06 August 2007

Thoughts on Harry Potter [HAVE NO FEAR - NO SPOILERS HERE]

For some reason, Beloved went on a Harry Potter kick this weekend. I suppose it's because last Sunday we all got to see "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" at the movies.

Anyway, we watched the first four movies on DVD this weekend, in between doing our other stuff. Having read the books, I've always thought that the movies really did a good job capturing the essence of the story. But Beloved hasn't read the books, and until I had to use the movies to explain the story, I didn't realize exactly HOW well the movies had been done.

What really struck me last night was the incredible emotional depth of the story. Watching the friendship between Ron, Hermione and Harry develop is truly wonderful. At the end of the first two movies, the trio is reunited after one of them is separated due to injury or danger. The love that is so apparent in the three actors in the movies is also there in the books - this is what friendship should be! The same goes for the relationship between the trio and Hagrid, which I'd forgotten because it isn't as important to the plot in the later books.

Watching the relationships between Snape and the other characters is also fascinating. Knowing the doubts and questions that arise in book 6, and how they are resolved in book 7, makes watching the early movies even more fascinating.

One item that continues to annoy me, however, is the blatant favoritism Harry Potter receives from Dumbledore and others who really shouldn't be so permissive. Yes, Harry's intentions may be noble, but sometimes the treatment Harry receives is blatantly unfair; I hate to say it, but Draco Malfoy has some justification for thinking that Harry really is 'Saint Potter.'

But finally, I remain overwhelmed by the ethical considerations throughout the story. Two statements by Dumbledore are all I need to recommend this series to anyone:
"The time is coming when all will be forced to choose between what is right and what is easy."
"It is not our abilities that make us who we are - it is our choices."
When I think of the day when AJ will want to read these stories (or perhaps have someone - Daddy, perhaps - read them to her), I think how happy I will be for her to read a story with genuine sacrifice, loss and love, a story where characters are three-dimensional and flawed, yet do the best they can in the circumstances in which they find themselves. J.K. Rowling stands with Tolkien, Lewis and the best of the mythopoeic writers in this respect: she has created a world whose beauty is enhanced by its reality, and I'm looking forward to entering it again very soon.

5 comments:

  1. Scott,

    Read this article (maybe you have already)

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20010717/site/newsweek/

    Interesting take on the series.

    Aaron

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  2. heh.
    We did the marathon about 2 weeks ago... and the went to see the new movie on the IMAX.

    Glad to know I'm not the only marathon nut around...

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  3. I've been going on a marathon re-reading of the Harry Potter books, so that I'd be refreshed and up to speed when I got to Deathly Hallows. I've FINALLY started reading it. I find it consuming most of my freetime, at the moment.

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  4. You tend to forget the favoritism shown to other characters as well, though. Draco and his cronies can get away w/anything as far as Snape's concerned, and really, very few of the other teachers intervene there either.

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