, when "The Empire Strikes Back" came out in 1980, all we could talk about was whether Darth Vader had been telling the truth when he claimed to be Luke Skywalker's father. We argued about it on the bus, over the lunch table in the cafeteria, and in the letters pages of magazines like "Dynamite." We were still arguing about it three years later when "The Return of the Jedi" arrived.

No so my children.

When Evangeline and Ruth saw "The Empire Strikes Back" not long ago, they laughed out loud at Darth Vader's big revelation. Suddenly they understand the joke from "Toy Story 2" when Zurg claimed mid-battle to be the father of Buzz Lightyear. They have no way of appreciating just how unexpected that line was.

It's going to be the same from here on out for children and the Harry Potter saga.

Copyright © 2008 by David Learn. Used with permission.

1 comment:

Zero said...

By the same token, our own generation grew up already knowing "Rosebud" is a sled, "Soylent Green is people", and "To Serve Man" is a cook book.

No doubt your girls will get to be surprised by other cultural plot twists yet to come.

For now though, I'm looking forward to hearing about the adventures of "The Dread Pirate Rachel." (Franchise opportunities are still available!)