I've been seeing headlines about how Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince made something like 50 trillion dollars just in the time it took me to type this sentence. And 25 trillion more just now. And so on. Curious. Apparently there is series of books about a schoolboy who is also a young wizard. And this revenue-record-breaking film is said to be adapted from the sixth of those books. Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson star, along with other, less famous but more established actors, and David Yates directs.
Do I sound detached? Well, listen. I have something to confess to you. And now seems like as good a time as any to say it. I have never seen a single Harry Potter film, nor read any of the Harry Potter books.
You may think this strange given the cultural ubiquity of Harry Potter. And stranger still given that I've been working for several years as a movie critic and a book critic. It is strange. I really don’t know what to tell you.
Maybe it's like living in New York and somehow never managing to go to the Empire State Building or the Statue of Liberty, and always saying how funny that is and you really should do it, like when a friend or relative is visiting from out of town so you have a good excuse, but still letting the years go by without actually doing it.
Except it's not like that.
I'm not trying to be funny, or contrary, or crass. It's not a boycott. I can't say that non-exposure to Harry Potter is a personal goal or an explicit priority. But neither, apparently, is exposure to Harry Potter.
I have sometimes wondered how culturally illiterate this makes me, and how much my cultural illiteracy matters. But I’m starting to think that at this late stage I might just have to let it go. I mean, assuming this stage is late. How many Harry Potter books and movies are there? I don't even know. Well, the stage is late in the sense that I'm getting old. I don’t mean old as in, "Damn kids today, with their wizard movies; in my day, we had Star Wars!” It’s more like, “Wow, life really is short, and there really is so much to read and see.” Such as all the stuff that came before Star Wars. I'm still not even halfway through all that stuff.
Anyway, if I change my mind, or find the time, I know Harry will be waiting for me. Making trillions all the while.