The Real World Of Harry Potter

The Real World of Harry Potter
©July 15, 2011 by Daven Anderson

The Harry Potter saga has been a significant source of inspiration for my novel, Vampire Syndrome. No, my muse is not Severus Snape. Or Remus Lupin, for that matter. What has inspired me the most is the seamless interweaving of the magical and muggle worlds, and the power with which it bonds to all Harry Potter readers. Would any muggle pass up the opportunity to take one of London’s many Harry Potter Tours? The only downside: you might have to keep an eye on your kids to make sure they don’t smash luggage trolleys into the Platform 9¾ wall or try sneaking into the actual building used for the exterior shots of Gringotts Bank.

The power of blending fantasy and reality worlds is not limited to Harry Potter. Just ask anyone who’s been to Forks, Washington, recently. Before Twilight, you couldn’t have dragged the average young girl there, kicking and screaming. Now, if you’re a parent, your adolescent daughter(s) will drag you there, kicking and screaming. Good thing I have a pulse and my skin doesn’t sparkle, or the ever-present mob of middle-school-age girls prowling the streets of Forks would have ripped me to pieces in piranha-like fashion.

Many of us living in the Denver area write stories based in Colorado. We seem to be following a variation of an ancient rule, in this case expressed as “write where you know.” Why not? It worked for Joanne Rowling. Who among us wouldn’t smile standing next to the “real” Platform 9¾, walking into the Leaky Cauldron, or even driving your rental (excuse me, hire) car over the bridge where the Knight Bus squeezed past the double-decker buses?

Joanne Rowling made the most of her location. So should all other authors. Don’t all authors harbor the dream that people would tour our novel’s locations with the enthusiasm of those currently visiting London or Forks?

My vampire novel is set right here in Colorado. An odd choice? Ten years ago, Forks, Washington, would have seemed just as bizarre. Like Rowling, I make the most of my setting. Does anywhere else in the world have a better candidate for a “vampire” statue than Denver International Airport’s menacing, mysterious Blue Mustang? Conventional wisdom says never judge a book by its cover, but we all know people do anyway! It was a bit more complex to explain why vampires would choose to live in a location with over 300 days of sunshine a year, but I managed. This required some new interpretation of classic folklore. Again, why not? Stephenie Meyer chose cloud-covered, rainy Forks so her vampires could keep their sparkling skins hidden from direct sunlight.

For millions of readers, Rowling made actual locations magical and her fantasy world real. Others’ stories should do the same.

Stephenie Meyer is a great writer

Yes, this is a April Fool’s day post. But Stephenie Meyer is a great writer, no joke. And not just in the sense of selling a lot of copies and raking in the dough.

Only a great writer could have made the powerful connection Stephenie Meyer made with her audience. Bella Swan, Meyer’s unrepentant Mary Sue, became the Mary Sue for millions of young readers around the world. Her success, and consequent repeated criticisms about her skills as an author, demonstrates once and for all that a great storyteller may not even be a “good writer” (in technical terms). Irony, thy name is Twilight.

Stephenie Meyer also inspired thousands of writers to craft their own tales. “Breaking Dawn” had its fair share of good moments. The ending, to me, wasn’t one of them. Upon closing the back cover, I thought, “I could write something better than that.”

Three years later, I have written something “better than that”, in my humble opinion. Of course, “better than that” is subjective. Dewey-eyed adolescent girls and Kardashian-istas won’t think my book is better than Twilight. In contrast, rebellious adolescents and avid fantasy/sci-fi readers (aka: my target audience!) are eagerly awaiting an “anti-Twilight” to come along and blow some cobwebs off the vampire genre.

I don’t define “better than” to mean “more popular than”. Neither does my target audience. 😀

I’ve read countless numbers of books for decades on end, never once inspired to craft my own, until Stephenie Meyer motivated me to get in the chair and type. For this alone, I will be forever thankful to her. And if my novel becomes a huge success, my fans (many of whom would be pre-disposed to hate Twilight) would ironically have to thank her for inspiring me. 😈

Authors gone wild! (I’ll say!)

Here’s a real gem:
Authors Gone Wild! 5 Ways Your Blog Is Out Of Control, by Tamela Buhrke

Section #4, “Take a stand”, is what really caught my attention.

my female characters will never date vampires.
This sentence implies all of her female characters are non-vampires, and that her vampires are all men. Not very realistic odds, considering 51% of the human race is female. This takes the overdone “vampire male romances human female” trope to a new extreme. Said trope was one of the major reasons motivating me to craft a “non-romance” vampire story.

Vampires are predators. I don’t want to encourage women (emphasis added) to lust after predators.
So if men lust after predators, this is okay? 😈
If all the vampires in her universe are male, she is then implying by default that only men can be destructive predators. 😯

Is it because I’m a vampire racist?
Vampire sexist is more like it! 👿

The sparkly-romance vampire people will disagree.
Even in Stephenie Meyer’s universe, females and males deal on equal terms with their inner predatory urges. Bella Swan’s desire to become a vampire makes this a key focal point.
Here I was, thinking “Twilight” was a bit sexist. Compared to Buhrke’s “only men can be monsters” ideology, I owe Stephenie Meyer an apology! (although Edward Cullen is still a Grade-A USDA Choice “waltz-through-Bella’s-bedroom-window-like-it’s-nothing” stalker 😉 …)

All of this is excellent motivation for me to finish my novel about an all-female werewolf pack. 😈
(yes, there are male and female werewolves in this universe…)