Posts Tagged ‘harry potter’

If you are familiar with Harry Potter then you know what a patronus is. (If not, check out this explainer.) I like the books and the concept, but also the imagery. So I decided to see if I could work out how to do the glowing-semi-translucent-super-cool-flying-animal effect in Affinity Photo.

I used a modified version of this Photoshop tutorial, and while the instructions don’t exactly translate to Affinity it was close enough to get me in the ballpark.

And of course now all I can see are the bits I’d like to change,* but isn’t that always the way? Next time!

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* Seriously, those wings are way too small. It’s so weird that a mythical Greek creature swapped into a magical wizarding world refuses to obey the laws of physics.

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I am a (very) sporadic diary/record/idea keeper, and the things I write often take the form of notes scribbled on the backs of envelopes or random drafts scattered around my hard drive. This file popped up as I was searching for something else, and I had fun revisiting my first thoughts about Harry Potter. Let’s hear it for the power of magic imagination:)

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March 15, 2000

A few days ago I started reading the Harry Potter books. Started by a single mother in a café on the back of a napkin, these books are the biggest thing since the Lord of the Rings, and written for the same audience – children and their parents. While the author description emphasizes Rowling’s financial need, I would bet that she was also in need of a creative outlet. How often have I done something similar, just to spend time in a world of my own making?

Reading these books, I’m reminded of the value of such stories. Tales of good versus evil are what kids need to frame their worlds, but adults need very much to be reminded of the difference as well, perhaps more so. They make me remember reading at night with my family, breathlessly listening for the fate of hobbits in their battle against a seemingly invincible foe. This, despite the fact that we’d all read the series many times before. Or the way we watched Star Wars (the original, thank you) over and over again on a black and white screen, until the tape wore out. We knew the words by heart, but the story never failed to inspire.

Books for adults often present complex situations and ideas in worlds painted an uncertain grey. But for me, what Harry Potter and others like him give us may be more useful in the end – challenges, yes, but also humor, a sense of wonder and triumph, and in the end, the understanding that lines need to be drawn against evil, and that we can all work towards good.

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Photo by Olya Kobruseva on Pexels.com

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I love this so much I just can’t even say. The idea that a generation of Potterheads and aspiring Jedi and would-be superheroes are tackling the big issues of the day? Absolutely fantastic.

As Time correspondent Charlotte Alter put it,

“This is not just a generation that has grown up with school shootings,” she tweeted, before building her apt analogy. “It’s also a generation that grew up reading Harry Potter.”

It’s everything I love about storytelling and everything I want for society. To those writing the good fight, from Tolkien to Rowling to all of you working to make the world a better place through storytelling…

Thank you.

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8 Courageous Things Harry Potter Fans Did to Fight Real-Life Dark Forces by Katrina Rabeler.

If Harry Potter were a real person, he’d fight child labor, voter suppression, and poverty. Here are our favorite ways Harry’s fans have taken his values from the page to the real world.

For more details on what muggles can do when they put their minds to it, check out the full article at YES! Magazine.

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I planned to avoid the kerfuffle around Lynn Shepard’s call for JK Rowling to stop writing, because the idea that Rowling should quit for the good of other writers is flat-out ridiculous. The sensible approach to scarcity isn’t to fight over the last tiny slice; instead, make the pie bigger. Rowling has certainly done that.

Mark Pryor’s article says most of what I was thinking about Lynn Shepard’s essay, and I was glad to see it come out. Here he is on Rowling: “…authors like you actually bring more readers to our books. More books from you means more readers for us, not fewer.”

I do disagree with a point at the end of Pryor’s article, however. The part where the author says that writers don’t write to make money is an old excuse to explain away economic marginalization: “…writers don’t sit down and write books to make money… We write because we love to share our stories.”

It has been said before but bears repeating: Doctors don’t examine you out of the love of anatomy, plumbers don’t fix your pipes for free. Professional writers are, or should be, the same. Yes, most people can “write” in the broad sense of the word, but very few can do it at professional levels. It’s like dismissing an Olympic sprinter because “anyone can run.”

“…this is the sort of thinking, intentional or otherwise, that gives bad people cover to screw writers with regard to money, and gives uncertain writers a reason to shrug off being screwed.”
John Scalzi

Writers have a lot of motivations, and the pleasure of being read is certainly one. But we also write because (we hope) it pays the bills, because it’s less physically demanding than ditch digging, or because we have something to say. We write to entertain, to connect with other human beings, to understand the world and to communicate what we see. We write to make sense of a problem or an emotion and to pass that knowledge along. We write to provide adventure or mystery or humor or a place of refuge. If we do it well (and that’s what we’re all striving for, is it not?), we give to the reader, not the other way around.

And Ms Rowling does it well.


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Google Maps Street View now features an up close and personal tour through the Warner Brothers version of Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley. If that’s not fun for a Sunday morning, I don’t know what is. Thanks go out to the magical imagination of  J.K. Rowling, and enjoy!

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