I do not mean to brag. Nor do I mean to set myself as some sort of cultural hipster archeologist, but I have recently discovered a lost treasure among the children’s book aisle in my local critically endangered bookshop. An unknown author by the name of J.K. Rowling has created a series of novels based around a boy named “Harry Potter.” It seems this young lad has lived most of his life without realizing he was a “wizard.” He thought he was merely a “muggle” (which is Miss Rowling’s word for non-magical people). He lives in the magical land of “England” and not only is he a wizard, but quite a famous one at that. He has all sorts of adventures featuring all manner of villains (and allies) that help (or hinder) him on his quests. The series is approximately 73 books long so it should be easy to find. Most of them are quite good, though some of the later books are a little soap opera-ish. My favorite, and therefore the best, is called Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
Not only does Harry Potter live in “England,” but he also goes to a strange European school called Hogwarts where the teachers are also wizards, or “witches,” which is J.K.’s term for wizards who are female. It seems that there are other wizarding schools around Europe because they all get together to have an extremely dangerous track meet called the Tri-wizard cup. In this tournament, many of the teachers sit idly by as the kids are almost drowned and flayed alive by fire-breathing dragons, much like our own schools here in the states during standardized tests, except there are fewer metal detectors.
Speaking of the Dark Mark. The Harry Potter tales feature a very important villain. I forget his name though because all the characters refuse to ever say it. He was the one who forced Harry to live as a muggle when he killed Harry Potter’s parents (oh yeah, by the way Harry’s parents are dead). And in Goblet of Fire You-Know-Who does a lot of killing, which is strange for a kid’s book. Most of the adventure here however, has to do with the tri-wizard cup … and the fact that You-Know-Who might be the mastermind behind it all!
This is also part of the Harry Potter story where we are introduced to a magical item called “portkeys,” which is how wizards travel to the Quidditch world cup. Quidditch being Rowlings term for “soccer.” Though it does take place in the sky, which is one difference from soccer. Another difference being that everything else that does resemble soccer is rendered moot by the fact that if a player catches a magic flying golf ball, that player’s team is awarded a million points and the game is over. To Miss Rowling’s credit, all this hullabaloo about Quidditch is mere sleight of hand to introduce the aforementioned portkey and a certain wizard spell that makes something large fit into something small, both of which pay off splendidly in the finale.
I’ve already said too much but I’ve barely scratched the surface because I haven’t mentioned anything about love triangles, which is a major part of the book. Still all in all, unless your bookstore is as hip and trendy as mine, the Harry Potter stories may be too obscure to find, though they are on Amazon if you really search for them.
Next up … 68!