Sunday, July 18, 2010

Gathering Your Wits

Remember back in high school literature class when your teacher would point out all the analogies, metaphors, themes, and innuendo in the classics you were forced to read? If you were like me, you probably rolled your eyes and asked how she could be sure the writer intended all that crap.

I've presented my workshop, A Writer's Guide to Harry Potter, numerous times at both writer and fan conferences, and invariably I get this question from one of the participants. My answer is always "yes," ... probably.

Of course, fans and analysts can get carried away and see subtext where JKR did not intend. But the fact is that Ms. Rowling deliberately played a game with her readers, planting clues and real-life analogies for her witted fans. She's openly acknowledged this in interviews. "I want you to be able to guess if you’ve got your wits about you."

Where we fanatics tend to get off track and see more than is intended by JKR is truly due to the author's own masterly craft. JKR dipped her quill into a very deep mythological well, one from which many other storytellers throughout time have dipped into also. Thus, it's only natural that alert readers can weave a web of connections between all these foretold stories and JKR's Potter, even if the author did not intend the links herself.

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