Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Loving Harry

The Deathly Hallows arrived at our doorstep on Saturday while Ches was in class. Yosh was thrilled upon finding out that the guy who rang the doorbell was from National Bookstore and he had brought us the last book of the series. (We had previously and patiently explained to him that, no, there will be no more Books 8, 9 and 10.) Now he could complete all seven books and lay them all down on the table, meticulously arranged in his OC way. ( Sigh. The simple pleasures of his young life.) Ches had meant Book 7 to be a surprise advanced fifth wedding anniv gift for me. It's these little things that make you see, without any glimmer of doubt if you've ever had any, that you married The Right Guy.

I met Harry Potter after the Bar, by which time The Prisoner of Azkaban had already been released (I think). I remember how my friends and I left our work in Pacific Star early to watch the first movie version in Rockwell. It was exhilarating to see Hogwarts, Quidditch and Ron's one-of-a-kind scaredy frown come to life in the big screen. That first movie is the best for me so far (altho I have high hopes for Movie 7). When I was pregnant with Yosh, I stayed away from the cinemas bcoz I wasn't immune from rubella and didn't wanna risk getting the disease from someone and giving him any congenital birth defects, but I made a lone exception for Movie 2 (or was it 3). This year, I'm pregnant again, but already protected with the rubella vaccine, so we managed to catch The Order of the Phoenix on the first day of screening in Trinoma, with Ches still haggard from a long trip to Cagayan de Oro, Yosh tuning in only to the fight scenes, and me feeling that the movie fell short of doing justice to the book, altho all in all still providing great entertainment. (The book was a 29th birthday gift from Jon and Malen, no doubt after much nagging or maybe even a bit of blackmailing from me.)

And now Book 7. Book 7 exceeded my wildest expectations. It was brimming with drama and action, and unforgettable moments involving the characters who have become as familiar to us as our own siblings. There was the great escape from the evil-kneevil Bellatrix at the Malfoy Manor, the battle in Hogwarts, Ginny's 17th birthday kiss for Harry, Ron's and Hermione's first non-platonic snogging. I loved the theme of the out-powered good wizards waging a heroic fight versus the almighty Death Eaters. I loved that the story showed that there was another side to Dumbledore and Snape, and even previously one-dimensional characters like Draco and the Dursleys. I loved that it was geeky Neville who assumed the role of leader of Dumbledore’s Army while Harry went underground, and was the lone wizard to stand up to Voldemort when the latter presented the supposedly dead body of Harry. Best of all, I loved that the most heartbreaking scene was Dobby dying and Harry digging the grave with his bare hands, refusing to use magic to make an easier job of it. Dobby the house elf, that lowest of creatures in the wizard world, was given a funeral as heartfelt if not as elaborate as Albus'. I think these tell us a lot about what kind of person J.K. Rowling is, on top of her being a genius, and shows us how she truly deserved to have come so far from the single mommy who made up the Harry Potter stories just to get her kids to sleep.

The ending felt too happy for me, too movie-ish somehow, and there were loopholes and some questions still left unanswered. But whaddahell. I have no doubt that this series will go the same way as the Narnia and Lord of the Rings classics.

Seven books later, it's hard to believe it has come to an end, and harder still to let it go. But as with all good stories, you know that it will never really end, it will simply be passed on thru the years for many more to love and cherish. So thank you, Harry Potter and all who inhabit your world, and we'll see you all again and again and again.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

City of Lost Toys

Yosh is obsessed with completing the Transformers toys from Jolly Kiddie Meal these days. He’s just finished the entire set of Fantastic Four toys from KFC Chuckie Meal and barely gotten over his angst that he couldn’t complete his Shrek 3 collection from Mcdo Happy Meals, bcoz, as several crew had to explain to him, Pinocchio and Gingerbread Boy are already out of stock. (So now “out-of-stock” is a regular part of his vocabulary.)

His obsession reminded me of a Hetty toy I once had. It was this small doll that doubled as a sharpener. Popsy got it for me together with maybe a cheeseburger or palabok meal from Jollibee. I was maybe in Grade 2 or something, and we were on our way to Pangasinan, just the two of us, for one reason or another. We stopped over in Jollibee in Dau and he got me the meal with the toy. (I don’t even remember asking him for it. I was such a good child, I swear.)

I also recall having this dainty kitchen set, with a small square table and six foldable chairs. They were made of plastic, colored mint green with floral designs. I played it with my little plastic plates and glasses and utensils that I put in this huge vanity box that Mom gave me for the purpose of keeping my toys. Playing house used to be my favorite game. In the afternoons when I’m supposed to be taking a nap, or even sometimes as soon as I woke up in the mornings, I’d lay a sack or two on the ground under the trees and arrange the contents of the vanity box all over it. I’d pick leaves and flowers, pink and red gumamelas, yellow santans, even kamias fruits, and mix them up into the plates and pretend they’re halo-halo or whatever.

I remember too an exquisite Little Twin Stars comb and mirror set that I’m not sure whether I owned or was merely shared with me by my ate. I recall looking in the mirror and feeling I’m not worthy enough to use something so beautiful, that I should save it for when I’m older and grander. I also had this small Chinese-styled cabinet toy, blue with golden scrolls all over it, and little drawers lined with red velvet. It was left to me by one of my cousins who migrated to the States. It was where I put my most precious belongings as a little girl – my seashells and hair clips and my Barbies’ wardrobe.

I don’t know anymore what has become of my favorite toys. I likely gave them away to my cousins’ little girls or one of the kids in the neighborhood who for some reason or another were always hovering around me, like maybe Tintin or Karen. I’m positive I did not throw them out. I’m the type who’d rather keep every little thing (under the bed or at the farthest corner of the closet) until I absolutely have no more space for it, and when that happens what I’d do is try to find someone who might still get some value or derive some joy out of it. And when you give away something you once held dear, you just hope the other person will take a little extra care of it, and maybe see the beauty that once enamored you so.

Of course when I tell him about Hetty Yoshi demands that I produce the toy right away. I tell him I don’t know where she’d gone. And then I remember a Dora episode where she and Boots go off to the City of Lost Toys to find all the dearest toys misplaced by everyone in the gang – Benny, Tico, even Swiper. So I tell Yosh, maybe someday we’ll find Hetty in the City of Lost Toys. Hetty and all my other favorites.

Yosh smiles hopefully. And I know it’s silly and crazy and not to mention I’m way too old to be even thinking about these things, but deep in my heart I am hopeful too.