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Real Magic

After someone recently tried to convince me that Harry Potter was as good an example of literature as anything, I turned, for the first time to the pages of Herman Melville for comparison.  There was none.  For all her superb story telling, J.K. Rowling doesn’t come close.  In the first few lines of Moby Dick you’re swept away to a salty reality that feels true in every sense.  You long to escape the tyranny of the shores and embrace a mortal challenge in a much more visceral way than you want to watch Harry escape the Dursley’s to attend magic school.

The port would fain give succor; the port is pitiful; in the port is safety, comfort, hearthstone, supper, warm blankets, friends, all that’s kind to our mortalities.  But in that gale, the port, the land, is that ship’s direst jeopardy; she must fly all hospitality; one touch of land, though it but graze the keel, would make her shudder through and through. …

All deep, earnest thinking is but the intrepid effort of the soul to keep the open independence of her sea; while the wildest winds of heaven and earth conspire to cast her on the treacherous, slavish shore.


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