Inspired by this morning’s discussion on Today between Prof. John Sutherland and Will Self about the merits or demerits of Harry Potter, I’ve taken the liberty of imagining a new Harry Potter story written by Self. You can listen to it here.


By Will Self

Harry’s scar, like the brand of an adulterer, throbbed as he looked on with distaste at the shell-suited proles who fed him and longed for boarding school. As some weak, flapping archetype flew through the window and summoned him to Hogwarts, he cantered out onto Privet Drive in all its Ballardian glory with relief. He leapt onto the Knight Bus, only to see its ritually, colonially decapitated Jamaican helmsman steer it directly towards another coming in the opposite direction. “Wizard prang,” said Harry.

As luck would have it, in this Saturnalian world where children wield the wands heedless of Freud, the buses merely merged, and Harry found himself in the company of Ron and Hermione. Hermione’s grotesquely enlarged intellect pulsed as she summoned a spell to take them directly to Hogwarts in the blinking of a bat’s eye: Congestion chargium.

On the wuthering heights of the Hogwarts bridge of sighs, Voldemort dangled the flopping remains of Dumbledore over the edge of the abyss.

As the triumvirate arrived at Gryffindor, offered the password to the animated image on the wall and entered the warm incubator of their leatherine protectors that was the common room, they noticed an eerie silence in the place and sensed that darkness had come early this Christmas.

On the table was a baby cat, pinioned with a letter knife and accompanied by a note, which simply read: “Open me at the close. Sirius.” Ron’s face twisted into the rictus of a tractor-mangled squirrel in echo of the kitten’s plight. “It’s no good,” said Hermione as if suddenly blessed with the facility to ratiocinate, “we’ve got to do what must be done.”

Harry took the knife and weilded it from nose to tailtip, spilling the warm entrails in a single movement as swift as a Nimbus 2000. There upon the table, in the calligraphy of giblets, the augury was clear.

The trio flew at once to the bridge where Harry’s tritely externalised darker self held sway, and chanted together the incantation inspired by the kitten’s last sigh: Applicatum myxamatosis! The eyes of Tom Riddle, cypher, grew rheumy – but so did Harry’s as they merged into oblivion together.

The end.

4 thoughts on “Self-portrait

  1. It’s crude, but I did enjoy the Irvine Welsh one. The winning one was Not Very Good, however.

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