Emily Gilman

Making Stuff Up and Writing It Down Since (Before) I Learned How to Write


Where to begin . . .

Here we are: my first blog entry on my first proper writer Web site. I’m . . . not really sure what to put here.

Actually, no, I am sure.

For whatever reason, there’s been a lot of talk about Harry Potter and Hogwarts houses in my life this week. One friend was upset that she saw tons of Gryffindors but almost no other Slytherins at Arisia this past weekend. Other friends had determined which Catholic order corresponded to each house. Someone turned in a copy of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire at the library where I work and I misjudged how heavy it would be when I first went to pick it up and check it in.

Now don’t get me wrong: I enjoyed the first two Harry Potter books, and I really enjoyed Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban when it first came out. I enjoyed the fourth and fifth well enough. But I never finished the series and I never fell in love with it the way many people have. As far as I’m concerned, that’s cool — I’m sure there are books I’m in love with that are fun but not earth-shattering for other people.

But particularly on the subject of Hogwarts houses, I would just like to state for the record that I am not a J.K. Rowling wizard. I am a Diane Duane wizard, through and through. As such, it feels only appropriate to begin here by quoting the Wizard’s Oath (and from the Support Your Local Wizard omnibus edition that was my first introduction to the series, no less):

It was not decorated in any way. It stood there, a plain block of type all by itself in the middle of the page, looking serious and important. Nita read the Oath to herself first, to make sure of the words. Then, quickly, before she could start to feel silly, she read it out loud.

” ‘In Life’s name, and for Life’s sake,’ ” she read, ” ‘I say that I will use the Art for nothing but the service of that Life. I will guard growth and ease pain. I will fight to preserve what grows and lives well in its own way; and I will change no object or creature unless its growth and life, or that of the system of which it is part, are threatened. To these ends, in the practice of my Art, I will put aside fear for courage, and death for life, when it is right to do so — till Universe’s end.’ ”  (Duane 24)

I think I’ll end there for now, but maybe I’ll come back to the subject of wizardry another time soon. If nothing else, I need to finish the series — I’ve read the first four more times than I can count, and I read the fifth and sixth once each years ago, but that means two books I barely remember and three more to meet for the first time. And of course, if I’m going to do this properly I’ll want to start back at the beginning . . . .

Works Cited

Duane, Diane. So You Want to Be a Wizard. 1983. Support Your Local Wizard. By Duane. N.p.: Guild America Books, 1990. 1-153. Print.