By Amanda Pizzolatto (alias Aurora Mandeville)
Word Count: 1240
Summary: Amanda takes on the rather dull world of Harry Potter.
We both entered the building ecstatically, fascinated by the idea of a haunted house. What would we find there, what would we see and feel? Would we get any particular kind of activity? Would we get any activity at all? We walked through the house and down into the basement, a cozy den complete with a sofa, a couple of recliners, a couple of tables for games, and a record player. I began to feel uneasy; something wasn’t right, and a sense that something evil lurked in the room came over me.
I turned to my partner, none other than Harry Potter himself, and tried to voice my concerns, but no sound came out. He wasn’t paying attention to me anymore; something else held his interest. I didn’t know what it was until I heard heavy breathing. The sofa had begun to move, going in and out in time to the breathing sounds. The recliners soon joined in, followed by the turning of the record player as its needle began to jump around a record, revealing a haunting scramble of gibberish and laughter. The sense that something evil had arrived and planned on hurting us grew, and I cried out that we needed to leave, but again Harry paid me no mind. Instead, he walked towards the possessed objects as if he too was possessed. I wanted to tear him away, but both my body and a voice in my head told me to run. I did run, and I didn’t look back until I was across the street from the house. There my dream ended, but not before I knew that the house fell in on itself, taking everyone who was inside with it.
Yes, my dear readers, it was just a dream. I’m sure many of you hate such openings, but it seemed the best way to start this. At the time, though, I did think it was merely Harry Potter as played by Daniel Radcliffe who was in my dream, for I never truly saw his face; I only knew him by instinct. As it has been in many such dreams, for even Frodo has visited me, but his presence has been much sweeter and kinder than that one time Harry came. Of course, I do also know that I dreamt it due to a previous conversation with a good friend’s mother, who had forbade Harry Potter to her children because it reminded her far too much of her experiences with witchcraft. I cannot say more, for I promised to keep the rest a secret, but I can say that the incidents had scared her. However, years down the road, I felt that I was both brave and strong enough to face such a threat, especially now that many other friends had deemed Harry Potter safe. I enjoy a good story, so what could I say? Maybe it wasn’t as bad as many others made it out to be; maybe they were reading too much into it, like some people like to do with Lord of the Rings and Chronicles of Narnia. So, I decided to give it a go. I will say this; Rowling is a pretty good author, but by the third book, things were starting to get darker, and for some reason, so was my eyesight. No, I am serious; I must notice anything that goes on with my eyes because I have many problems with them, and it worried me when this suddenly occurred. I decided then and there that I would not read the rest of the books, but I wanted to know what happened next, and eventually watched the movies. That’s when things really started to bother me. What was it with these movies showing a colorless world? It irked me to no end, for I truly enjoy a good splash of color. And what worried me even more was that I was perfectly fine with any old Batman movie, but Harry Potter? Get me to Oz, Neverland, or Narnia quick, or I’d die of Color Loss Syndrome (I know, I made that up, be quiet). It really did feel like all color was being sucked out of me. What in the world was going on?
I have always had a fascination with color and symbolism, so to see such a lack of color in Harry Potter’s world really drove me nuts. I will say this, though: Rowling has at least gotten me fired up to fill my world completely with colors and scents, so much so, that I probably really dipped my toes into fanfiction simply because I wanted to go around Hogwarts and graffiti it, just to add some color. While watching the movies, I actually would think about what colors might look good in those dreary halls filled with children. There seemed to be no light, hence, no colors, and if there were any, it was mostly muted. Previous children’s classics, like Alice in Wonderland and The Neverending Story, had worlds full of colors, scents, and sounds as well as a sense of wonder at the world around us. In Harry Potter, there doesn’t seem to be any wonder, any of the real magic of childhood. It seems more like Harry is simply being primed and readied like a soldier to defeat Voldemort (gasps . . . I said it! Wow, he’s boring, too). Heck, even that glorious light in the sky, our greatest defender against the nightmares and horrors of night—the sun—is barely seen in Harry Potter. And the more I watched, the more I noticed that everything takes place on a cloudy day or in the darkest of night. Having had a Film & Literature class that delved somewhat into themes and symbolism, I began to wonder what the lack of sunlight meant because it was certainly, by no means, a typical England day (they get more sun than that). Was Rowling hiding something? If the sun shone on her magical world, would it melt away like the Wicked Witch of the West?
Of course, I have heard of the theory (that almost seems like fact now) that she wrote Harry Potter as a “revenge story” against her chemistry teacher. But the more I thought about it, the less likely that seemed, though it was perhaps a part of it. Then what? What could it be? Could it actually be because she was, in fact, pulling from real witchcraft—a very, very dangerous pastime? If many knew about that, then yes, parents would have every right to fear for their children. The devil is no mere boogeyman under the bed; he means to do real harm. But was that really the answer? To be honest, I really can’t say, for I have only watched the Harry Potter movies once and have only read the first three books. Perhaps it’s more evident in later books? Perhaps I would notice it if I watched it again and kept my eyes peeled? Quite possibly, but I shall never return to find out. Once was perhaps too much for me; unlike some people, I need a world full of color. So I guess you could say one good thing did come from this. I have never been so grateful for color and worlds like Oz, Narnia, and Neverland, in my entire life. So thank you, Rowling, at least for that.