Potter-mania has seriously gripped not only the territory of Russia, but of the whole CIS already. Some man in Ukraine comes to different publishing houses and offers to publish a book called Magician’s Handbook.
The time of such literary trash has gone long ago, however, when the Ukraine publishing houses see this very man, they feel agitated as they immediately start considering the copyright subject. The problem is that when the man offers to publish his Magician’s Handbook, he immediately shows his passport, and the document distinctly says that the name of the man is Harry Zakharovich Potter.
Editor-in-chief of Ukrainian publishing house Folio even had to contact Moscow’s publishing house Rosman, the owner of the copyright for edition of the books about Harry Potter in Russia. But the Ukrainian publishing house got a distressing reply from Moscow saying that if Folio publishes this book, Moscow’s Rosman will institute proceedings. That is why Folio had to give up the idea of publishing the Magician’s Handbook. Ukrainian Harry Potter is an extraordinary personality. He is living in a remote Ukrainian village of Krysino, 50 kilometers from Kharkov. But journalists managed to get even there.
When journalists came to the village and asked where Harry Potter was living, one woman said that before the man changed his name, he was known as Vasily. At that, she supposed that probably the man had stolen money somewhere, that is why he decided to hide from police under an assumed name. Another woman joined the conversation and said that the man bought a house in the village there or four years ago, but the house was so old that couldn’t even be reconstructed. It sounded strange, but the woman said that Vasily was going to open a cryptolistic institute in the village. The women explained that the institute was meant to study the influence of stars upon people. At first, the village administration raised claims against the initiative man, as the latter paid no taxes from his activity. But when he changed the name for Harry Potter and wanted to get new documents, he immediately paid all taxes, which in its turn eliminated all claims of the village population.
The street where Harry Potter bough a lot of land is quiet; a line of one-storey houses is standing to the left, and there is an abandoned lot to the right. A concrete frame is standing alone in the lot. A neighbor of the man for whom the journalists were looking came out of her house. She said: “It was long ago already that Vasily came here, he brought concrete. He said he was going to build a mental hospital in our street. Just imagine, that would be the last straw if we had also madmen in our street!”
Then the journalists had to cover a dozen of kilometers to get to the regional center of Bogodukhovo, where our Harry Potter got new documents. Director of the board issuing passports in Bogodukhovo, Nikolay Nesterenko told: “It has become almost a mania – lots of people wish to change their names. At first, a strange man came and said he wanted to change his name for Osama bin Laden to take revenge on Americans. It took much effort to persuade him to give up the idea of changing the name. Then Vasily Kuzmenko came, the man whom you are looking for. As for the man who wanted to become bin Laden, he looked actually insane, with mad eyes. But the man who wanted to change the name for Harry Potter was a very respectable man by sight. He was mentally healthy, had no problems with police. So, there were no reasons to prohibit him to change the name; that is why he is known now as Harry Potter.
The searches for the Ukrainian Harry Potter lasted for about a month. As it turned out, to find a Kuzmenko in the Ukrainian city of Kharkov was as problematic as to find an Ivanov in Moscow (it is a widely spread name in Russia). When we asked people about Kuzmenko-Potter, some people openly declared the man crazy.
Old acquaintances of our Harry Potter told that everything was OK with Vasily’s head, he was just living in accordance with his new image.
He appeared with a stuffed toy in his hands. As it turned out, an unusual animal was a present to me. Harry Potter said: “Its name is Chmush, it tells stories at night. But recently it became very sad and invents no new stories. So, get it; it may happen that far away from me it will miss me and once again will start writing to me.” A big and slightly stout man, very much resembling my present, seated himself into a dark corner of the darkest cafe that could be found in the center of Kharkov.
He said: “Yes, I am a real Harry Potter. I am very happy that I finally can be myself. When I changed my name, falseness and lies immediately abandoned my life. My inherent motto is: If you can be yourself, never be anyone else! Probably, I am one of the few people who understand too good the strength of Joan Rowling’s texts. That is why I openly declare that magicians are in the greatest danger. The share of us, magicians, in the world makes up just 5%. The church is losing its prospective flock, that is the reason why the books about Harry Potter were several times declared satanic by the church. In South Korea and Germany they were event burnt down, like in the Medieval times.
How did you become a magician?
First of all, I was born in a family of magicians. (But the man immediately recollects and says he is an orphan). To tell the truth, I have too biographies: one is real, and another is imagined. I think that admirers don’t need to know anything real about Harry Potter, it is boring indeed.
In his “past”, pre-fantastic life Harry Potter was a doctor curing sexual problems in a regional hospital. The profession was actually very popular, that is why Vasily’s actual earnings hundreds times exceeded his official wage. This fact in its turn caused problems in the relations with police, which later made our hero to give up the work. Then Vasily became a monk. After a while, he got disappointed with the religion and decided to become a magician writer.
Vasily says that witnessed much barbarity; he admits that there are too many cruel people and wicked magicians in the world.
When Rowling’s books were published, a new fashion sprang up all over the world: children ask their parents to buy owls so that the bird could be not only their companion, but even a postman
Unfortunately, I myself have no owl of my own, I’m still dreaming of having it. To tell the truth, I want to make Harry Potter as popular in this country as Santa Claus. I would be living with my owl in a place similar to Hogwarts, I would open my own school of witchcraft and wizardry. Children would be sending letters to me. This would be a place where I could gather all magicians together.
Did you plan to create your own Hogwarts in the village of Krysino, where you meant to build an institute of cryptolistic?
Doctors cure our bodies, psychiatrists cure our souls, but patients may die of acne on their backs. Only healers can save people. An institute of cryptolistic actually existed in the country before the breakup of the USSR; secret problems were studied there.
For instance, we unveiled crimes connected with power-information nature. It may happen that sometimes normal and healthy people suddenly die without any visible reasons. People used to say in such cases that the man was put an evil eye upon. But we call it a “pid-effect”: it is known that wicked people may get a picture of some man or a negative of some picture, he can cause a really serious damage to him. Certainly you can imagine that I am crazy, but you remember that at the very beginning of our interview I warned that there are just few magicians, or extrasensual individuals, as you wish, remaining in the world.
On the whole, it is a great secret that all texts about Harry Potter are already done, Joan Rowling just passes them through herself. She will complete the fifth book about Potter herself, but she will need help to work on the sixth one. Her seventh book won’t be written at all.
As for me, I have written six books already; one of them was published. It is a manual for young magicians and contains lots of different spells.
When, at the end of our conversation Harry Potter saw a camera in my hands, he got seriously scared. He asked not to take pictures of him, as he was apprehensive that negatives may get to wicked people who will then cast a spell on him. I never guessed that magicians are so fearful themselves, especially it concerns Harry Potter, the bravest magician.
Material prepared by Yelena Kiseleva
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://culture.pravda.ru/culture/2003/4/9/21/6802_potter.html
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