Reading and Watching Harry Potter
Warning: Spoilers ahead. If you haven’t read the fifth, sixth and seventh Harry Potter books and you are like me who hate spoilers and have avoided the words Harry, Potter, Deathly, Hallows and spoilers in the internet in the last few weeks, then turn away now and click on the back button or go to the next blog on your list.
I have been on a Potter-a-thon for the last six weeks. Whatever do I mean by that? Well, I have wanted to re-read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix before I watched the movie. So I was glad to have been able to do than once the kids were off from school. Because really, it’s only in the summer when I can have enough free time to catch up with my books, DVDs, cleaning up and organizing the house, etc. But I am a slow reader, and unlike my niece who read the Order of the Phoenix in only two days, it took me a few weeks to finish Phoenix. When I asked her, “How do you people do that? I can only read one chapter a night.” She replied, “Well, that’s what I did the whole two days, Tita. I have only been reading the book.” Of course, she wasn’t working, at least on those two days, and she doesn’t have her own kids to look after. So please tell me, whoever is reading this. Is it only people who don’t have kids who could read a book that quick? Because I can’t imagine any other parents, or at least mothers, who could just lock themselves up in a room to finish a book overnight or over a few days and ignore their small children.
When we went on our trip to Alberta, I brought my copy of Phoenix with me. At first I thought that reading in the car through the 14-16 hour drive was out of the question. No way. I usually get sick and nauseous when I read inside a moving vehicle, even on a moving bus. So I would only read at night, one long chapter, in the bathroom of whatever hotel we were in, because I didn’t want to disturb the others with the light coming from my bedside lamp. But on our way back to Winnipeg, I thought I’d try to prop up the book on top of my purse that was on my lap. At least this way, I wasn’t looking down. Because it’s really the looking down that makes me sick in a moving car. And it worked. So I read a few chapters while we were driving back home.
I have finished the book before I went to see the movie with my three boys and my 14-year old nephew, Angelus, who was allowed for the first time to see a Harry Potter movie. I was actually quite surprised. Because both my sister and BIL were adamant in letting their children read or watch Harry Potter. But they’ve had a change of heart. They probably realized that there’s nothing wrong with the stories, even though I knew that they haven’t read or watched any of them. And this is also the reason why my 19-year old niece has also been on a Potter-a-thon. She had never read any of the books, although I knew she was quite curious because she would ask me things. She borrowed all my books. I’ve only lent her Books 1 – 5. I was still reading Book 6 when she borrowed them so I told her that she’d have to wait until I finish the last two books.
Well, anyway, back to the movie. I enjoyed it. Even my kids loved it. Ryan, my middle son, said that his favourite HP movies so far are 1, 3, and 5. So there you go.
I always get excited to see how the actors have grown since the last movie. I was just watching Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone with the kids the other night and we were just amused at how young and innocent they looked back then. Now they are older and more good-looking, I think. I’m starting to have a crush on Daniel Radcliffe and I’m curious on how he gets naked in this play, The Equus. Oh boy, I think that’s wrong. He’s my oldest son’s age and again, I know, that’s wrong. And since I have just read the book, I noticed right away that the filmmakers changed some of the details. For instance, in the movie, it was Cho who sneaked about Dumbledore’s Army to Umbridge. In the book, it was her friend Marietta, who wasn’t even in the movie. But of course, this is understandable. Some details and scenes have to be cut out from the 766-page book. Otherwise, the movie would last up to four hours or more and that could get boring to watch and would cost the filmmakers more money.
Here are just some more of the changes from the book that I noticed: In the book, Harry passed out during the OWLs exam and not when the twins Fred and George called it quits and were flying out of Hogwarts. Harry saw Snape’s memory of how he had been bullied by the young James Potter through the Pensieve and not when they were having their Occlumency lessons. The glass ball of prophecy dropped from Neville’s pocket when his robes tore along the seam and it was not Lucius Malfoy who smashed it. Harry learned about the prophecy from Dumbledore and he didn’t actually hear it when it smashed. The prophecy that revealed that “neither can live while the other survives.”
I think that the fighting scenes were spectacular. So did my kids. I loved how they showed a few scenes where Ron was being concerned about Hermione. I really thought at that time that they were gonna end up together in the end. And they did, didn’t they?
