Monday, December 29, 2014

Harry Potter and the Endless Re-watch

The combination of HP on multiple channels in multiple countries and my nasty cold meant a heap of Harry Potter on TV the past few days.  I watched the first two movies in the US on Disney Family, part of the third and all of the fourth on Space in Canada, and the last four movies via our DVDs.  Time well spent.  I, of course, remembered the story and the deviations from the books pretty well, but some details and some reactions stood out.  My cold has wiped out my memories of the previous watching, but Erin Simpson (@charlie_simpson) has several nice tweets (as did I) during the festivities (she was watching independently from me, but our conversations crossed streams not unlike the magic emanating from dueling wands).*
* Ok, that is a bit much.  Blame my cold or the incredibly dusty room in which I watched the final Harry Potter movie (until the next one).  Oh, and some folks seemed surprised that folks who study national security love Harry Potter.  They must be new to my feed/blog.
 JK Rowling is a mean woman, as my wife always argues with heaps of death, gratuitous and not so much in the last book/movies.  One of the shocks this time was how much collateral damage Harry, Ron, and Hermione cause at Gringotts.  I blame the movie producers, as the book does not have heaps of goblins falling to their deaths or getting burned.  That was all prior to Voldy showing up, and were consequences of their assault on the bank.  They are as or more complicit in their deaths as Luke is with the construction workers on the Death Star.

I will always feel a chill when McGonagall orders Hogwarts to defend itself.  Maggie Smith was the underrated most valuable player of the entire series. 

I found it very appropriate that it was Hermione that knocked the werewolf off of Lavender Brown, her former romantic rival.  Poor Lavender.  Speaking of dead female Gryffindors, I guess I hadn't noticed that it was Parvarti Patil who Padma and Trewlawney were covering in the Great Hall during the timeout in the battle.  Again, JK is a mean woman....

As Erin noted on twitter, they really needed to do some contacts work or better casting--if it is all about Harry having Lily's eyes, make sure that Lily's eyes look a bit like Harry's, right?  Young Lily?  Not so much?  Older Lily? Maybe.

It got very dusty during the Snape memories scene--the series really is about love over hate.  Not just Harry vs. Voldy but also Snape vs. ... Snape.  The dusty conditions continued during the resurrection stone scene.

Always, always pause during the Voldy hugging Draco scene.

Neville's speech is great--watching the movies all over again, it is great to see Neville's progress from shy, awkward kid to hunk/hero.  My nieces have a severe love for this guy.

Two questions remain at the end.  Well, many as Erin was hardly satisfied by the 19 years later epilogue.  The first question is: would Harry really become an auror?  Would he continue to be fighting dark magic users?  Seems to me he had his fill by the end of the seventh book, that he had completed his mission and earned a peaceful life (to deal with his PTSD).  I like that JK had Ginny becoming a Quidditch player and then Q-reporter.  I guess Harry could not pursue quidditch after this, but perhaps a more apt occupation might have been ... professor?  Isn't Harry's best destiny to follow Dumbledore?  Harry's happiest moments in a dark year (Order of Phoenix) was teaching defense against dark arts to his friends.  He delighted in their success.  It seems to me that he would have been ideal to occupy that post for more than just one year at Hogwarts.  And publish or perish pales in comparison to dueling with the Dark Lord.

The other question my daughter raised this evening: how did the Potters get that big stack of cash in their vault at Gringotts?  How did this family become so wealthy?  I joked that a family with an invisibility cloak handed down from one generation to the next would have ways of making money.  She was shocked that I would suggest that the Potters were a family of thieves.  Maybe not.  Just an old wizarding family with a big vault and a big cloak....   Pretty sure that while Harry broke the wand (in the movie, buried with Dumbledore in the book) and gave up the stone, the cloak stays in the family.  Anyhow, something to ponder as my daughter and I turn to a completely different epic take--that of Baltimore.

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