Of course it is happening in your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean it isn’t real? – Albus Dumbledore
The fact that everyone is weighing in on Harry Potter stands as a tribute to the impact the saga has had on us all. There’s no doubt the release of the final movie is most poignant for those who grew up with the series; a span of 13 years for the books or 10 for the movies is huge when you are young. Some of those who picked up The Sorcerer’s Stone in grade school have finished college.
Annie Ropeik, an intern at NPR suggests three adult fantasies for the “Hogwarts Grad.” She calls one of them, The Magicians by Lev Grossman, a cathartic examination of the nature of magic and our relationship to the stories we wanted to live in as kids — required reading for anyone trying to recover from a lifelong love affair with a fictional world. http://www.npr.org/2011/07/14/137802346/3-grown-up-books-for-the-hogwarts-grad
Note the language Ropeik uses, especially the word, “recover,” which suggests that a love affair with a fictional world is something we should fight the way someone “in recovery” uses the 12 steps to fight for freedom from an addiction.
I’ve been sensitive to this kind of nuance ever since one of my psychology professors, a colleague of James Hillman and Joseph Campbell, recommended The Neverending Story by Michael Ende with the comment that, “It’s about our culture’s war on imagination.” Can we graduate from the fictional worlds we have loved and lived in? Should we even want to? According to Hillman, our greatest danger is literalism, the mind that is closed to fantasy, or rather, refuses to see the fantasy in all our realities and the reality of our fantasies.
Today may be a day to mourn the end of an era, but it is also a day to celebrate the gifts we have received from Rowling, the young actors, and everyone who worked on the movies. They have given us an unforgettable world of imagination and dreams where courage and friendship matter, even when the odds are bad, in the struggle of good against evil.