Sunday, July 24, 2011

Thoughts on the conclusion of the Harry Potter phenomenon

The last Harry Potter movie hit theaters with the impact of an artillery shell last week. Millions of rabid fans dressed up as their favorite characters and lined up hours before showtime to celebrate the end of the thrilling saga of "the boy who lived".

I was airborne when the movie arrived, squiggling around in a miserable economy class seat, itching to get off at Los Angeles. I obviously didn't get to see it on opening day, and since most of my friends had already seen it, couldn't find anybody to come with me until today. I saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 in a 70% empty theater in Anaheim Hills. And I thought it was the best out of all eight.

Now plenty of reviewers and internet pundits have done some extensive analysis on the movie and expounded upon its many themes, prominently highlighting the end of childhood aspect of it. I won't do much of that anymore because, frankly, it's boring at this point. I just wanted to offer some of my personal thoughts on it.

I am huge huge HP fan since I was 11. That's when my parents bought me the four-book set (the fifth one hadn't come out yet). I think I finished them off in a span of a month. I was so sorely disappointed that the fifth part wasn't going to be out for a long time that I spent hours conjuring up storylines for it. I have a rule that I don't read the same book twice, but I made a grudging exception for HP. In later years (after all seven were out), I would randomly pick up one of them and flip right to my favorite parts. I remember spending an obscene amount of time on this one website, called, reading up on every little detail and reveling in the eclectic essays posted by crazed fanboys. (BTW, last I heard the owner of hp-lexicon got sued by Rowling over plans of writing an encyclopedia and lost)

The world crafted by Rowling is incredibly imaginative and very complete. Her attention to details is admirable (minor plot points initiated in, say, the second book find resolution in the sixth). Her humor (or humour, I guess, in her honor) is like Diddy Riese cookies: thoroughly delicious and always fresh. Sure she kept readers waiting for answers in the early books - what is up with the diary? Why can Harry talk to snakes? - but the payoff was worth the long waits.

I grew up with the books and it was one hell of a decade living with more books or movies to look forward to. But I guess it must all end at some point. Hope the actors find other good work down the line, and more importantly, Rowling overcomes her firm insistence on not writing anything Harry related. Would love to experience that thrill, that anticipation all over again. 

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