Just finished reading “The Dark Is Rising” for what must be the 10th time. It’s a fantasy book from the early 70s that mixed high fantasy, classic English and Celtic mythology, with a young adult, contemporary setting in a rural English village that as a teenager I could closely identify with. Its evocation of the days leading up to Christmas takes me back to childhood better than any other literature. Plus, the hero of the book, a boy in a large family who discovers, on his 11th birthday, that his destiny is tied to a long struggle between good and evil, was incredibly appealing to a young boy wanting to stand out, to be different. That last sentence might evoke another now much more famous character – Harry Potter – but it’s no accident that they are both 11 – not children, not yet adolescent. Still, reading it with fresh eyes it is not without problems – the boy feels less of a hero and more simply a reactor to the events around him – the action between the Dark and the Light painted in broad strokes where things just seem to … happen, without much motivation, not driven by character.