This is bloody annoying. Up until now, I’ve never had to actually buy a Harry Potter book. There was always some kind soul I could borrow it from. My neighbours uptil Goblet of Fire, my grandma for Order of the Phoenix, and Swami the HT Commie for Half-Blood Prince. Which is all well and good, because although they’re worth reading once, they’re not worth owning. Especially hardcover versions when the money could be better spent on Pratchett or Gaiman or Marukami. Still, I’m susceptible to hype and reading it within the first week of release is desirable. Which is why life is painful- there is absolutely nobody in Bangalore I can borrow it from when it comes out.
But it’s not all bad. Even without reading the book, I can figure out how it’s going to end.
As I’ve pointed out on my earlier blog, Harry Potter is pretty much mainstream comics in the guise of children’s literature. There are so many parallels. Look at them.
Spider-man: Orphan brought up by his uncle and aunt? Check. Picked on by bullies? Check. Has nerdy glasses? Check. Faces personal tragedy brought on by factors beyond his control? Check. Faces ever more personal tragedy the more he tries to live up to responsibility? Check.
The X-Men: Teenagers possessing supernatural powers? Check. Rebellious teenagers in conflict with authority? Check. One elderly, supportive authority figure? Check.
Besides the parallels with specific comics, there are parallels with comics in general. Both the Harry Potter books and comics have become darker over time. Both have resorted to the wanton slaughter of supporting characters. Both of them indulge in elaborate universe-building. Both have fans who are extraordinarily fond of dressing up as characters. You get the picture.
Based on this insight, one can come up with several likely scenarios of how it’s going to all pan out in Book 7.
The Green Lantern Version: Harry goes home to the Dursleys, and discovers Ginny Weasley’s dismembered body parts in the refrigerator. Tragically, Dudley eats them in a fit of hunger.
The Incredible Hulk Version: Hagrid is so angry at Dumbledore’s death that he swells to thrice his already massive size, turns green, and destroys Hogwarts while shouting ‘Hagrid smash! Puny wizards cannot hurt Hagrid!’
The Batman Version: Voldemort attacks Hermione, who is left paralyzed for life; and beats Ron Weasley to death. Wormtail breaks Harry’s back. Neville Longbottom impersonates Harry until his back is healed, calling himself Azrael Potter.
The Frank Miller Batman Version: The book is narrated in the first person. The word ‘I’ is never used. Harry drives a tank to Hogwarts and has a fist fight with Voldemort with five hundred Death Eaters watching.
The Spider-Man Version: It turns out that Harry is not who he thinks he is but a clone of himself. The original Harry is called Ben. Halfway through the book Ben mysteriously disappears and Harry reappears with no reference to the preceding ten chapters. Everyone in the Muggle world knows that Harry is a wizard.
The Preacher Version: Through a series of comic incidents, Voldemort’s new body is reduced to tatters. Harry and Ginny have sex. Ron is cursed to tuh luh thuh. Sirius Black meets Voldemort on the throne of Heaven and kills him with a pair of Colt .45s.
The Sandman Version: We are introduced to Harry’s long-lost sister, who is a cutie. Harry is gloomy and morbid throughout the book (okay, nothing new here). At the end of the book, his sister helps him to commit suicide.
The Transmetropolitan Version: Harry does drugs throughout the book. He calls Ron and Hermione his filthy assistants. He has a one to one conversation with Voldemort which he secretly transmits to the Muggle World. Voldemort is then arrested by the London Metropolitan Police.
The Fables Version: At the beginning of the book, Harry is shoved aside by Bigby Wolf. Bigby then tracks down Voldemort and kicks his ass. This is because there is nobody more badass than Bigby.