Daily Archives: Thursday, 21 July 2011

The Thing About Harry Potter

Harry Potter

I went to see HP7, pt.2 on Tuesday with one of my friends. It was… hard… tragic… emotionally exhausting… and I’ve never even read the books. It was clear to me that Harry was just… tired of fighting, tired of feeling like he was making his friends fight. He wanted it to be over, and I could feel the heartache he felt when he looked at his wounded and dead friends sitting in the rubble that had once been Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. I couldn’t help but wonder: what was Voldemort getting out of this? I mean, he wanted to rule the world, I guess—and he hated Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived—but it seemed like he’d lost sight of his goal as was just acting out in hatred against the only person who could—was forced to—take it: Harry Potter. Where did Tom Riddle’s life go so wrong that he had to create an army by intimidating his followers and attacking a school, for god’s sake? We were supposed to hate him, but in the end, I just pitied him.

I didn’t understand some of it: I didn’t understand Narcissa Malfoy’s apparent interaction with her son, Draco; I didn’t really understand all the back story that Harry learns about Professor Snape after shit goes down; I didn’t get why and how the Death Eaters had captured Hagrid; I didn’t understand some of Harry’s conversation with Professor Dumbledore in King’s Cross Station, or really how and why they’d ended up there and not somewhere else; I didn’t really get all the characters except for probably the top five or six; I didn’t fully understand Harry’s use of the Resurrection Stone; and what was that thing with the snake? it’s suddenly important, now?; and so on. I did understand, however, that I would have understood all those things if I’d read the books. And I didn’t need the “19 years later” epilogue, either. It was tacked on and completely unnecessary. It may’ve been a good way to end the book series, but movies are much faster paced and I, at least, didn’t need the “see? everything turned out okay” moment at the end.

The first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, was published in June 1997, when I was 12; and the last film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part 2, was just produced this month, July 2011. That’s almost 15 years of magic. I bought my sister each of the novels as they were published. I was even pulled over after buying Order of the Phoenix (I remembered the cover was blue, so I looked up which US title that was, haha) because it was after midnight and I didn’t have the car’s lights on because I’d forgotten because the street was so well lit. I frantically told the police officer that, no, I was really wasn’t drunk, I swear, and I was just getting my little sister the most recent Harry Potter book (I even showed it to him, as if that would prove anything). Whatever the reason, he seemed amiable and let me off with a warning. ^_^;;

My sister and I went to see the first movie when it came out in late 2001 and the first thing out of her mouth (that I remember, anyway) about the film after it was over was, “There was no potions room!” She was devastated—at least as devastated as a 14-year-old can be about a film adaptation completely cutting out her favorite part of the novel upon which it was based. In the film, the three kids have to successfully traverse multiple rooms with tests in each: they pass the cerberus, Fluffy; get the key from the room of flying keys; and play a life-size version of Wizard’s Chess before Harry can get to the room with the Philospher’s Stone in it. Getting past Fluffy was almost a fluke, the key room was Harry’s test, and the chess room was Ron’s. In the book, there was also a potions room that was Hermione’s test, but it wasn’t in the movie. As far as I can find, it was cut out of the script (or was never in it in the first place) before filming even began, so it’s not like it’s a deleted scene or something.

I decided right then and there, after my sister’s disappointment was made clear, that I was not going read any of the books until the last movie was produced because I had liked Philosopher’s/Sorcerer’s Stone and I didn’t want to be disappointed by future movies after having been spoiled by reading the books.

When I was living in New York, I bought a complete series hardcover box set from the UK (not cheap!) in anticipation of reading the books (and not the edited down US versions, either) once the film series was complete. When I moved home, I put most of my stuff in storage, including the box set. So, I have the books (sort of); I’ve seen all the movies. Part of my brain says I should sit myself down and READ, and then another part of my brain says, “But you have no access to the books right now.” /sob

Well, I’ve waited this long—14 years! I can wait a little longer, right?

Harry Potter is about confronting fears, finding inner strength and doing what is right in the face of adversity. Twilight is about how important it is to have a boyfriend.” —Stephen King