Harry Dalek

Harry Dalek

This is one of the earlier Daleks I drew for the Dalek Game, and I’m not sure why I used the series title rather than an individual book (I’m not ruling that out as an option just yet!). However, here it is in all its inevitable owlery.

One of the major benefits of the Twilight series is that many people stopped being quite so snarky about Harry Potter. I started reading J K Rowling’s books in… 1999, I think (I remember being delighted to find a copy of the second book in England in February 2000 with a matching cover to my first volume). The books caught hold of many of my favourite things about English children’s novels – the place names, the food, the boarding schools, the irreverent scholarly fun to be had with history and mythology, and the trains.

I did manage to write a research paper on HP (all 3 books at the time, I think) as part of my degree (my lecturers kept trying to get me to write on adult books, but they had all been done). It was titled: “Is Harry Potter evil? The perils of magic in children’s fantasy fiction” and concluded that fantasy was not evil – dangerous, yes, but less so than ‘realistic’ fiction. My mother used that essay to argue with people until I told her she couldn’t criticize people for attacking books they hadn’t read when she was defending HP without reading it, so she read them through the fifth book (she said she had 8 younger siblings and 3 daughters and couldn’t put herself through the angst again).

I had struck a deal with my younger sister that if she went to the medieval fair and read Harry Potter, I would go to a ute show and a B&S ball, but we each stalled on the second half of the bargain.

When the first movie came out, I was still at college. I think we might have worn our academic gowns to the screening but I’m not sure – I do remember that afterwards we went to the UQ boatsheds with chocolate and Baileys and a bucket of candles and sat on the pontoon on the river, watching the CityCats go by.

But my favourite HP memory is that I was able to convince the university to let me spend a whole year reading it and its ilk – Narnia and The Railway Children, Tom Brown’s Schooldays, The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, Carrie’s War, The Famous Five, The Wind in the Willows, The Secret of Platform 13 (the platform I looked for at King’s Cross before 9 3/4 printed itself into the public consciousness) and at least 50 others. My honours thesis was on “The Role of the Railway in British Children’s Novels”, and I had a wonderful time.

In other news: Here are two trailers for books I have drawings in: A Tale of Two Trailers – the first is for the anthology Winds of Change and the second is for Five Historical Banquets, the instigators of whom let me play around drawing little ornaments for my own amusement.

14 thoughts on “Harry Dalek

  1. Heh. I remember your honours year. You were my floor tutor, I think. I recall when you snapped and started your notes-filing system, and showed it off proudly, all on little bibliographically annotated cards in a plastic box. I remember thinking, “That’s extreme. Not on a computer. Practical, but complex.” You were fervently dedicated to it. And you had a wonderful time with the reading, but not so much the PAIN and the ANGST of writing that many words. I am also sure you spent a lot of time getting distracted by reading other books at me. Homeward Bounders and Howls Moving Castle and the Chronicles of Prydain: was that then? And you had a tv, which we habitually invaded your room to watch because the floor telly required everyone to watch with their hands and legs in the air to get reception. Gosh, but college was wonderful!

  2. I’m not a HP fan, but this is wonderful! Last winter I was at the grocery store, and the young bagger asked if I like Harry Potter. I looked with awe, wondering what might prompt that question. He asked about my scarf, it was red, yellow with some white. It’s the colours of my favorite American football team, but also I learned that day, the colours of something connected with Harry’s school. So I guess my favourite part of this is the scarf, especially the length. Lovely addition to the Dalek Game!

  3. oh wow, i come for the dalek game and find so much more … i am working on my doctoral thesis at the moment and, as luck would have it, i am just reading up on railways – my topic is the literary representation of yorkshire and i am just now working on the industrialization and how the buliding of the railway changed things – do you have any good tips for books and articles to read? because i am starting to get frustrated how little i find (perhaps it’s the german libraries, an abundance of things, but not much on railways) – and are any of the books you wrote about set in yorkshire (i still haven’t found them all …)

    anyways, on a different note – i have knitted myself a gryffindor scarf (even before i figured it would be one), which pretty much looks like that – so i’ll not only think of harry potter, when i wear it, but also of daleks from now on – very cool! thank you!

    • Hi Carola. Thank you for your comment, and I am so glad to be able to bring many fandoms together :)

      There wasn’t much on the railway in children’s books at the time, but there was a lot on it in literature generally – and the effect of the railways on the concept of time. I’ll ask my mother to scan and email me the bibliography!

      You didn’t leave a contact, but feel free to email me (mine is under the “contact” link at the top of the page), and I will forward it on.

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