Posts Tagged ‘Harry Potter’

Rowling Along

Yesterday, Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling announced the title and brief synopsis of her first foray into more adult fiction. The Casual Vacancy
will be a darkly comic novel set in the seemingly idyllic British town of Pagford in which everything is not as idyllic as it seems.  It opens with the sudden death of a popular man whose unexpected demise shocks the town. The battle for his seat on the local council sets off “the biggest war the town has yet seen,” with rich people fighting poor, parents battling their teenagers, and wives in conflict with their husbands.

Given the juggernaut success that is the Harry Potter brand, I believe the world will be moderately interested to see if magic can strike again with a tale aimed at a more grown-up demographic. We have until September 27 to find out.  Since the Potter books were accepted by a large amount of adult readers as well as the target adolescent audience, I think the book will have a moderate amount of success.

Speaking of Mr. Potter, once again Warner Bros. is going for the jugular when it releases the Harry Potter Wizard’s Collection (Blu-ray / DVD Combo + UltraViolet Digital Copy) this fall.

If you have the $400.00 to throw around you can perhaps be mesmerized by the 31 disc set full of the obligatory bells and whistles contained in an attractive display box.  I suppose that if true collectors are willing to pony up the money, then whoever is behind these merchandising schemes will continue.

All Is Well

It is OVER!  The phenomenon that began in 1997 with the British publication of a little book entitled Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and continued through 7 books and now 8 big screen adventures has reached its climax.  All I ask is that it ends here.  To go back or to move forward would cheapen what has come before.  I cannot recall a pop culture phenomenon that has endured, captivated, and caught the world’s (for better or for worse) attention.  Millions of children (and adults as well) began reading the novels of “the boy who lived.”  These same children grew up with each page turn, every movie frame as the core cast of the films remained the same throughout the octology.  I found it enthralling to follow Daniel, Rupert, Emma, Matthew, Tom, and the other young actors progress from naive 10-11 year olds into 20-something year old seasoned performers aided by a cadre of many of the finest British thespians.

I dare say that never before (and very likely never will again) has the world experienced the likes of such a series.  Midnight book/movie releases; a game invented from the pages; a theme park; college classes; and I’m sure a myriad of other items devoted to the world have appeared.

I was (as I’m sure millions of other fans were) a bit nervous about what to expect from the printed pages being transferred to movie screens.  Apparently,  the worry was for naught as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 has vanquished several box office records in its path in the first 5 days of release.  This afternoon, I spent the extra money to attend my first IMAX 3D experience.  I was blown away by the pre-movie graphics and announcement to say nothing of the main feature itself.  There were moments that I could tell that were filmed traditionally and transferred but the total experience was breathtakingly immersive.  I would have enjoyed the film itself on a regular screen but after investing the last decade plus in the characters, I felt that the farewell needed to be experienced on a grand scale.  Thrilling, wondrous, emotional (any fan who isn’t moved… well…) action packed.  The best of the series?  Definitely… YES!  However, I like to think of the movies as a whole.  Things that were left out in the transfer to the movies… most notable in the Half-Blood Prince.

Goodbye, friend of Hagrid!  It has been a magical adventure.

Pottermore

Apparently, the end is just the beginning when it comes to the Harry Potter verse.  July 15th will see the final cinematic adventure take place.  BUT in October will come a website known as “Pottermore” created by J. K. Rowling herself.  The content of the site is being held under wraps (for now, the site is “Coming Soon”).  Speculation by fans ranges from an online community full of message boards and chat rooms (hopefully it is not that… do we really need another social network?) to the e-book release of the seven novels to an on-line game of the world of Harry Potter.   HMMM… the site has changed even since a few days ago when I heard of the site.

I’m of two minds on this.  I’m not sure that this is not an attempt to bleed every drop out of the franchise… too much of a good thing and all that.  However, if it is what the fans want… I guess it will be worth at least a peek once it is fully presented.

