After knitting my way through Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone/und der Stein der Weisen (and winding up with a pair of fabulous blue socks), I happened to notice the English audiobook was two chapters longer than the German one.
Couldn’t leave it unheard, now could I?
It turned out to be another hour of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Perhaps it’s too early to say yet, what with just having a small taste of it, currently emerging from a cocoon of writer’s block and still emotionally ragged from 60 episodes of the deeply beautiful Ever Night…
But there was a rickety flying car. And right there, you have four wizards, flying in a car, windows down, middle of the night, where they shouldn’t be. Exhilarating, don’t you think? And the suspense building up to it was quite perfect. J.K. Rowling has written her share of careless cliches…but this was quite something different. The kind of scene I read leaning forward a little bit, knowing that every word fits, every wrong turn is perfectly right. Just the way it should be.
And with that rickety car flying through the night, I had that familiar, fluttery lightness in my chest whisper to me that I might be starting to fall in love.
I was a little concerned something like this might happen.
Please understand, I fall in love with books on a remarkably regular basis. And have my heart crushed almost as often–Cornelia Funke’s claim in Inkheart that books “love anyone who opens them” is rather a beautiful lie. Still, I’m not sure there is anything that makes me so utterly happy as a good story, one I can carry with me wherever I go, and one that carries me away with it, whether I like it or not.
Of course I’ll still remain the stiff, reserved, and cold bookworm girl you could casually drop into the back of a Victorian teatime painting without anyone noticing the difference. I refuse to blindly accept a book as delicious until firmly proven that under no circumstances can I live without it. Harry Potter’s world has not yet done that.
But it might. By a narrow chance. And I think that quiet thrill, the possibility, like distant lightning, is what excites me even more.
Now, you see, I must keep reading.
I made it as far as the Weasley Burrow. That too, I loved at once. The gnomes, the old married couple arguing like an old married couple, the way it felt like anyone who walked through the door would feel as if someone said “Welcome home.” I think I could quite happily curl up in a sunny window there, scribbling in a notebook and just enjoying all of them go about their lives.
And of course there is also my first encounter with Dobby the House Elf. Of course I knew of his existence, what with nerdy graphic T-shirts and Mirkwood crossover memes (think about it, wonderful people, even I found it funny when I had no frame of reference), and a three-foot tall realistic statue on top of a shelf at a small comic con so Dobby could stare down at everyone casually shopping and casually scare me out of my skin with those freakish eyes.
Encountering him in the book is quite another matter. He’s not freakish, he’s charming! Seriously now, if I had the luck to meet an Elf with such good manners and an obviously tragic backstory? Put down the baseball bat clutched in self defense and ask him to stay for tea. An ugly little Elf who clearly broke into my house for unknown motive–
You know, this is strikingly like Hagrid, the almost-kidnapper. And a good many other things in this “wizarding world.” Things that under ordinary circumstances would be horrifying, horrible ideas that would turn out ever so very badly.
But that’s the way of it, isn’t it? Magic isn’t supposed to exist at all. And since we’ve broken that rule, it seems a good many others, sensible, good, sturdy, safe rules, essential for survival in ordinary life, have to go out the window with it.
And that, perhaps, is the reason I might be falling just a little in love most of all.