Yesterday I saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I for the first time. I plan to see it again. It was good. I was also a little sad about seeing this movie. For a little over a decade, Harry Potter has been a part of my life. When Part II is released, it will be the end of the journey.
I got into Harry Potter as a sort of protest. It was my senior year of college. The first three books had already been published, and the fourth was almost ready to be released. The evangelical Christian fringe decided that Harry Potter promoted witchcraft and began a campaign full of ignorance and deceit to get the books out of the classroom. The real reason for the hatred was because the books were popular and protesting brought those people attention. I had already decided to read the books because I didn’t want to be completely excluded from a clear cultural phenomenon. However, I wanted to wait until all seven books came out first.
The Christian right made me realize that I could not afford to wait, and I found an opportunity to start reading. I was friendly with a graduate student at the time, and I babysat her two children from when she needed help. Both children read the books, but the younger one wanted me to read it to him. (I recently discovered his profile on a certain social networking site, and it depresses me how much older he is. He was such a cute kid. I’m depressed.) As I read the first book to him, I became hooked. I borrowed the first two books (they did not have the third) and read them in a couple hours. I then went out and bought the first three books for myself and read them over and over.
Every time a new book was released, I barely slept the night before. When the book arrived, I would lock myself into an empty room and read. No matter how long the new book was, I finished it within 24 hours of its arrival. Then I would reread the entire series up to that point. What struck me as I got into the later books was how much more mature the tone got. The character grew, and so did the author.
The movies have almost always been disappointments. Unlike the Lord of the Rings movies, the Harry Potter movies do not stand up to repeat viewings, even the best ones. (Also unlike the Lord of the Rings movies, the Harry Potter movies are not as good as the source material. Part of the fun in Harry Potter is the clever writing. Tolkien’s writing is something of a drag even though the story has no peer.) None of the Harry Potter scripts have done a good enough job of translating the novels. To truly understand the movies, one has to have read the books. Otherwise the movies make no sense.
Nevertheless, I saw each one in the theater dutifully, always within a week of the opening. The only films I have seen in the theater over the past few years are from the Harry Potter series (I have lost faith in the movies, but that is for another post.) Often I have seen them twice in the theater. I even saw the last movie twice, and I thought it was terrible
I love Harry Potter, but he is coming to the end of his journey. Christopher Robin went to school, Wendy Moira Angela Darling got married and had children of her own, Jackie Paper came no more to Honalee, and the children that I once adored are growing up into adulthood. Now Harry must wait for the next generation to find him.
And I have to grow a little older again.
Music I listened to while writing this post: Stevie Nicks “Rooms on Fire”; Five for Fighting “The Riddle”; The Seekers “Georgy Girl”; Elton John “The Bitch is Back”; The Beatles “Girl”; Arabesque “Midnight Dancer”; Patricia Klaas “Faites Entrer Les Clowns”; Henryk Górecki “Symphony #3, Op. 36, ‘Symphony Of Sorrowful Songs'” Lento E Largo, Tranquillissimo; John Denver “Dreamland Express”;