Potter Fever

While watching a documentary on the making of the Harry Potter movies, I felt the anticipation and excitement of the approaching climactic cinematic experience building.  What is it that has made this series of first books and now  motion pictures so phenomenal cannot be answered simply.  There are layers and layers of brilliant creative aspects created by J.K. Rowling that you can not name one.  But I do have a favorite aspect of the series.  Character development is so integral to the world.  Not only MUST the big three of Harry, Ron, and Hermione develop and grow but it is so amazing how even secondary characters are almost as important as the core trio.  How many other series contain so many wonderful characters that even the actors profess to being surprised at their growth and the challenge that growth created.

One of my favorite characters, Neville Longbottom, has grown tremendously since his introduction.  In the first 3-4 movies, poor Neville had trouble with even the most elementary of spells.  Who can forget the scene in The Chamber of Secrets in which he is suspended from a chandelier by two cornish pixies (“Why is it always me?”)? By the end of The Order of the Phoenix, Neville has nearly come into his own by joining Dumbledore’s Army and proving his worth.  Hopefully, we will see him grow even more in the final film.

The youngest red-headed Weasley child, Ginevra, has developed from the bashful 10 year old who watched Harry, Ron, and Hermione being carried away on the Hogwart’s Express.  During her first year at the School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Ginny was possessed by the 16 year old  Tom Riddle… not a good way to begin one’s education.  As Neville has, Miss Weasley has become more vocal, more active, even so far as to come to the defense of her hero, Harry, on the quidditch pitch.

What would a post from me on Harry be without a mention of my favorite character, one of the most mysterious creations I have ever encountered, Professor Severus Snape.  At the start of term festivities in The Sorcerer’s Stone, the glance that Harry and the teacher share is filled with so much meaning that its implications will progress through the entire series.  The loathing seen in Snape’s eyes will not fully come to light until the final film.  Not only did Harry feel a burning in his scar, it made me tingle.

So… three characters… three SUPPORTING characters who are as instrumental in the World of  Harry Potter as the title character himself.  Just the tip of the wand in the marvelous creation of J.K. Rowling. 37 days and counting!  A Potter movie fest (non ABC Family fest with commercials) will be a fun way to build up to July 15!  Yes… Even The Half-Blood Prince.

 

A Pair of Thick, Woolen Socks

I just finished watching a fascinating interview on Oprah. I am not a regular viewer by any means but she seems to be going out with a bang.  I could not pass up the opportunity to watch her sit and chat with the world’s first self-made billionaire author.  If ever J.K. Rowling has her memoirs published I will be in line to snatch it up.  Just one hour totally fascinated me.  How from very humble beginnings to a 13 month and one day marriage to the death of her mother and the estrangement from her father all combined to give her the ammunition to create what has become a worldwide  juggernaut.

The term “phenomenon” came up in one intriguing moment.  Remember back in the mid 80s when Michael Jackson’s Thriller was declared the phenomenon of the day.  At the time, the concept did not enter the King of Pop’s head.  And neither has it entered Rowling’s.  If it had, she feels that she would now be trying to do herself one better.  Attempting to create the next great world and leaving Harry Potter by the wayside.  Incidentally, the author turned down Jackson’s offer to turn her world into a musical.

Did you know it took Jo  twelve rejections before, on the lucky 13th publisher, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s (which we blokes know as the Sorcerer’s) Stone saw the light of day?  Even then, she was warned that children’s books make little to no money.  Well… after seventeen years, 7 books, 6 movies (with two coming), millions in collectibles, and the theme park… who is laughing now?

She even detailed some of the downside of her life that is very much a part of the masterpiece.  In her eyes, every other page seems to point to her mother’s failing from MS.  The dementors (who prey upon the happiness of their victims and seek to suck out their soul) represent her own battle with depression.  However, the prevalent theme throughout the entire series is love.  I say shame on all the groups who would criticize or even ban the books when the strongest virtue of Christianity is seen through every page, every frame.  However, the surest way to ensure that your work is read is to have it banned.

