It's Been Magical, Hasn't It?

I apologize for my absence these past few days, but we've been busy rewatching Harry this week in order to get ready for our date with Deathly Hallows, Part 2 tomorrow evening.   

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I always thought this day would be a little sad for me.  Along with about half the population of the planet, I'm a huge Harry Potter fan.  When the last book came out, I could say, "At least there are still movies to look forward to...."  And, while I think Jo Rowling (we're on a first name basis, see) still has some fun little bits in store (e.g. Pottermore), basically, this is it.

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For the most part, my entire amorphous twenties can be dated in Harry Potter....

Devouring Prisoner of Azkaban and Goblet of Fire in one sleepless twenty-four hour stretch at Sweet Husband's scary first apartment....walking to class on the most delicious, cloudy Halloween as I listened to Hedwig's Theme for the first time on my Discman (ack! so old!)....taking a very young Sweet Sister to a past-her-bedtime midnight showing of Chamber of Secrets....

Hunting down copies of Order of the Phoenix at midnight with a friend, who was later a bridesmaid in our wedding....being just a little disappointed that I wouldn't be able to see the Prisoner of Azkaban movie the day it came out because we were on our honeymoon in Mexico....trying so hard to keep my poker face with Sweet Husband's family (also all big fans) when we unexpectedly ended up together for his grandfather's funeral the weekend after Half-Blood Prince came out and I had finished the book and no one else had....

Waiting and speculating about things like "Who is R.A.B?" and "Is Snape good or bad?" before Deathly Hallows....the pure joy at finally having the book in my hands and getting to dive in and find out....watching the characters and effects transformed into movies that were visually incredible....watching the actors that played the main characters grow up into really nice human beings....just barely sneaking into the theme park in Orlando before the grand opening, with the Kiddo (at a just-barely-even-there five weeks) stowing away in my belly like a tiny, magical secret....

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So yes, maybe this should be a bit of a sad day....but actually, all I can feel is incredibly grateful and lucky.

I think it's a safe bet that the Harry Potter books will stand the test of time to become classics.  The Kiddo will read them, his kids will read them....and that by itself is something special.  I love to think of my great-grandkids under the covers, wide-eyed, reading about Voldemort's return in the graveyard of Goblet of Fire.  Or having dreams about playing Quidditch.  Or giggling at my favorite lines ("Draco Malfoy, the amazing bouncing ferret....")  Or falling in love with Dobby and Hagrid and Lupin and Dumbledore.  

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But I have one-up on my decendants, because I got to be here for the books' creation--the suspense, the speculation, the waiting two years for one glorious night of reading, the countdown to the release of each movie.  

And, as will happen for the last time this weekend, the fun of getting together every so often--whether for movie or book--with a few hundred people who are just as excited about it all as I am.  The universalness of knowing that, give-or-take a few hours for time zones, millions of fans are sitting down, sharing it all right along with me.

It really has been a magical time.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry_potter_half_blood_prince_dumbledore_potter (Interrupting my normal blogging activities for a moment to talk about one of my other passions--Harry Potter.  The sixth movie, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, was released at midnight last night, so for all you other Potter fans that are readers, let's discuss!)

So much for people losing interest after the last book--apparently Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince made 22.2 million dollars last night!  I was there, of course.  Not much beats going to a Potter movie on opening night in my book.  It's like watching a movie with a hundred of your best friends--lots of cheering and clapping and laughing....and usually some crying too!  

And as for the movie itself....(leave now if you don't want to know)....I was left at the end trying to decide whether it was well-done or not.  

There were changes from the book--perhaps the most changes in any of the movies so far.  I know they have to cut stuff, but this was more like outright substitution than cutting for length--it just didn't make any sense to me at all.  

For example, instead of the "The Other Minister" chapter or the scene at the Dursley's (perhaps some of the funniest in the books), Dumbledore finds Harry flirting with a waitress at a restaurant in the subway because Harry now rides trains for fun?  Then there was this whole weird bit about how Lily Potter gave Slughorn a pet fish?  It was very "WTF?"

The added "attack on the Burrow" scene was scary, but I'm not sure if it was necessary.  The stated reason for adding it was to show how dangerous the wizarding world was becoming, but I think it really would have just been better to do it as Rowling did in the books--with a mention here and there of someone dying or disappearing from Hermione reading her Daily Prophet.

