Word Worship: Arundhati Roy / by Madeleine

...the secret of the Great Stories is that they have no secrets. The Great Stories are the ones that you have heard and want to hear again. The ones you can enter anywhere and inhabit comfortably. They don’t deceive you with thrills and trick endings. They don’t surprise you with the unforeseen. They are as familiar as the house you live in. Or the smell of your lover’s skin. You know how they end, yet you listen as though you don’t. In the way that although you know that one day you will die, you live as though you won’t. In the Great Stories you know who lives, who dies, who finds love, who doesn’t. And yet you want to know again.

That is their mystery and their magic
— Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things


This quote spoke volumes to me when I first read it in a literature class during my sophomore year of college. I stumbled upon it again recently and felt the same pull to it, but without the context of the story (which is brilliant, if you haven't read it yet), it instantly reminded me of my all-time favorite collection of texts. Can you guess what it is?

In my lifetime, the Great Story has been Harry Potter. I treasure my collection and love introducing it to the littles in my life. I've read the series enough times to ace the hardest quizzes and have dressed up for Halloween more than a few years in a row. I don't expect that I'll ever stop loving the culture of Harry Potter, and I know that my love for it will be something that I pass down to my own children. It sounds cliché, but this story raised my generation, acting as a common thread through the bookshelves of my peers. My copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is so worn that the cover threatens to fall off every time I open it. And despite my ability to practically recite the books line by line, I still devour the series every few years. For me, this Great Story is the most reliable source of literary comfort on my shelves-- no matter how much time passes the story will stay the same. That is greatly assuring to me, and to so many others.