Last week was Harry Potter week at our house (and probably in many other houses, too!). I re-read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows for the second time, and our whole family went to see the final movie at the theater on Sunday. We don’t get out to the movie theater very often, but for years we have made sure to catch the annual Harry Potter movie, no matter what. There’s not much I can say about the book or movie that hasn’t already been said, but I thought I’d just share some of my own thoughts on both.
If you haven’t read a Harry Potter book in a while (or…gasp…have never read one), I urge you to pick one up. I had forgotten what an amazing writer J.K. Rowling is, how she has the ability to make her pretend world seem more real than your real world. Her books are exciting and fast-paced, of course, but they are also imbibed with a wonderful, subtle sense of humor and plenty of warmth. By this past weekend, I was at the point where I just could not put the book down (even though I’d read it before and knew how it ended!) – that sounds trite, but in reality, there are very few books that can really make me set aside my to-do list and just spend an entire day reading.
The movies have been remarkable also. As any avid reader knows, the book is always better than the movie, and there is nothing worse than a poorly done movie adaptation of a favorite book. My husband, older son, and I have all read all of the Harry Potter books, and we have all thoroughly enjoyed the movies as well. Of course, as with any movie adaptation, especially of such long books, there are many small details missing and other details that need to be changed, but overall, the Harry Potter movies have stuck closely to the original books. In this case, the movies have been additive, bringing our favorite characters and scenes to life in a way that pays homage to the books.
Harry Potter has been more than a story; it has defined a whole generation, creating a cultural phenomenon never before seen. Before J.K. Rowling came along, could you even have imagined a book causing hundreds of thousands of fans to line up for hours? Or bookstores staying open until midnight so that people could buy a book at the exact moment of its release? Or kids willingly reading 800-page tomes? Harry Potter caused all of that and more, paving the way for other mega-popular books and midnight release parties (Twilight comes to mind).
So, now it’s all over – the last book written, the last movie made. Will my family ever go to the movies again? Well, if we ever miss Harry Potter, we’ll find him alive and well on our bookshelves, in seven beautiful hardcover volumes, just waiting to take us back to the world of witchcraft and wizardry.(NOTE: I thought you might enjoy some more photos from my son’s 8th birthday when we hosted a Harry Potter party: there’s Professor Snape presiding over Potions class, Madam Trelawney in Divinations class, and all the kids ready for their Sorting Ceremony. I also included a few photos on Monday’s post.)