It has been a while since I finished reading the Harry Potter trilogy (of course it’s a trilogy, just like The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Star Wars are trilogies). Not for one moment however did I suspect that since I had last encountered Harry, he had been turned into a rabbit.
Before you call for a straightjacket, let me explain that I recently read “Watership Down” by Richard Adams, and it’s this book which has revealed to me Harry’s incongruous transmogrification. You see, “Watership Down” is a children’s book, or at least I would imagine as much. But it is a children’s book in much the same way that Harry Potter is – which is to say, it’s also a very nice read for adults.
At this point you must be thinking “seriously ?”, and discreetly reaching for the aforementioned straightjacket. Indeed, a story about bunny rabbits hardly represents the epitome of adult literature – in case you were wondering, no, there are no Playmates involved. Yet there is something about this hare-y tale that makes it a real page-turner. I dare you to give up on Holly, Fiver and their pals once you get started. And that’s why I’m pretty sure that one of these fuzzy bunnies must be Harry Potter in disguise.
Backtrack a few years, and everyone was crazy about Mr. Potter. So much so that after a few years of hearing the praises of Harry and friends, I finally decided I should have a look and make myself an educated opinion on the subject. Also, it just happened that I was out of books to read, about to set off for a few days of relaxing holidays, and that my girlfriend conveniently had all of the Harry Potter books to that date.
And so I was hooked. I found the first book entertaining, good summer reading, but not much more. I did nevertheless read on in the series, egged on by N., and by the end of the second book found it to be quite a compelling read.
Oddly enough, perhaps, the same thing happened to me while reading “Watership Down”. I started it after once again some quite thorough marketing from N., not expecting all that much from a story full of cuddly fuzziness. Two chapters in, I was back in breathtaking, page-turning, Harry Potter mode.
Now let’s be honest, this is no match for one of the many thrillers that line the shelves of airport bookstores the world over in terms of pure suspense. Contrary to most of those page-turners however, Richard Adams’ novel is extremely well written. You almost need a degree in botany to properly understand all the nuances in his descriptions of the downs and their surroundings. I truly was transported to the lush British countryside, examining every manner of plant, insect and rodent life as if it was I, not the rabbits, who was coming nose-to-nose with them.
And if you thought that the adventures of bunny rabbits would be boring, think again. Hopping along in their footprints brings innumerable obstacles to circumvent, enemies to outwit, and when all else fails, good old paw-thumping fights. Seriously, BigWig and folks would give Voldemort a run for his money, wand or no wand. Makes me wonder if Monty Python’s killer rabbit maybe was real, after all…