November 30, 2011

granger and drew

I have numerous favourite books. But my two favourite book series of all time take precedence on a particular section of my bookshelf - Harry Potter and Nancy Drew. I read the first three Harry Potter books when I was 9 and then all of them again (many times) from age 14 onwards and my love for Nancy begun probably when I was 8 and has never ended. 

I came across a quote from J.K. Rowling the other day that says, "I've got two daughters who will have to make their way in this skinny-obsessed world, and it worries me, because I don't want them to be empty-headed, self-obsessed, emaciated clones; I'd rather they were independent, interesting, idealistic, kind, opinionated, original, funny... Let my girls be Hermiones, rather than Pansy Parkinsons. Let them never be Stupid Girls.” 

I love this because the reason I love Nancy Drew is exactly that - she is not a Stupid Girl. She is smart and daring and kind. And so is Hermione Granger. I've been thinking about how much of a pathetic role model Bella Swan is with the release of the new Twilight movie Breaking Dawn recently. Let me clarify. I have not read Twilight and nor do I intend to, pretty much just based on moral principle. I have seen the first movie and have heard the first book being read by means of these (bloody hilarious) videos. I know that that is probably not enough information to form judgment, but I'm going to anyway. I hate Bella because she teaches girls to focus a boy as the most important thing. And when that fails - curl into a ball, cry and ignore the rest of the world. Sure Nancy and Hermione had boyfriends - but it didn't define who they are. There is nothing wrong with romance, what is wrong when your life involves nothing else besides it. 

Everyone knows that Hermione is an 'insufferable know it all' and similarly Nancy's curiosity always leads her to meddle in other's business. But boy you cannot deny their intelligence or their loyalty or the courage. Hermione inspires me that using your brain's full capacity can really only lead to benefit. That being a teenage girl of integrity is far more important that being popular or pretty. (Let's remember that the Hermione in the books is far more disheveled and buck toothed than Emma Watson). Hermione shows us that where you come from doesn't have to limit you - fancy the brightest witch of the age being a Muggle born! And when love seems lost, you just. keep. fighting. 

Nancy conveys that the loss of a loved one (her mother) does not mean you have to spend the rest of your life sad. That justice is worth putting up a struggle for. That sometimes it's okay to just have fun with your friends, and that if you're prepared to put in the effort - you can do anything. Nancy shows that not many things can beat the bond between best friends and that just because you're young, does not mean, in any way at all, that you are inferior.

For those cynics, yes these literary heroines are fictional characters. But whether deriving from real or not - role models inspire you, in the worst of times and the best of times. And that, is better than nothing. Nancy and Hermione, most importantly, show me that the power of the human brain, and the love of the human heart are the most important things we have. I'd rather be a Drew or a Granger over a Bella any day. 

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