click to enlarge
Dick Cheney and the Deathly Hallows
Yes, I was one of those 40-something geeks in line at the Barnes and Noble at midnight to grab a copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I always wanted to go to one of those midnight releases but never made it. Since this is the last Harry Potter novel, I had to go Friday.
I got in line as 6 PM to get my bracelet for the book pickup that night, that alone took forever, but it left me just enough time to go see Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I hadn't seen it before and it served as a good review of the book I read some years ago. It also turned out to be one of those films that must be viewed in a theater - trust me, the wizard battle at the end needs a theater. Amazing.
After the movie, I grabbed a snack and went back to the bookstore and ran into two good friends of mine, Amy and Jimmy who were all decked out as Bellatrix Lestrange and Bill Weasley. We all queued for the cash registers at 11:30 and waited and chatted. There were some folks behind me, students from Wake Forest University, who had grown up with Harry Potter. This was there Star Wars.
The crowd started counting down the seconds to midnight and cheers all went up as we arrived at zero. The little girl who bought the first copy was paraded around the bookstore with her book held high. The crowd roared with applause and the kid is probably still grinning.
After I got mine, I read the first page, drove home and crashed in bed. Saturday, I plowed into the book and finished up at 1am Monday morning. My boss is also a big Potter fan and he and I always race to finish so we can dish the book on Monday. Well, the poor chap got saddled with a honey-do list on Sunday and he never made it out of the 500 page range.
The thing that struck me about the book was how Lord Voldemort and his subversion of the Ministry of Magic was so akin to the Bush Administration's destruction of American Democracy with the aiding and abetting of the Neocons in Congress. Fear, fear and more fear and once the populace gets used to that, take away more rights and then really scare the Hell out of everyone. If that doesn't work, just kill some of them dirty, filthy Hippies, er Muggles.
I realize the first Potter book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, came out in 1997 and JK Rowling had no idea America would erupt and plunge down the path to fascism in just a few short years, so I know she had no intentions of setting up the whole series in response to George W. Bush. But I do believe the steps to fascism are more or less the same. The Nazi's, Pol Pot and Stalin all used the same tried and true methods of societal control. My hope is young fans of Harry Potter will consume the series and be able to identify fascism when they come in contact with it in the decades to come.
The Religious Right have always protested the books because they claim the Potter series promotes witchcraft. In retrospect, I think it really reveals how fascist governments are created and how just a few people can fight back and change the course of history.
Reasoned revolution, that is what the the Neocons and their puppets, the Religious Right really fear.