What does the future hold for the billionairess?  More writing.  If she doesn’t write she will lose her sanity.  Spoken like a true artist.  Did she know that Harry would become so huge while writing at nights beside her sleeping baby daughter while one step away from homelessness.  Absolutely not.  She had no idea that: “This boy will be famous. There won’t be a child in our world who doesn’t know his name.”

Killing Time

I know that continuing to think about something does not make it approach faster, but if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a zillion times!  I HATE WAItINg!  I think the audition went fine… better than fine since I did get to read the script twice.  There were only three of us at the audition (enough for a cast but there was another round today and one tomorrow… UGH!) After the very quick table read-through audition, I did get to sit in a rehearsal for Curious Savage which goes up next weekend.  Break a leg Mare, Trav, and the rest of the cast!  I was pleased to see Mr. Potter’s secretary on stage again with a meatier role.  I will be in the audience either a week from tonight or next Sunday… depending upon when we get back from the cathedral on Saturday.

Last night’s evening wrapped with a long overdue game night.  Overdue because I was sick for the last one.  And I got to assist in moving a television… not a huge undertaking but big enough.  C and I got both the tv and stand back in their proper spot and a picture with sound came on so…

Now, I think I will read a bit of The Goblet of Fire before Taylhis catches up with me.  I forgot to ask how many pages “plowing through it” means. 😉  Of course, with any luck, she will catch up with me before I get to Order of the Phoenix.

It Does Not Do Well To Dwell On Dreams And Forget To Live

It seems that anything new that concerns Harry Potter entices me to revisit the literary adventures. In the coming months, we will have the cinematic version of the sixth movie as well as the publication of The Tales of Beedle the Bard. I think that the most interesting device used in the whole series was introduced in the first novel by J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter And The Sorcerers Stone – 10th Anniversary Edition (or the Philosopher’s Stone depending upon which side of the Atlantic you live). The Mirror of Erised showed the young wizard and his best friend, Ron their most secret longing, their fondest wish.

In the mirror, the central character saw himself surrounded by his murdered parents as well as other relatives looking on him lovingly. He was so drawn to the image that he would continuously return to the mirror which was well hidden within the confines of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Later, Harry brought Ron along with him in order for him to see his parents. However, Ron only saw himself as Head Boy and winning the House Cup. Ron, the youngest male member of the Weasley family, has always felt like the low man on the totem pole. His pet rat had been handed down from brother to brother. His wand was horribly overused and taped together several times. His vision within the mirror showed that he longed to become something greater than any of his siblings and to be able to achieve something no one (maybe even himself) could have dreamed.

However, the mirror is not all good. Professor Dumbledore tells Harry that thousands of students had discovered the mystery of the mirror. But, many of them became so enthralled that it drove them insane. So powerful was the attraction of the device that it was to be moved far away; yet, not before Harry asked his mentor what he saw in the mirror: Socks. Was he being truthful or teaching the 11 year-old a valuable lesson?

Everyone (young/old; rich/poor; male/female) has dreams and one desire that we choose to share or to remain hidden. The people to whom we decide to reveal them demonstrates a powerful sense of trust and loyalty. Yet, we all have to be careful how we handle our dreams lest they control our lives.

Let’s have a little fun. Tell me how the name Mirror of Erised came about.

A Boy And His Horses

In more Harry Potter related news, Daniel Radcliffe (Harry himself) will be making his Broadway stage debut on September 5 at the Broadhurst Theatre. Last year, he received rave reviews for his London stage debut in Peter Shaffer’s play, Equus. The story of Alan Strang, a rather disturbed young stable boy who has an unusual fixation with horses. However, the psychiatrist who attempts to must solve the mystery of Alan’s sexual and religious perversion has his own hidden psychological trauma. Incidentally, the psychiatrist will be played by Richard Griffiths who also plays the role of Harry’s eternally frustrated Uncle Vernon in the Potter films. A few words of warning to those who may think that the play will delight the young fans of the boy wizard (although “delight” may not be the most appropriate term). Equus is definitely NOT a play to introduce to young children. Its heavy adult themes and scenes are much too heavy perhaps even for some adult theatregoers.

Want tickets to a sold out show? Click here