Living the story

Poor Millie’s love for the Harry Potter books suffered a bit of a setback last night.  When I got home from work she was in the living room with the Lovely Melanie.  They were just about to go to bed, having almost finished Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire (I think).

Millie looked a bit sheepish because, it turned out, the werewolf scene near the end had scared the living crap out of her!  She was genuinely scared when they were reading it, and the Lovely Melanie hadn’t noticed – it hadn’t even crossed her mind that Millie would be scared by a story.

I can’t remember the last time I was genuinely scared by a book. Stephen Baxter‘s Flood had a lot of sobering concepts and implications that stayed with me for a long time after I finished reading. But scary enough to make me stop reading? No.

I saw something similar during the earlier Quidditch game in the same Harry Potter, where Millie literally couldn’t sit still: she was bouncing up and down in breathless excitement, absolutely caught up in the story.  It’s a fascinating thing to see – particularly as both her mother and me are such big readers, but it’s a long long time since I got physically caught up in a piece of fiction like that.

The Tree of Life posterTerence Malick‘s The Tree of Life was the last piece of entertainment I saw that had any kind of similar effect upon me.  But these days, sadly, it only tends to be horror films, such as Paranormal Activity, that achieve this.  Which is perhaps why I enjoyed The Tree of Life so very very much (because it isn’t a horror film).

But books?  No, not for a long long time.  Which isn’t to say I no longer love reading, because I most emphatically do; but I tend not to live the stories I read any more.  Fortunately, Millie now does that for me.

Surprisingly, Millie didn’t have nightmares about the Harry Potter werewolves.  In fact, there didn’t seem to be any after-effects at all!  She went to bed afterwards and went straight to sleep…



  1. Hmmnnn…yeaahh…not been scared by a book since reading The Shining a long long time ago.
    Carrie was pretty scary as well.
    What a nice parent-child moment

  2. Last reaction to a book like this was the second or third Game of Thrones book where I had a pure moment of fierce joy and exhilaration because a) What happened was so RIGHT for the character and so bloody well written b) It was genuinely sudden, unexpected and YOU GO GIRL !. I punched my hand in the air and cried YES! (in the middle of the cafe at work no less – much to the amusement of my fellow coffee drinkers) and then had to read the chapter again 3 times just to fully appreciate it 🙂

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