And then Harry and Dumbledore get back to the Astronomy tower after the bit in the cave.  I knew that the battle scene had been left out, and I think that by itself would have been OK, but they also left out many of the lines that are what made that part of the book so poignant.  I so missed Dumbledore's "I'm not worried Harry, I'm with you."  And when Harry gives chase to Snape and calls him a coward, I almost wanted to shout back the, "Don't call me a coward" line instead of whatever drivel Alan Rickman said in its place.
Then Harry goes back to find all the students starting at Dumbledore's fallen body--geez, you don't think maybe someone would have thought to pick him up or straighten him out or something?  I kind of understand why they left out the funeral--most of the interesting parts of that happen in Harry's head, after all--but the funky wand-lighting thing and later awkward conversation between Harry and McGonagall had to take up almost as much time.  Then later, Harry, Ron, and Hermione discuss not coming back to school (again, minus the "We've had time to turn back" bit).  The movie could have ended with Hermione's line that "of course they weren't going to let Harry go hunt horcruxes alone", but instead they start waxing about how beautiful Hogwarts is.  It was just...flat.

But other than the strange changes, the movie was actually really well done.  Slughorn was perfect!  And Tom Felton, whom I've been annoyed with in the past, also did an excellent job of showing Draco's inner torment.  The scene with Katie Bell and the necklace was incredibly spooky.  And the scenes with Ron playing quidditch and the bits showing the teenage romance were just hilarious.  Even Michael Gambon has improved.  Although it only took him four movies to do so, I can't find fault with his Dumbledore at all in this one.

It's kind of frustrating actually, because when the writers and directors work with Rowling's original material--and let the actors work with Rowling's material--they make great movies.  It's like I just want to write a note to (screenwriter) Steve Kloves, 

"Dear Steve, 

J.K. Rowling? Better writer than you!  So use her stuff instead of making up your own, K?  Thanks!"  

Do you think that would be helpful?  :)

Overall, I'm too much of a fan not to like just about any Potter movie that gets made, but I certainly don't think this one was "the best Potter yet" as the critics are saying.  I definitely like Goblet and Phoenix better...and maybe even the first three, although this one was certainly funnier....

Anyone else seen it yet?  Thoughts?

Finite

Hplc_2When I started this blog, my goal was to blog "Harry's last year".  Well, the last year is over, and--sad as I am to end it--so must be this blog. 

I hope those of you who have read along (Hi Stacy!  Hi Pam!) have had as much fun as I have.  And in the words of my favorite character, flaws and all, remember, "Of course it [happened] inside your head . . . but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?"

Goodbye Harry . . . .

Cold Turkey

People have asked me over the past few months if I'm still as obsessed with Dear Harry as I was pre-Deathly Hallows.  To be completely honest, I have to say no.

It's weird, I read the book twice the weekend it came out, had about a week of, "This sucks, it's over," and then I was just done.  I haven't picked up one of the books or watched a movie since.

I still love the story--and it's not that I didn't like the ending.  I'll still go see the rest of the movies the night they come out, buy the DVD's, and keep hunting for those last bits of Potter paraphernalia that I just can't live without.  But it's not quite the same.  I think the suspense was a big part of the fun for me, and now that I know....eh, I know.

However, for those of you still in the throes of obsession--or just looking for something fun--two articles: 

First, what I think may be the last column by Lady Lupin, my favorite editorialist over at Mugglenet, wherein she discusses...oh, too many things to summarize.  It's thoughtful, it's nostalgic, it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. 

Second, courtesy of WikiHow, "How to Get over a Harry Potter obsession"--if you can't quit cold turkey, that is. 

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A few nice bits from here and there....

First a review of Deathly Hallows (kinda-sorta) by Stephen King.  I like reading what he has to say about J.K. Rowling and the Harry Potter books.  As a super-famous author himself, he has a unique perspective, plus sometimes he says things I've thought myself.  For example:

"And so now the hurly-burly's done, the battle's lost and won — the Battle of Hogwarts, that is — and all the secrets are out of the Sorting Hat. Those who bet Harry Potter would die lost their money; the boy who lived turned out to be exactly that. And if you think that's a spoiler at this late date, you were never much of a Potter fan to begin with."

Also, a lovely interview with Evanna Lynch.  Can't you just see her before all the Harry-madness?  I imagine a creative, but kind of odd girl--not unlike Luna herself.  And then she becomes a world-famous actress, not for being someone else, but really just for being herself.  Can't you just see all the "mean girls" at her high school squirming now?

Lastly, a pre-Deathly Hallows interview with Daniel Radcliffe, which would be pretty unremarkable (that is to say, just like all the other interviews with Daniel) if not for a teensy bit at the end where he says, "Alan is the only one who seems to know what’s going to happen...."  Assuming he means "Alan" Rickman, I have to say I TOLD YOU SO!