Tuesday, 16 November 2010

More Harry please

My fingers are trembling slightly as I type this, such is the expectation. On Saturday we will be going, en famille as per normal, to the cinema to see the new Harry Potter film. None of us can wait.
Not that we won't be disappointed. The first viewing of any HP film always comes with regret: oh they didn't do that bit? Where was so and so? What about Bill?
HP 6 got several things wrong wrong wrong, as far as we were concerned. It was too teenaged, there was too much dating, we missed the quidditch subplot - which was a lot of fun in the book -and as for the ending, well that was a real let down. Harry wouldn't have just let Snape tell him to stay put! Where was the big fight? What about the aforementioned Bill? He gets bitten by a werewolf at the end of Half Blood Prince, its a BIG scene, but it didn't make the cut.
Of course, films are different to books. Stephen Fry's audio versions of the HP books run to 20 plus hours, the films are limited to two and a half. It's a crunch game so you've got to cut those highly paid producers and screenwriters some slack. But over all we love the HP films in our house. They are part of the family ritual and we always enjoy them more the second or even the third time of watching. This was certainly the case with HP 6 which seemed much more fun when I watched it on dvd at home. Though I still say the ending isn't right.
We're dreading the new one, in part because the reviews are mixed, but mainly because it looks so unremittingly grim. The forest! Another forest! More forest! Dobby! Hedwig! It's the death of the owl that will be the worst, of course. My daughter (aged 8) still blubs each time she reads of Hedwig's last moments, trapped in a cage unable to fly to safety on his own. Actually, so do I.
What I don't understand is why some people just refuse to go there. The people who dismiss the books as kids stuff, who have never seen the films, or if they have thought the 'first one was boring'.
They are kids books, yes. They aren't as challenging as a McCarthy or a Roth, a Tartt or a Waters, but they are cracking good fun. And the mythical depth of them is really great, there's so much going on. The world is as nicely imagined - and as preposterous, when all is said and done - as Tolkein's.
Plus: millions are reading them, sharing the excitement. Why do you not want to be part of that? Aren't you curious about why they are so unbelievably successful?
Once the films are finally finished and done with, I'm sure Warner Bros will start turning the books into a long running animated TV series. That's what I'd do with them anyway. I'd include every single scene from the books and it would run to about a million instalments. The kids would love it. And so would I.
Should Rowling herself write more books though? If she does it will be for the right reasons (she doesn't need the money). And if the books to date are anything to go by whatever she does write will be worth the read.
On that same subject, I really hope she writes SOMETHING soon.

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