Great improvement in acting from the young actors. I liked that part when Harry was screaming NNOOO! when Sirius fell behind the veil and died. He was screaming but you don’t hear it. His screams were muffled by the background music. I LOVE that!
In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry feels so much anger. He’s still mourning Cedric Diggory. People won’t believe that Voldemort’s back. Dumbledore’s avoiding him. Snape’s going through his innermost thoughts and memories during their Occlumency lessons. He has limited contact with Sirius. He never felt so alone. I see this anger on Daniel’s acting. I must say again. Very good performances not just on his part but on the other actors as well – young and old.
I can’t wait to see the next one.
After reading Phoenix, I just had to read Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince again. After all, it’s been two years since I last read it and I want to refresh my mind with the details before I could go on with Book 7, the last installment in the series. I wanted to savour once again the moment when Harry and Ginny first kissed. I wanted to refresh my mind about the horcruxes, about Harry and Dumbledore’s trip to the cave and the black lake, and although it was awful, how Snape killed Dumbledore on top of the tower.
And finally, I opened Book 7, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. First, let me just congratulate this genius, Ms. J.K. Rowling, for engaging not only young children but also children up to 99 years old (or more?) in this wonderful series of books that is already considered a classic by many. I love how she dedicated this final book: “The dedication of this book is split seven ways: (She names 6 important people in her life) and to you, if you have stuck with Harry until the very end.” That’s me, and I guess millions of people all over the world.
J.K. already revealed even while she was still writing Deathly Hallows that one of the main characters would die. And many speculated that it might be Harry. Oh how awful, I thought. And then there were also theories that it could be someone close to him, like Ron, Hermione, or Ginny. Still, awful.
Anyway, I started Chapter One with much anticipation. When Hedwig died during the escape in one of the earlier chapters, I thought that was a bad omen. When Harry and Ginny had a tender moment in Chapter 7, I thought, could it be her? Here’s Harry already seeing himself and Ginny getting married and then she might die anyway? And then when Harry and Ron had a row in Chapter 15 and Ron left, I thought, could it be Ron, his best mate? But Ron came back a few chapters later. And then I thought, could it be Hermione? The one who stuck with him through all of these and who has been really a big help, the brains, the genius actually, in helping him understand all about the history of magic and The Tales of Beedle the Bard and all the loopholes in his plans, or actions, because he barely really made any plans at all. Could it be actually her?
And then another creature that Harry loved died – Dobby. Another bad sign. And then the Battle at Hogwarts began. People who Harry loved started falling one by one. First Fred, and then the others. When Harry learned that a fragment of Voldemort’s soul latched onto him when the Killing Curse rebounded upon Voldemort, I realized that he was the seventh horcrux and that both he and Voldemort was to die. How awful.
Harry died, or so we thought. Or perhaps he did, but only temporarily just so he could have a chat with Dumbledore in the afterlife (?). It’s true that Harry is the better man than Dumbledore. While Dumbledore was selfish and was obsessed with the hallows so he could conquer death, Harry has been selfless and sacrificed himself and let Voldemort kill him, if that was the only way to destroy the Dark Lord, and thus making him not just the true master of death, but also a hero.
I am satisfied with the way J.K. Rowling ended the Harry Potter series. The Good triumphed over the Evil. After all, it’s all about choices, right? I was just watching Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets tonight. One of the scenes that struck me the most was when Dumbledore reminded Harry that although the Sorting Hat thought that Harry belonged to Slytherin, he still chose to be in Gryffindor. Yes, it’s all about choices. Like what the Bible has been teaching us from the Book of Genesis. You either choose to obey God or eat the apple from the Tree of Life. Just like Star Wars. It’s just too bad that Anakin chose the Dark Force.
And of course, Harry Potter is not just about Good or Evil. J. K. Rowling incorporated many other important plots that involve friendship, family, loyalty, trust, vows, remorse, social issues, and many others, but most especially LOVE. The power the Dark Lord knows not. And I think that is the ultimate power of all. And speaking of love, what a revelation about Snape, huh? He has loved Lily all this time and until his end.
Now, I can go back to those Harry Potter posts that I have intentionally skipped and see what the others thought about the Deathly Hallows. And yes, that was also one of the reasons why I haven’t been bloghopping much lately. I was not only busy reading the books but I was also worried that I might run into any spoilers.
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