Wednesday, September 22, 2010

"Because I Have Something Worth Living For!"

I loooooooooooooooove Harry Potter. I can't even count the ways that I love it. I grew up with it, and my understandingand appreciation grew too. It's so interesting and fascinating and moving on so many levels. And not fake levels like The Old Man and the Sea, real levels like Inception.

The second to last movie comes out in November, and I'm really excited, and a little sad. This really is the end of an era. I mean, it will start again when I have kids and I start reading it to them, but it's the end of Harry Potter's true presence in the world. There will be no more movie premieres or book releases. It will depend on its fans to keep it going.

I remember going to the movies when I was younger and being really disappointed. The movie skipped out on some part of the book that I loved, or it didn't do this one scene quite right. The director moved EVERYTHING. And changed all the clothing rules. And nobody pronounces anything the way I want them to pronounce it.

But as time went on, I began to appreciate the movies for what they really are. The point isn't to be a visual representation of what I read, it's an interpretation. It's capturing the emotions and the story in a different medium, and the transition means it HAS to be different. There's no other way.

It's fun to experience the story in a different way. It's fun to see what another person thought of the story, to see what they think about the characters. That's why fanfiction and fanart is so popular, people want to express how they feel about the Harry Potter universe through what they're good at. And I want to see it. I want to experience it with them. Harry Potter is more than a story because it's connected me to so many people and created a common experience for me with all these strangers. We all cried when Dumbledore died, and we fought over whether Snape was good or bad. We hoped beyond reason that Sirius was still alive behind the veil. We waited with bated breath for that kiss between Ron and Hermione. We felt it all and we felt it together, and for two more movies, we will feel it all again.

J.K. Rowling once described Harry Potter as a love story. When I was younger I really didn't understand how "love" was an ancient magic, how it protected Harry, or really anything Dumbledore ever said. It's been a surreal experience to finally, together with Harry, understand what Dumbledore and consequently J.K. Rowling really meant. It's a love story on so many levels, one J.K. Rowling never could have planned: the love among the fans. We read the books on our own, silently, in our rooms. But we watch the movies together, we watch them in a huge room full of people who all feel the same rush as that bespectacled face comes on screen for the first time. We all get it, and we love each other for it. The energy is contagious.

So when the movie comes out in November, I'm sure I'll be upset that they skipped certain scenes, or that Ginny Weasley is stone cold and not vibrant and witty, but I'll put my nit-picky criticisms aside and enjoy it. I'll get goosebumps as I see Daniel Radcliffe make a triumphant return as one of my favorite heroes, I'll be terrified when Helena Bonham Carter steps on screen, and even though I know where Snape's loyalties lie, I'm going to be skeptical with the trio. I'll love it for what it is and what it's meant to be.

I think everyone feels this way about something. Lord of the Rings, Star Trek, Star Wars, Firefly, Twilight even... we all connect to the characters in ways that we don't connect with other fictional beings. Something about them just resonates with who we are as people, and it makes us want to know more. We want to keep the feeling alive and going, and that happens through other fans. I won't know the 10-year-old sitting next to me in the movie theater that night, but I'm sure we've both read all the books about 3 times. At least. And if she knows what's good for her, her favorite character is Sirius.

Or maybe Snape.

No Dumbledore.

No Snape.

I'm so excited.


  1. That end of an era thing really hit me over the summer with Toy Story 3 (a.k.a. the only movie to ever move me to tears).
    However, I think that sometimes an interpretation of something can be wrong, e.g. Michael Bay's Transformers movies or M. Night's The Last Airbender.

  2. Also, I haven't seen The Last Airbender, but I'm drawing from the people who have told me about it.

  3. No definitely, if the raw emotion and overall feel of the story has not been captured, it feels like a betrayal, but my point was that skipping some parts of the book or doing things differently does not necessarily do that. I think overall the Harry Potter movies captures the books. Maybe not the way I want them to at times, but the acting is always superb, so if nothing else I can always lean on the fact that the characters were definitely all there, even if the story wasn't.

  4. Wow. Spoiler alert. Jeez.

  5. Grindeldore!! : a love story.

  6. We all know that the Sorting Hat is the best character, let's be honest here.

  7. it's been incredible growing up with harry potter and when I reread the books this winter break I appreciated them in such a different way. it's interesting and exciting to see my understanding of harry potter changes as I change. Also, I can't wait for the movies! Thanks for this blog post!