Friday, July 15, 2011

Why I'm not seeing the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows today............

........ although I'd really love to.

I was having nothing to do with this phenomenon when the books started coming out. Then Bob read the first book while stuck at Rome airport during a strike in November 2001. I then started reading them the day after Boxing Day - and had the then 4 books finished by Hogmanay, totally gripped by the saga and the quality of the writing and characters.

A couple of years ago, Anna lapped up the first five books with a similar fervour, but she just couldn't get into the Half Blood Prince.

I have a bit of a thing about reading books before you see the films therefore we haven't seen either Half Blood Prince or the Deathly Hallows part 1.  I could have, but herself has a thing about me watching films we both want to see before she does.

So, I think I've decided to make a compromise - we'll watch the films on DVD in the hope that it'll inspire her to read the books, and then we'll go to the cinema to see the final one. It seems wrong not to see it on the big screen.

My favourite of the books is the Prisoner of Azkaban. I probably fell a bit in love with Sirius. And Lupin. And Snape - but that may have more to do with Alan Rickman than anything else.

Harry, bless him, isn't that great a wizard but Rowling's portrayal of the effects of the expectations on him of his destiny and the losses he's suffered is very moving. Every child feeling isolated and unloved by their parents, and there are more of them than we'd ever like to admit, could feel empathy with him.

The story is so multi-dimensional. On one level, it's about growing up - the normal teenage angst and trauma set in a backdrop of magic, castles, flying Ford Anglias, phoenixes,  werewolves and amazing food. On the other there are dark themes about the abuse of power. The Ministry of Magic is pure evil, Harry's abuse by Dolores Umbridge dark and sinister and the Daily Prophet provides a topical parallel about the inter-relationships between media and government.

But that's why you read the book. You watch the movie to see it all brought to life on screen, to see stunning visual effects and action.

I think we shall go to see the final instalment on my birthday. Because it's Harry's birthday too. I kind of did my grieving for the end of the series when the last book came out in 2007. It's interesting that I've never read it since my first frantic readthrough to find out how it would all end. Usually I'd read them on the day they were published, often staying up half the night to do so, and then almost immediately read them again, more slowly.

There's no doubt that these books have been part of the background of this generation growing up - and I'm sure future generations will also embrace the beautifully written tales of the boy wizard and his friends.

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