Thursday, July 19, 2007

Harry Potter Mania

Less than a week remains in the countdown to the next and final installment of the Harry Potter series. The Internet is abuzz with conspiracy theories about Harry’s future and Ms. Rowling’s pronouncement that two characters will die in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. My favorite character, aside from Professor Snape, is already dead, (Harry’s godfather, Sirius Black), but I do wonder who’s going to get axed in the final book. And yes, I will buy it. I won’t attend any of the midnight mania parties, but I’ll make my way to Costco or my local bookstore and pick up the book in hardcover. I owe Ms. Rowling that much. I mean, the woman has made millions of people excited about reading. Not the latest Xbox, or iPhone or Wii, but a book. Yippee! A book!

I also happen to love books filled with magic. Because of this, I’ve read the Harry Potter books as well as seen all the films. This week, I did an unusual thing: I went to a morning movie! Yep. Nine a.m. It was positively hedonistic and I even snuck in a coffee and bagel. (You gotta love big purses). Now, one reviewer claimed that Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix should be renamed Dumb & Dumbledore and I won’t be that harsh, but the movie was less than magical. In fact, it was dull. I kinda wish I had the new book along with me so I could have read during the interminable scenes of slow dialogue and glum self-pity sessions. I was thrilled to see all of the professors, Potter friends, and a host of wonderful new creatures, and I’m glad my mind is refreshed on all things Harry before the new book comes out.

If you have kids or you’re someone who loves all things Harry, visit The Leaky Cauldron - a terrific fan-based Potter website. There’s even a timer letting you know to the second when the book will be available for sale.

I know that the main topic circling the new book is whether or not Harry will live. Let me pose another question to you – in your own reading history, has a character died that you wish hadn’t? I remember when Gandalf was killed in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (before I knew he wasn’t really dead) and my heart was broken. I cried. I was depressed. I loved him, Wow. What amazing writing, right? Did you ever lose a character friend?


Bill Cameron said...

I'm pretty excited too. I went the order online route, even though I usually prefer to buy my books from my local brick-and-mortar friends. But I know I don't have the gusto to stand in line late into the night, and I'm worried about sell-outs.

So I will be reading feverishly from the moment the delivery arrives Saturday. Except my son will probably get dibs. Which makes me wish I'd ordered two copies! Hrmmm. Maybe I'll stand in line after all.

I haven't seen the latest movie yet, but I know I will. I probably will be pretty forgiving too, though I suppose if it's as tedious as I hear I might have a different story afterwards.

As for who lives and who dies, I'm not completely convinced Dumbledore is dead, so I won't speculate further. I just hope I can get the book read before someone tells me the explosive finale.

True story. The day Empire Strikes Back opened, I was at the mall at dawn, but I didn't get in to the first showing. As I was heading in for the second showing, a friend who was coming out walked up to me and said, "You won't believe it. Darth Vader is Luke's father."

And people wonder why I write crime fiction.

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

First, how did that junk mail posting end up here? :(

Next, in response to JB's question about being moved by a fictional character's death, I must admit that when Walt died in "The World According to Garp" I cried for days. I read that book 25 years ago and I'm still in mourning.

As for Potter-mania, I've never read the books, but have seen the movies. If Harry dies, I will definitely sob when I see it onscreen.

jbstanley said...


I would have skewered that guy for giving away the Vader/father secret. What a jerk. I hope someone calls him at 12:01 and tells him who dies in the Potter books!

Sue Ann,

Congrats on the new series. You can do it all, I have no doubt about that!

Julia Buckley said...

JB, I'm with you about Sirius Black. I had things all figured out for him and Harry; how they'd be together after Harry's time at Hogwarts, and future books would provide love interests for both Harry and Sirius. And then she killed him.

I suppose part of Rowling's genius is that she's never been predictable. Everything I thought I had figured out turned out to be wrong--and I think I'm far more sentimental than she is. If she has to be ruthless to tell her story, she will be--although I read that she cried when she killed Sirius.

Like Bill, I'm not sure about Dumbledore, but I do want Snape to be redeemed--to be honest, I'm even wondering if Malfoy will be redeemed as well--after all, he too is an unfortunate boy who has been manipulated by evil adults. I think that Dumbledore wanted to protect Malfoy, too, not just Harry, and I suppose there's a message in that.

Not sure who she'll kill--although she might have killed Harry just to make sure that his story ends here.

Mark Terry said...

My son will be attending a Harry Potter party tonight at the local library. 8:00-1:00 (guess which parent gets to go pick him up at 1 am?) After midnight they apparently read the first chapter out loud.

We ordered via Amazon so expect the copy in the mail tomorrow (is my family the only one who feels sorry for the post office tomorrow?). I have threatened my son not to tell me too much about it while he's reading it. I'd love to jump right in on it--maybe I can read along the same time as he does, or steal it or...

As for the movie, Phoenix is probably my favorite book of the 6 (so far, although it's a close tie with Azkaban) but the movie is my least favorite. I want to see it again and see how I feel about it after a second viewing. There were some fairly clever things done with the narrative to make things make sense, but I felt the screenwriter (different than the first four) and director were so intent on Harry's relationship with Umbrage and his teaching "Dumbledore's Army" that they short-shifted some other things (like Ron and Hermione) that they really should have spent some time on (like more time spent on occlumency, did you notice there was no Quidditch at all?, and expanding the relationship with Luna, and...)

It seems to me that this is a franchise that can successfully navigate a 3-hour film without hurting its financial success, so why didn't they take advantage of it? [and did anybody have a sense that the way the film's final sequences were shot (which I thought were great, by the way) were done in a way that would make the IMAX 3-D better, rather than serving the story?]

Bill Cameron said...

I killed the spam, just as I should have killed Mr. "Darth is Luke's father!"

jbstanley said...

The Force is strong in you, Bill.

Have fun tonight, Mark. I'm waiting 'til Sat. a.m. when I can buy the book and drink Starburnt, I mean, Starbucks, at the same time.

Bill Cameron said...

I got emails from Amazon and telling my copy of the book had shipped. Apparently I ordered it from one, forgot I'd ordered it, and then ordered it again from the other one.

So that means me and my son don't hafta throw down over a single copy! Woot! (He'd win, because he fights dirty.)