Monday, July 16, 2007

I am a Harry Potter fan. I’ve read all the books, the first five twice. I was asked last week if I was a kid because I told a friend that I was going to see the new Harry Potter flick, Order of the Phoenix. Then I asked him if he’d ever read any of the books, and his obvious answer was, “No.” If he’d read any of the books, he’d understand why someone grown could enjoy the Potter series.

At first, I was a reluctant Potter reader. I was at university when Potter mania took over in the States. I resisted picking up one of the books until after The Goblet of Fire came out in the summer of 2000. It’s my friend, Lucy, who led me into temptation. I’d just graduated and was working for the summer at the university before packing up and heading off for Germany. Lucy and several of our friends were very excited about the arrival of the new book in the series. I didn’t get the enthusiasm, so Lucy loaned me a copy of The Sorcerer’s Stone (The Philosopher’s Stone outside of the US). I read it and wasn’t overly impressed, but I then knew what the invisibility cloak was; however, I still didn’t understand why Lucy would sometimes insist that Hillary and I pretended we were under it with her, carrying a dragon’s egg when we had to climb the stairs in the student union.

Things didn’t go as planned in Germany, and I ended up with a lot more time on my hands than expected. I spend a lot of time during August of 2000 in a bookstore in Dresden killing time, browsing the English titles they had in stock. Harry Potter 1-4 were included. I eventually purchased The Chamber of Secrets, and that was the book that ignited my imagination and transformed me into a Potter fan.

Maybe my opening statement was a bit too broad. I’m a fan of the Harry Potter books, but the films have left a different taste in my mouth. I slept through the first film…twice. The second one was not very good: to much of an action film. I hesitated going to see the third one, Prisoner of Azkaban because I’d been disappointed with the film adaptations to that point, and Prisoner is my favorite of all the books. I ended up seeing it with my mother while visiting home in the summer of 2004, and I really liked it. I really, really, really disliked the fourth one, especially the part when Harry begins the underwater task in the lake and makes the out-of-water leap. The unnecessarily long dragon chase bored me.

Order of the Phoenix. What’s the verdict? I really enjoyed it. I think it is the best one so far. I have no complaints to make about it. The franchise has once again redeemed itself in my eyes; they did an excellent job adapting the book to the screen. I really liked how the film spent more time on the story and characters than on eye-candy special effects. Don't get me wrong, Phoenix is also a visual delight. I loved the colors of the film. I didn’t understand why they had all the witches flying so low over the river in London if they were trying to be inconspicuous, but that flight gave aesthetic pleasure. Yes, Harry was very whiny in this film, but he was super-whiny in the book.

In other book news, I finally finished that Cussler piece of crap. It went from bad to worse to absolutely awful. I’ve got to be more careful when picking books. I told a friend that I was reading a horrible Clive Cussler book. He was like, “No. Cussler’s books are good.” Why does he have such a good reputation? Maybe he’s written some gems, but I would find that hard to believe, and I’m not going to research that possibility. Valhalla Rising went on and on. The way it ended was so unnecessary and ridiculous I was pissed that I wasted so much time reading it. If someone can sue for this, can I sue the author and publisher of this book for how aggravated I am about the time I lost and will never get back from reading this stinker?


The 27th Comrade said...

I'm not that much a HP fan, because ... the stories are good. But I can' t escape the feeling of `I am reading a popular kids' book?' I know my favourite stories are all kids' stories. Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Bottle Imp, and the like.

Now, I select genres. Some genres have to try harder than is humanly-possible before they can suck.

Lucy said...

I'm so glad you remember how your Harry Potter interests began. My only question is what are we going to do after we read the final book? I don't think I can handle a cliff hanger...not now...

Read on batgirl.

Timothy said...

@ 27th Comrade: Some of the best literature out there is being written for young readers. Why is that, I wonder? Because I teach young people, I have an excuse to read books targeted at them; I never have to feel self-conscious. I've never read Fantastic Mr. Fox, but it was also a favorite of several of my students. I'll check it out and it will show up on my blog, at least on my side bar.

@ Lucy (aka, Batman): Life will go on. It's also great to hear from you after so long.

Nicole Ashley said...

The latest HP movie was by far my favorite. I have not really been a fan of any of the previous films and would take the books over the movies any day. But this one was the most true to the book and didn't waste time on insignificant stuff like watching the trees change with the seasons.