Thursday, July 14, 2011

On the passing of Potter


The last Harry Potter movie is out tomorrow. I'm trying for a midnight showing, but even if I don't see it tonight, I'll see it sometime this weekend. So, let me say again: The final Harry Potter is out this weekend.

This is a big moment for me, in some ways one of the biggest 'cultural' ending moments in my life. It's not that there aren't franchises that I like more or that mean more to me, there are. But something about Harry Potter is different. This isn't like Star Trek where I became aware of it long into it's run and only ever liked about half of it. This isn't like Star Wars where the franchise I was alive for spent it's time beating me around the head. Hell this isn't even like Lord of the Rings where I got to see a perfect translation from book to screen.

Why is this different? Because I was there when it started. I read the first book in grade school and was hooked. I convinced my mother and father to read it so we could discuss it. I waited in line at midnight for the 4th book. When I got my hands on Order of the Phoenix, I sat myself down in the armchair in the living room and did not move until I was finished. Six hours, I sat there, burning through it, resisting all attempts to move me.

I borrowed my mom's cloak to see Sorcerer's Stone in theaters and could point out where they changed minor details, from cutting lines from conversations to altering slight events. Not that I minded, the initial translations were fantastic. Soon after I began my rapid descent into film nerd and aspiring director, and I must have watched the early Harry Potter's a dozen times each to study them for technique and style.

In a lot of ways, Harry Potter is perfect example of my approach to nostalgia. Anything I loved as a child must constantly be brought up for re-examination and if it is found lacking, than nostalgia will not save it. But Harry Potter? Harry Potter always comes up aces. Sure it's not the deepest or most complex of books, but as I point out in my love of Back to the Future, not everything needs to be Dune. What it is, is a jolly good read, with enjoyable prose, interesting characters and a well realized world. Dumbledore's death in the 6th book remains one of only 4 times I've cried while reading a book.

And now it's over. I know, all good things must come to an end, and trying to stretch out a series past it's logical stopping point is poison for the quality. But, as much as I know that, I also know I'm going to miss it.

Not as much as WB is gonna miss it's yearly cash infusion though. Sorry folks, gotta be me.

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