Finding Platform :
The Idea of a Different Reality
GARETH B. MATTHEWS
We picture the actual world—indefensibly—as the one solid,
vivid, energetic world among innumerable ghostly, faded,
wispy, “merely” possible worlds.
Some of the most exciting stories we can read introduce us to a reality very different from the humdrum world with which we are so familiar. To get to this different reality the characters in these stories may travel, or be taken, to some far distant place, perhaps to a place on the other side of the world, or to a planet in outer space. Or the characters in the stories may discover, perhaps quite by accident, some magical point of entry, such as a special kind of mirror, or a secret door.
We could call such stories “metaphysical,” since metaphysics is that branch of philosophy that concerns itself with the nature of reality. But the stories are not themselves works of philosophy. What they do is raise, sometimes in gripping and unforgettable ways, intriguing questions about whether there might be realities very different from anything we have ever experienced.
It will be useful to compare the Potter stories with two other popular story series, one American and one English. The American series, by Frank Baum, is about the Land of Oz and the English series, by C.S. Lewis, is about a place called Narnia.