I consider myself to be a very seasonal person. The seasons affect me strongly, change my behaviors, my habits, and my attitudes. Fall still makes me more driven, I think, because it still means the beginning of the school year; gone are the lazy summer days and warm nights of rosés and rums. Winter makes me want to cook a lot, watch shows, and spend as much time with people as possible, to fight the long, drizzly nights. In Spring I am antsy and flighty, eager to travel and move.
But in Summer, I read. More specifically, I give myself the excuse of being able to read fantasy. It’s not yet fall, and I do not yet need to read bios and history books and non-fiction prose. I’m still able to read Salvatore, Rothfuss, Bujold, and, more than anything else, Rowling.
Yep, “Good old J.K!”, as the 11th Doctor said (I hate that scene). I’ve spent most summers since the age of 11 reading the Harry Potter series. Generally when the books came out, I would re-read the series and then the newest book. Then in 2007, when The Deathly Hallows was released, I would just read the series each summer to completion. It’s August, hotter than it has been all year, and I have recently completed the series yet again.
Rowling is not considered highly among fantasy fans, nerds, and the like. My adoration for these books is, I believe, unique amongst my peer group. Plenty of complaints can be made, and have be made, towards the prose, themes, and content of her books. I make no defenses to these criticisms of her novels other than to say they do not affect me. The series does not stimulate me on any sort of intellectual level, and I would go as far to say that no other piece of fiction bypasses my critical lens and affects me on such a personal level as Harry Potter does. I offer no defenses to the criticisms because the novels are, to me, invulnerable, in no need of such defense.
As someone who cares, deeply, about the impact stories have, what people think about them, what we can learn from them, as someone who criticizes, evaluates, investigates every piece of fiction he consumes, it is refreshing to not care about what anyone else thinks about this series. I don’t even care about people seeing the movies which I absolutely loathe more than any other piece of cinema; My reasons for hating the films are, once again, not on critical level, but a personal one. So when I see people who adore the books and the films, which is irreconcilable to me, I am not troubled. My nerd-rage, which in another instance might flair up for people liking something I like, but in the wrong way, stays dormant. I am perfectly content with my own impressions of the books, and no one else can change that for me.
Now this does not mean I do not care about sharing the books. I’m currently sharing the series with someone whose opinions matter very much to me. She has never read the stories before, and in watching her do so, in talking about them with her, I am able to render them anew, see them again for the first time. While I claimed to be neutral on the subject of people watching the movies, I want her to stay away from them, to give her the chance to bond to the books as I have, without the poison of the films invading her pure vision of the characters and settings of the novel. But if she should decide to watch the movies, that is fine; it will not change how they affect me.
I love them, and, for once, that is all that matters.