Victory for Wizards, Feminism, and All Nerd-Kind

hermionegranger.jpg
See, this is a heroine.
I was in Portland this weekend so I missed the great Harry (as in Potter) v. Edward (as in angsty, shiny vampire) debate at the Seattle Public Library. But I take great joy in reporting that the Potter fans successfully defended their champion with the audience voting 120 to 40 in favor of J.K. Rowling's series.

Full disclosure, I'm a little biased. I own a pair of Harry Potter spectacles. While in England I actually went to the restricted section of the library. Just thinking about the John Williams score to the films gives me a chill. When the seventh book came out, I was running a fever but dragged my sorry ass out of bed to wait in line at midnight at an Evanston, Ill. Borders anyway. And as a heads up to my editors, I'm calling in sick July 17 after the midnight showing of the sixth installment at Cinerama *cough, cough*.

I love the Potter series for the adventure and fantasy of it all. I love that the villains are rarely pure evil and the heroes are faulty. The kids act like kids and the longest running romance through the series is totally believable. (Hermione and Ron are pretty much supposed to be together forever from day one, so they treat each other like crap, then get all awkward, then kind of realize they maybe kind of like each other and have no idea how to talk about it. You know, like real people.)

Most of all I love the women in the series, especially Hermione. She's kind of an obnoxious know-it-all but she means well and we're totally rooting for her. See, you can be the heroine and a bookish nerd all at the same time.

Which brings us to Twilight. First a confession, I've never read the books. My problem with it isn't low literature--I adored The Da Vinci Code. But if the reports of obsessed friends and the movie, which I have seen, are any indication--here's how it breaks down: angsty, pale Bella falls in love with angsty, pale Edward. He's a vampire but doesn't drink human blood, though he really, really wants to drink Bella's blood (which is this huge and unsubtle metaphor for sex). There's a bunch of cheesy dialog about masochistic lions and stupid lambs and your own personal heroin (like the opiate). They don't speak like teenagers but they sure as hell act like them, yet we're still supposed to believe their love is uniquely epic and timeless. Predictably, Bella needs a lot of rescuing.

The way I see it is this: quidditch is thrilling, angst is boring, and the last thing women need right now is a role model who's just too weak to resist some dude who looks like he's covered in body glitter in the sunlight. It gives me great joy to know the kids of Seattle get that.

 
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