I love Harry Potter. I was late to the party though, on becoming one of the obsessed. I was twenty-four to be exact.
I often say,
like here on my About Me page,
that my three most visited topics throughout my mind and my writing are birth, death, and love. At the heart of most of what I write, those are the three subjects that are fueling it all.
The Harry Potter books are about the transformative effects of love, but it is also, in many ways, a book about death, if you look at the books critically. It’s about a villainous wizard who is so afraid of dying that he does whatever it takes to make himself immortal. I understand that, to a point.
It is easy for many young people, as I often hear, to believe that they are invincible and that death is so far off that it’s pretty well preventable. Maybe a cure to death will be found by then, they think. Maybe I can avoid all the darkness of the unknown of death, for myself or those I love.
But is that what we really want?
I had a discussion once, on a long drive home with a boyfriend, about death. There’s the science that’s working to put a stop to the inevitability of death. There’s the discussion about aging and suffering that often accompanies an aging human body. Then there was the added level of disability and medical conditions we both knew a little something about.
Did we want to live forever? We were several decades, ideally, from death. I don’t recall how this conversation came up.
Suicide is heard a lot more about these days, while stigma and misinformation still exist. A sudden or not so sudden end to a life, by choice is a frightening topic for most people. It’s a reality faced, by friends and families, for many of us.
Then there’s the fact that I never had my own brush with youthful carelessness or exuberance in the face of death, thought to be yet many many years down the road of life.
I lost dogs, several by our family’s admitted rotten luck. I’d lost a grandparent when I was ten. It didn’t get any easier with age to accept that I wouldn’t see certain people again.
While most kids are going through puberty I was also going through multiple surgeries. Then my little brother followed my medical path in a similar fashion. I then truly worried for someone else more than I cared and worried for myself. I wanted to take his pain away, add it to my own, still in progress.
As we got older, some of his medical issues became more serious and life-threatening and I feared death more than ever.
I can’t say I ever thought, right as I found myself on an operating table and about to do the paediatric anesthesiologist’s suggested countdown from one hundred, that I might never wake up. I just didn’t think it. I wasn’t worried, in some strange way. I can’t say now how I would feel. I have been lucky to avoid surgery for anything in many years, but I will likely face it again in the future, unless a cure for kidney disease is found in the meantime.
Now I am past losing grandparents. I just lost an aunt. I fear losing my parents. I fear the topic even being breached, as when my father brings it up in a nonchalant manner, as I know he is afraid too.
I live with a lot of fear about many things. I wish this weren’t just one more of those. It is inescapable and Voldemort is just a fictional character, but it’s his strangely relatable characteristics that I found most fascinating as I read, as fear of death is universal. It’s his deeds to avoid it, with how extreme and evil they are, that make him one of the greatest villains in literature, in my opinion.
I would like to write an essay of some kind, but it feels like such a huge undertaking. I feel like it would, by necessity, end up becoming a form of college term paper. I am not experienced with those.
If I did write it, it would be about the theme of death in the Harry Potter books.
Through the obvious, as I mentioned before, but also through J.K. Rowling’s use of other characters and symbols, such as ghosts and a black spectral dog, which when seen in the wizarding world, means death is near.
This isn’t my favourite of the Harry Potter films, by far, even if Emma Thompson is one excellent actress. I just include this clip to show you, if you’ve never read the books or watched the movies before. Though the third book, Prisoner of Azkaban, was one hell of a roller coaster ride when I first read it in 2008.
There’s some connection, a connective circle, as I mentioned dogs above, but I don’t know yet what it all is or what it all means.
I don’t know what that’s like when death looms ever closer, but I have come closer than many at my age and younger often do.
All these myths of black cats bringing bad luck and black dogs bringing news of demise. I will write about these things, as hard as they sometimes are to face, until the day I die.
Finish The Sentence Friday
with host Kristi from Finding Ninee.
Read her feelings on the FTSF prompt for this subject if you can. They are lovely. As for myself, I have been away from this particular Friday prompt for a few weeks now, but I couldn’t resist coming back for this one.