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Abra Kadabra AlakaNOPE

I want to get into Harry Potter; honestly, I do. On the surface it seems to have everything I would want in a story; deep mythology, rich backstory, complex world building, strong prose, imaginative imagery, and delicious drama. Then to make the pot even sweeter, all of that is wrapped in a little pointy hat for battles of the SUPER SCIENCE known as magic. Really, the only strike against it is the basically high school setting, but I am willing to let that pass for a good told story. I have seen all the movies more than once; however they have not clicked with me in a way I feel they should. Initially, maybe it was because I never read the source material to create that bond and excitement I am expecting? So, to prepare for planned eventual readings, whenever I would meet someone knowledgeable of the franchise I interrogated them and devoured all tidbits of the universe I could in what I was hoping was laying as much ground work as possible. It was in these talks where I learn what may be keeping me for connecting or even allowing myself to read the books. In this fictional world magic in humans or the lack thereof is an inborn attribute inherited and carried on by "dominant resilient genes.”

It was in this fact that I finally saw what has been keeping me from investing in this universe. In principle, I do not like the concept of magic being predetermined by a genetic factor. Not because of any separation of fantasy and science nonsense, but for a simpler reason. Genetic excuse for powers may work for the X-Men, but that is not how I like my super sciences. I am used to role playing games and other instances in fiction where magic is a trait that anyone can learn with enough time and sweat. Now people I have spoken to that are huge Harry Potter fans like the genetic explanation because it makes the magic special and some might feel that is how magic should be otherwise everyone would be spinning twenties on broomsticks. That is a weak argument and faulty comparison at best.

Having magic being able to be learned by everyone equally does not make magic any less special or wondrous. Every person can swim, but most people cannot. Everybody can sing, but not everybody can carry a tune. Anyone can learn astrophysics, but not everyone is going to. I am not saying I want in the world of Harry Potter or any other fictional universe for everyone to be able to cast magic missile but I do like for the potential for it to be present. True some can learn or be more adaptable to magic than others, but I enjoy the thought that anyone can obtain the trait and that the characters we follow are specifically adept at using it. Admittedly, it is a small nitpick, but so far it has created a huge barrier between this particular work and myself.

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August 2013


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