THE BOY WHO LIVED FOREVER (AKA THE OBLIGATORY HP POST)

Art

It’s over. The final film has been screened. Now what?

As I write this piece, John Williams’s “Leaving Hogwarts” is playing in the background on Repeat One. And while I don’t usually have anything in the background when I write, this instance I feel is the one exception I should make; the particular is dawning on me and fast, it has ended, and I don’t quite think I’m read to face it yet. I want to keep Harry with me for even a little while longer.

I watched Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 in the morning of July 14th, in a cinema almost full despite it being the first screening for the day. I went in with conflicting emotions and went out feeling the same way, if not even more distressed: I didn’t know if I should be glad it happened or be sad that it ended or hyped up with the brilliance and intensity of the film; I was confused; I was emotional; I felt lost. (I remember having sat down inside Powerbooks right after the movie had ended and spent a few minutes in solemn silence; I was sorting out the influx of both unwanted and otherwise emotions that had rendered me stupefied.) However, from the tumult of these ineffable feelings, there was one distinct emotion I knew was certain, sticking up from above.

Powerbooks

And it is this.

It may or may not have been in that part when the logo of Warner Brothers came up. It may or may not have been when the last few minutes of the film rolled in, the Hogwarts Express zooming out of view, the camera focuses on Harry’s face for the very last time and the screen fades to black, or somewhere in between the phantasmagoria; but I knew, as I took to leave from that darkened room, something inside me expire. And it was, I suspect, as many of those who have seen the film suspect as well, the grief of witnessing one’s childhoods end.

There really is no point dramatizing the end and dwelling in the particular: there are already way too many stories similar to this one, and better, that I’m not even going to try. I will, however, tread in that edge bordering that peculiar sadness, as I feel it my duty as a Potterhead. (My editor actually wanted me to write a bright, cheerful piece quite the opposite of this one. And I did write one, or at least, tried. A failed attempt as it turned out, as I was literally papered with false starts and found myself couldn’t circumnavigate toward the bright and the cheerful.)

We have literally grown up with Harry and his friends. The little kids that we were in the summer of 1997 and 1998, thirteen years later, are now no longer the kids we used to be, just as the boy under the cupboard under the stairs are no longer that kid. Dramatic as it may seem, the world Jo has given us are not merely stories we have loved and grown up with; they are as part of us as bad writing is part of Stephenie Meyer, as teen angst is part of Holden Caulfield, as pride and prejudice are pare part of Darcy and Elizabeth. They are stories in which we see reflected the world around us, the society we belong in, the people we know, the virtues of love and courage, the vices of greed and anger, the fallibility of human character, our friends’ lives, our lives. These stories might as well be portraits of us.

Harry Potter and his friends

For years we have been fighting with Harry, loving with Hermione, and laughing with Ron. Seeing all those years come to a close, seeing Harry and the rest of the gang bid us their final goodbyes, like the parting of ways of the closest of friends, is a difficult and sad affair. And it should be. Gone are the days of queuing up for the release of the newest book. There will never be again that hype of seeing the latest film adaptation.

Things, as we knew about Harry and his world, will never be again quite the same. The end has left in us a void no one else could be able to fill but the world Jo has brought to life. A strange and curious grief like this one cannot easily be put to words and explained, but can easily be felt by those who share it. We mourn not only the end of the franchise but for the end of our childhoods as well.

Harry’s story has been told and ended. The phenomenon has finally come to a close. But that doesn’t mean they will be gone; the story of the boy who lived with a lightning bolt-shaped scar on his forehead will remain in our hearts and in our lives. Because the greatest of stories will indeed live in us forever. Jo has said it best: “Whether you come back by page or by the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.”

Story

Harris’s The Writer

Art

The-Writer-Painting-by-Justin-Harris

Nothing helps so much as grabbing hold of a pen and a paper when a writer gets attached to gloomy thoughts, and more often than not, out of the artist’s depression, she pens down a beautifully written prose out of a blank page. Think oven-head-sticker Sylvia Plath.

In his latest work, London-based illustrator Justin Harris, makes use of different forms of media to create a series of illustrations titled The Writer. Each piece in the series showcases an assortment of color which spreads on the canvas, but the faceless figure remains in black and white. Harris presents a two-sided view on the inner workings of a writer—her ability to blow away others with her art, and the battle she faces on getting rid of her inner demons. The rather theatrical illustrations Harris makes draw a distinction between the writer’s cheerlessness against the cheeriness of the creative output.

THE ART OF BOOK DESIGNS

Art

Classic. Let us begin first with the matter of semantics. Classic: from the 17th century Latin classicus, meaning, “belonging to a class or division,” and later, “of the highest class.” Classic, as defined by the Apple dictionary, is “a work of art of recognized and established value”; classic as in a piece of literature whose origin are from over centuries ago, classic as in Moby Dick, classic as in Les Miserables, classic as is Tess D’Urbervilles.

Teenagers have an aversion to classic literature, and sadly some many non-teenagers have, too. It may or may not be because of the unorthodox use of words and sentences and punctuations that filled their many pages, may or may not have something to do with English class making classic novels a required reading, may or may not simply be because they did not grow up reading them.

To be fair, reading a classic book requires of its reader a demanding need of time and patience and commitment and research—unless the book is an annotated version, in which case the research had already been done for you and all you have to do is refer to them. The syntax is difficult to follow, the sentences so labyrinthine it does not take much for one to get lost in them. Another reason why the classics are not as appreciated, and one that is truly unfair, is because it is simply, in the minds of the young, “boring” and “tasteless” and “old.”

Penguin_Classics

But they are labeled “classics” for a reason. They are the best of their class. Their values have been established and validated and recognized for centuries. From the classics sprang forth the books that we now have, from Jane Austen to Ernest Hemingway to Doris Lessing to Stephen King to J.K. Rowling. If there are the books people should be read­ing, they are the classics.

What Ruben Toledo did with the deluxe editions of Penguin Classics changes that notoriously flawed perspective so many people have come to associate with the word “clas­sic.” A Filipino fashion illustrator and artist, Toledo has created beautiful makeovers of the much-loved classics.

He has ren­dered the books’ designs with grotesque, cartoonish illustra­tions, with Toledo’s expertise in fashion illustration lending itself into the mix. The covers are stunningly beautiful and fresh and they still have that distinguishing quality each of the book has possessed for hundreds of years. Toledo com­pletely revamped the idea of classic literature with his fresh take on their covers.

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