Thursday, July 21, 2011

Harry Potter

Was pure magic! Spoiler alert, but honestly- shame on you if you don't know how the saga ends. Have you been living under a rock?! Seriously?!

So Harry and I met back during the winter break of my freshman year of college (1999-2000). I was working at Barnes and Noble (which, in case you're reading this in 2015, was something called a bookstore... they used to sell books in actual brick and mortar stores, once upon a time.) Speaking of, Once upon a time... so it was a cold winter and I was working as a barista in the coffee shop of B&N and I noticed a book on a shelf of the New York Times best seller list (this was before they had to make the children's best seller list because Tom Clancy and Barbra Kingsolver got tired of being beaten out by some, scoff, children's author.

Harry Potter.

I had an employee discount. What could it hurt?

It took me about a week to read the first book. I just could not get into it. The writing was good but I preferred female heroines, and the only interesting female character, Hermione, was an insufferable know-it-all. Then the troll went into the 3rd floor bathroom on Halloween and I was hooked. I read the 3 books (that's all that was out) during breaks at work, walking around my parents house, sitting at traffic lights. I cannot accurately describe the devastation when I realised that the 4th book hadn't been released yet. Not only that but they didn't have a release date. Agony.

For books 4-7 I found myself at midnight release parties. By the release of the 7th I was married and had a mortgage. But like all the releases before that I grabbed my custom ordered wand and my Gryffindor tee and mussed my hair a bit to pay homage to the brainy and bitchin-cool Hermione and hung out with tweens, housewives and nerdy adults and waited in line so I could start reading 8 hours before everyone else.

I have since packed up the Harry Potter posters, and the figurines (except the snow globe) but my 3 copies of the series American publication, British publication and French publication all remain on the shelves. As soon as the first hint of fall pushes against the summer heat I find myself picking up The Philosophers Stone and starting a new. Each time I hear the sounds of the train whistle, smell the warm butterbeer and feel the whipping wind at a Quidditch match.

I love these books and these characters so deeply. The movies are good, but as with all movies there are subtle (and sometimes not so subtle ::cough:: House Elf Liberation Front ::cough::) changes made as screenwriters make their own artistic additions. The movies are visually magnificent and although things are not as I pictured them, how could they be? Art is always open to interpretation.

However. There are a few things that happened in the second movie that I'm not pleased about, I still loved it, and cried like a baby, but these oversights seem to me to be oversights, they detract from the story.

1. You do not see Fred die. The death of Fred Weasley is HUGE and to merely happen upon the Weasley family and look down to see a twin and hear someone say "Fred" between sobs does not do justice to the magnitude of that loss. He was fighting side-by-side with his brother Percy, who had just been welcomed back into the fold. He was cracking a joke, as the twins often did, when he died. A smile frozen forever on his face. The movie skips all that. Body. Floor. Crowd of Weasleys.

2. Voldemort/Tom Riddle dissolves when he dies, like Professor Xavier when Jean Grey goes all Dark Phoenix. Poof. Also, Harry curses him which causes him to go poof. Wrong and wrong. Tom Riddle's body lays pathetic and empty and proof positive to the Death Eaters that it is over at the end of the book. For how grand and bad-ass he was while he was torturing mudbloods and muggles he died the same death everyone else dies. Body there, you gone. Also, Harry Expelliarmused Tom while Tom simultaneously tried to Avada Kedavra Harry and the simple non-violent disarming spell caused Voldemort's spell to bounce back, thus causing him to basically kill himself. In the movie Harry looks like the aggressor, and it's not true to who Harry is.

3. No one is watching Harry and Lord VD fight. They walk alone. This makes not ONE lick of sense to me. First because in the book everyone is watching Harry and VD go at it, and second because as I said in #2 The Dark Lord goes poof when he dies. So what's Harry going to do, rush back into the castle and go "Hey guys, I did it! I killed him. It's over, come look..... See that that fleck of dust, that little pile of ash blowing away, that was Tom." He disappeared before. Does anyone remember what happened then? He. Came. Back.
I'm just saying.

So, I loved it. I will totally be asking for the boxed set on Blue Ray for Christmas, but I'm hoping for some extended cuts and some alternate scenes.

Thank you, J. K., for making life feel like magic. Thank you, Harry, for saving the world. And thank you, Hermione, for being a total rocking bad-ass chick! (Thanks Ron, for having a hot sister.)


Kate said...

I agree with everything on your list and I have three things to add that really bugged us. First was that Harry didn't use the Elder wand to fix his old wand before getting rid of it. It would only have taken a few minutes of screen time and I thought it made an important point about who Harry wanted to be going on. I was also bothered by the fact that when Harry is telling his son that the sorting hat will let him choose between Slytherin and Griffindor they left out the "it did for me" line. I'm pretty sure that's the whole point of that conversation and I really don't get why they changed it. I also wasn't happy that they took out the whole evacuation scene and had Professor McGonagall send all the Slytherins to the dungeon instead. I understand that they did it to streamline things but it really messed with the whole "Hogwarts United" thing that was supposed to be going on.

In The Lyme Fight said...

I totally agree, ESPECIALLY about the part where they fight at the end. I found it odd as the battle ensued that they were alone. It's been awhile since I read the book, but surely everyone would want a front row seat for that battle. Then, when he just leisurely walked back into the castle after killing Voldemort, I was like WHUCK? Makes. No. Sense.