Wednesday 14 December 2016

A Christmas blessing on JK Rowling

Bless you, JK Rowling.

Bless you for writing the fantastic series of Harry Potter books, bless you for getting millions of children reading, and bless you for ensuring that once you passed the baton to Warner Bros to produce the movies, they stayed true to your vision.

But most of all, bless you for writing the screen play for 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them'.

Not only is it a wonderfully entertaining story with a rip-roaring plot, but you created a hero who - how can I put this? - is not your average wise-cracking smooth-talking adventurer who never puts a foot wrong in any given social situation.  Who makes mistakes, and has to clear up the mess, and makes even more mistakes whilst he's trying to do that.  And yes, I know Harry Potter wasn't dissimilar, but at the time I was at a different life stage and the benefits of that went somewhat over my head.

Now, though, things are different.  Now I have a son who, like Newt Scamander, often doesn't really fit in the world he inhabits.

I wish there were another way of putting it, something that sounds less judgemental, but there it is; he doesn't.  And even though I wouldn't want him to - I love his way of looking at the world, his intense levels of focus in subjects that interest him, his disregard for those that don't, his smart and funny observations on what's going on around him, and the deepness of his feelings - there's no escaping the fact that he's not your average, run of the mill little boy.

Whilst I have no doubt that he will, eventually, find his place and his tribe, and that he will be successful not despite his differences but because of them, there's no denying that to watch him trying to find a foothold in the fast-flowing stream that is life as a child in modern Britain can be traumatic, as a parent.  I want to scoop him up and wrap him in cotton wool, to shield him against those slings and arrows - but I know that I can't, and mustn't.  All I can do is equip him with the tools to deal with the world as it is.  And it's hard.

So to be able to go to the cinema to watch a movie with my son where the hero is - at times - awkward, unusual, and somewhat singular is refreshing.  Especially when that hero is someone that my son can admire and empathise with, in a movie that illustrates it isn't always the sportiest, the slickest, the best looking or the most charismatic character that saves the day.  You know.  Just like in life.

I'm sure it all went straight over my son's head; these things usually do.  He's only a boy, after all, and it was just a movie.  But it didn't go over mine.

So Ms Rowling, thankyou.  A Christmas blessing on you and yours.