How To Be Brilliant

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Christmas Review #6 of 12

I love J.K Rowling. She is an exceptionally gifted person with passion, wit and humility and I don’t begrudge her a single penny of her alleged fortune. I’ve never met her or corresponded with her or have any kind of relationship with her, other than that I’ve bought seven of her books, seen the occasional clip of footage on the news or magazine programmes and watched the “Year In The Life” documentary that was on over Christmas. As this blog tends to be focussed on things televisual, it is not often that I write about books or films, so Harry Potter is not something you’d expect find round these parts. Time to fix that.

This documentary managed to capture the moment that Jo (may I call her “Jo”?) actually finished book 7, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”, a book that went on to sell over 11,000,000 copies on its first day of release. That is simply astonishing. And she accepts her success with good grace, ackowledges the luck involved and talks about her background and the related inspiration for her creation with understated honesty. She would never mention it herself but it is also worth noting the substantial philanthropic gestures that seem to be a natural part of her personality. The documentary featured a few clips from the movies but I would have prefered if they had lingered more on the Stephen Fry narration on the best selling talking books, so that the audience could have got a sense of the fun and wit in the writing that the films sometimes fail to capture.

It is probably not worthwhile to enter into any plot synopses as surely everyone knows the story of the young wizard. However, the brave decisions to base these “children’s books” around the adult themes of death, love and ending intolerance is evidence of the respect with which her audience are treated. For them, subsequently, to be embraced to the degree that there is evidence that the books have directly increased children’s literacy is testament to their greatness. The success, I suppose, is something of a curse because whatever writing Ms Rowling turns to next will always be compared (probably unfavourably) with her masterpiece and perhaps this is why she recently hinted that another venture into Harry’s world is not absolutely out of the question but only in ten year’s time or so. Of course, if you are one of the seven lucky owners of The Tales of Beedle the Bard, then you’ll have already had a sneaky, extra peek and if I could borrow one for a weekend it would be much appreciated.

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