On Imagination

Last weekend I had the pleasure of going to see Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Now I'm a fan in general of Harry Potter; I've read all the books, and now I've seen all the movies. The fact that he's a wizard doesn't bother me in the least. I don't mix him up with reality. I don't think that Rowling's wizarding world is an extension of devil-worship. No; I'm perfectly capable of using my imagination.And I don't think that children are any less capable than I am. If anything, they're more able; anyone who's talked to a child lately will know that the way in which they view the world is a wonderful and magical way.I know this well. I grew up on books brimming with myth and magic, and wouldn't trade that childhood for the world. I read every children's book that appealed to me; and the kind that did so were books in which life was not as dull and plain as it is in the real world. In the worlds of my childhood, carpets flew, people traveled through space, animals talked and toys woke up after the lights were turned off. There were ghosts and imps and centaurs and fauns and winged horses in my life. Monsters inhabited dark corners, and fairies lived at the bottom of other people's gardens. Our garden had a plaster pirate that I just knew used to come to life after dark; his footsteps shook the ground each night, and I kept my eyes screwed shut until the sun came up, because I knew that if I didn't I'd see his eyes, paint and lacquer though they were, peering at me through the windows.I read every colour Fairy Book I could get my hands on. The Bible stories that kept me most occupied were the ones where cool things happened. David and Goliath was fun but expected; what I really liked was when Baalam's ass turned around and spoke to him, or when Hezekiah made the sun stand still. I believed in Santa Claus and Jesus Christ, in ghosts, chickcharnies and magical cats, in rabbit holes and magic mirrors, in Middle Earth, tesseracts, and Narnia.A wizard who went to boarding school would've filled the most ordinary centre of my imagined world.

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