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.