KATHMANDU, Sept 25: If you are one of those people surrounded by ‘Harry Potter nerds’ who keep making HP references to almost everything, you will slowly start understanding all the Sirius Snape internet memes in no time.
God help you if you are accompanying two of them and there’s no escaping from the arguments on whether or not the character of Dumbledore is ideal and Snape shouldn’t have fallen for Lily Potter.
Obsession of fantasy novels is common among youths, from Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings to A Game of Thorns. “Fantasy is a way to escape from the lives we live. If you follow a series, you tend to get attached to the characters and make your own opinions about them despite what the author makes them seem like,” says 19-year-old Pragya Thapaliya who likes calling herself a ‘Harry Potter nerd’.
Pragya administers three Facebook pages on the JK Rowling’s famous book. “The reason we make pages and join forums is to find other people who are equally crazy about the book, the film and the characters,” she says.
Having read the first book more than a decade ago, Pragya re-reads it time and again. If it is not the entire book she reads but certain passages and chapters that she remembers being moved by the first time she went through it and many more times after that.
Many of these Harry Potter fans will argue that this generation which is often referred to as the Disney generation, is in fact the Harry Potter generation. “We grew up reading these books, watching the films and it has more or less changed our lives,” says another Harry Potter enthusiast Labisha Uprety.
Lord of The Rings trilogy is another fantasy to obsess over for many people. “I read The Hobbit about two years ago and then I started the trilogy later. Since the first read, I have read The Hobbit multiple times. I also keep going back to a few chapters from the trilogy,” says 21-year-old Bivek Suwal, student of Business Studies at St Xavier’s College.
When asked why and what makes him do that, Bivek says, “It is the world that Tolkien created on his own, the world of high fantasy consisting of elves and Elven legends that I find so interesting.”
Marissa Taylor, 20, who is both a Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings fan, says, “The trilogy is epic and Tolkien is a genius. I still feel sad reading the part where Boromir dies trying to save the hobbits and the climax is even better. Frodo feels the effects/ magic of the ring and doesn’t want to destroy it in the end.” It is these excerpts, these different parts of the book that really gets Marissa’s attention every time she comes across the books.
The influence of Korean movies also has been big in Kathmandu over the years. From hairstyles to dressing up, what is portrayed in these films have affected the youths, not only in the Valley but all major cities of Nepal.
19-year-old Elisa Bhandari who completed her +2 in Management from National Integrated College started watching Korean films after her SLC. From Korean television series like ‘Boys Before Flowers’, ‘Heartstrings’, ‘Playful Kiss’ to films like ‘Virgin Snow’, ‘Millionaire’s First Love’ and ‘He Was Cool’; Elisa has watched them all.
Other than Korean films, Elisa follows the TV series like Vampire Diaries and is a ‘die hard’ Twilight fanatic. “I haven’t read the books but I make it a point not to miss a single episode,” she says talking about Vampire Diaries (VD).
“When I first started reading the book in the Twilight series, I found the idea of vampires and werewolves, the fights between them and the juxtaposition of human stories along the same plot very interesting. I was hooked the whole time and I am addicted to it now,” she adds.
Certain parts from Twilight are her favorites, the famous “So the lion fell in love with the lamb...” and “About three things I was absolutely positive… I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him” scenes being a few of them. According to her, it is her hankering for love stories that makes her go back to reading and watching them and “there are so many things we can relate to,” she adds.
Another VD fan, 18-year-old Kritika Lamsal, says “These TV series can be addictive. It is easier if you don’t watch them at all because once you do, it is really difficult to detach from it.”
The last episode ended on such a curious note and the next one is bound to have that climactic ending. And then there’s another twist and it’s the same thing all over again.
Be it Tolkien’s legendarium, Rowling’s portrayal of wizardry or Korean melodrama, each has its own audience who are not ready to leave it to the first watch.
The intrigue of fantasy, over the years, turns into a solace, the happy place that one can always get back to whenever s/he wants.