Wednesday, July 11, 2007

There's hope for my inner ten-year-old yet...

Posting at three in the morning might seem a bit strange for someone who will be at Wake Forest's Library again in a mere 4.5 hours. But when offered, last minute, a trip to see Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the jaded graduate student in me dissipated, and all notions of a 6.30 AM wake up time fell away.

And the funny part is -- I thought I wouldn't see this movie. That this fifth film would finally be the time I sat back and watched the hype from afar, only interested in how it goes because -- let's face it -- I can't wait for this damn series to be over. But from the moment the music started -- it was like the very first time. I was immersed in the world -- and I finally cared again. I found the movie moving. Worth the time, and worth how tired I'll be in a few hours.

I've always suspected my enduring interest and indeed affection for the Harry Potter novels is half to do with nostalgia for a time I thought someone would show up and tell me I was special, and half to do with a rather scathing article AS Byatt wrote about the books a few years back (if she belittled the books, and in such a terribly academic way, the contrariness in me had to like them). But for some reason this movie surprised me.

Yes, the books are unwieldy and could probably do with an editor who cut more of the secondary characters and plots. And perhaps the mythology isn't as complex or interesting as other fictional mythologies (there's an interesting set of words). But -- like so many things -- maybe it doesn't matter. Maybe it's what we do with it. Maybe it's the little kids who dress up, pretend to have magic, and hear (incidentally) Dumbledore's words to Harry -- that what matters isn't how similar Harry is to Voldemort, but how very, very different; in another book (and movie) that it's our choices, not our abilities, that determine who we are.

And that subtle distinction -- maybe, just maybe -- is worth staying up all night on the 20th to read The Deathly Hallows (two copies and three avid readers at home this month means the night owl -- me -- gets the late shift) least, for this 24-year-old kid.


J J Cohen said...

Not to make you jealous, but we are taking our actual 10 year old to the London premiere today. And unwieldy books are the only kind worth reading!

MKH said...

Oh wow -- I am slightly jealous. It's all mitigated by the fact I got to see the movie at midnight, and didn't even fall asleep during it. :) Hope it was wonderful -- what did you guys think?

As for unwieldy books, I swore off them in senior year of college when I read War and Peace (which, amusingly, my grandmother cut into several segments for me so I could bring what I'd not yet read to France over a holiday, which I suppose is one way of dealing with unwieldy books -- just cut 'em down to size and read them in parts...) -- looking at the books that line my desk at the moment (all large, most unwieldy) -- I have the sneaking suspicion you're right!