Sunday, July 22, 2007

The End of Harry Potter

I just finished the last Harry Potter book this morning. And it was wonderful. I'm still in that dream-like state you get in after the end of a really good book, the state where Harry's world still feels more real to me than my own. And I'm reluctant to leave that world. It's so sad to know that it's all over.

My predictions were, on the whole, pretty good. Although not everything turned out the way I thought it would. Still, I was dead right about one thing, wasn't I? So permit me to say: Told you so.

Right now, I think I'm going to go and read it again (or at least read until my sister comes back and demands I hand over the book to her so she can finish it), and postpone the crashing in of reality for just one more afternoon.

Well, it's a couple of hours later, my sister has left with the book, and reality has arrived. I feel very weird. I have been depressed after the end of a book before, I have felt emotionally drained before. But I have never felt so completely without purpose. I literally did not know what to do with myself. I sat on the couch and stared. I had been looking forward to it for so long, and now it's over... And I don't know anyone else who's finished reading the book yet, so I can't even go over the gory details. I think I will do a couple of posts about the book, but I'm going to wait a bit until everyone's read it, so I won't do any spoilers. And I think I'm going to have to read it again, especially that last bit, because it all got very complicated, and I'm not sure I understood everything. So if anyone reads this and wants to dish about the book, let me know. In the meantime, I have found that listening to the podcasts over at has helped quite a bit. In one of the podcasts, they mention that the bookstore they're in has set up a Harry Potter Help Line. And laugh if you want, but considering how I feel, I would not be surprised if the end of Harry Potter sets off an epidemic of clinical depression.

Anyway, I thought I'd take this opportunity, now that the whole book thing is out of the way, to bitch about the new movie. I'm feeling quite bitchy right now actually, and I think it's just one of the symptoms of the Potter withdrawal that I'll be going through over the next little while.

So I thought the movie sucked.

Oh, all right, it didn't suck. I actually quite enjoyed most of it. And I liked it even better the second time I watched it. And even better the third. And the good thing about this movie is, so far every time I've watched, I've caught something new, something I hadn't noticed on previous viewings.

From what I can tell, it's mostly the people who've read the books who have a problem with the movie. My mom hasn't read them, and she thought the movie was good. But you take the longest book and make it into the shortest movie, and something's gotta give, right?

So let's first talk about what went right. Luna Lovegood. I thought she was awesome in this movie. Her scenes were well-written, and I think you actually got to know her quite well in the movie. Dolores Umbridge. She was perfect. You really, really wanted to kill her in the movie. She's so evil, and so creepy too, all dressed in pink with kittens on her walls, and then torturing children for the fun of it.

So here's what I think sucked about the movie. I really think that they didn't put enough emphasis on the importance of the prophesy. I don't think it was clear why Voldemort wanted it, and I don't think there was the same sense of shock when Harry finally finds out about his destiny. I mean, I think we all knew what was coming, that Harry would end up facing Voldemort someday, but in the book I think we felt more of what Harry's feeling, that he has to face Voldemort, that it's inevitable.

I also felt that the scene at the end where Harry is talking to Dumbledore about Sirius' death and the prophecy, was all wrong. I loved the scene in OOTP when Harry went around smashing stuff in Dumbledore's office and yelling at him. I mean, Dumbledore has been ignoring him all year, he just saw his Godfather killed, Harry feels that it's his fault that Sirius died, and now he's just also discovered that he is the one who has to kill Voldemort. And in the movie he just sits there, looking a bit glum. Come on people. He should be showing a bit more emotion than that. And speaking of emotion, can we talk about Dumbledore's? Or rather, his lack of it? He supposed to love Harry almost like a son. And that's why he hasn't told him about the prophecy. In the movie, Dumbledore says, "I cared about you too much", but it doesn't seem like he cares at all. Let's compare that to the book, shall we?
"I feel I owe you another explanation, Harry," said Dumbledore hesitantly. "You may, perhaps, have wondered why I never chose you as a prefect? I must confess...that I rather had enough responsibility to be going on with."
Harry looked up at him and saw a tear trickling down Dumbledore's face into his long silver beard.
I love that part in the book. But in the movie, I just don't see the empathy, the caring. And I don't think we've seen it in any of the last three movies. Richard Harris was Dumbledore. Michael Gambon just doesn't capture it. And I'm not saying it's the actor's fault. It's the fault of the writers and directors as well. The new Dumbledore captures some of the power of Dumbledore, I thought the battle scene between him and Voldemort was quite well done, but that's all he is. Power. The real Dumbledore we know and love from the books cares about people a great deal. And he is also a very fun person, with a quirky sense of humour he exhibits often. The Dumbledore I know, for example, would never yell at students, "Don't you have studying you should be doing?". And he would never, ever, lose his temper in front of a student. I hated that scene in the GOF movie, when he grabs the front of Harry's shirt and yells at him "Did you put your name in the Goblet of Fire?". Dumbledore can be extremely grave and serious when he has to be, but he has never been so angry that he loses control of himself.

Oh, and what about Harry and Cho? That kiss??? Like, how unnatural is it to kiss someone and not touch them anywhere else? I mean, they don't have to grope each other, but just even resting their hands on each other's shoulders or back would have made it better. And then in the movie, it's Cho who betrays Dumbledore's Army to Umbridge. Now I actually didn't have a problem with that. A movie just can't have as many characters as a book can, cuz it's too hard for people to keep track. It would have taken quite a bit of extra time to introduce Marietta, Cho's friend. Hermione mentions, after Harry and Cho's kiss, that Cho is upset because Umbridge has been threatening to sack her mother from the Ministry of Magic. If they'd left that as the reason that Cho crumbled under pressure, then it would have been okay. They could've had a scene where Cho says, "Please don't be mad at me Harry! They were threatening to sack my mum!" and then Harry would say, "Ron's Dad worked at the ministry too. And he didn't rat us out." There. End of story. Cho should've been stronger, but she wasn't, because she cared about her mum more than she cared about Harry or the Army. You wouldn't hate her, but you would understand why Harry was a little pissed. But oh no, they just had to bring veritaserum into it. Snape mentions that Umbridge used the last of his veritaserum interrogating Cho, and then Harry, Ron and Hermione all look at each other horrified, because they realize that they've been angry at Cho when she didn't have a choice. But we know that Harry and Cho can't get back together again because he's got to get together with Ginny in the next one. And so Harry ends up looking like a jerk. And that sucks.

Anyway, those are the main reasons why I had trouble with this movie. I think 3 and 4 are better made. Let's hope they do better with the 6th one.


Ash said...

Read it. Loved it.

Click here:

It will help.

Violette said...

Ahhhh. Thanks Ash. Just enough to soothe my Potter-deprived soul.