Sunday, 2 August 2009


I am such a Harry Potter geek. Seriously. After all, I'm an academic. We're all a little OCD in some ways, and when we find something we enjoy, that compulsion tends to reveal itself. For example, I happen to know that, were Harry real, he'd be a year younger than me. Told you. Geek.

Anyway, the new movie, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, is out (as I'm sure you are all aware). I love it. I've heard some criticism about it, but I love it. Half-Blood Prince is my least favourite of the books, so it's not all that surprising that it would be my least favourite of the movies, as well. (My top picks are #s 3, 7 and 4, in that order. Then, 1 and 5 in whichever order you please, with 2 and 6 bringing up the rear.) However, I understand the narrative reasons for what has been done in this book. Each of the prior 5 books has had a discrete plot and a series plot. That is to say, in book 1, Harry had to defeat Quirel (discrete plot) and learn about Voldemort and the Wizarding World. Each of these discrete plots gets a resolution (defeat of Quirel, defeat of Basilisk and Riddle, saving Serious . . . ) which leaves the reader with a feeling of resolution, even though the larger plot is still open. Book 6 doesn't do that. There is no discrete plot. It's filling in all the blanks left by the previous 5 books (thus all the trips to the pensive) and setting up for book 7. Which means, it moves slower and doesn't have any resolution at the end. Especially since, in order to fulfil the 'coming of age' bit of the quest narrative, he has to be left all alone, without any adult help. That's why his parents, Serious and Dumbledoor all had to die. The Weaslies escape because they don't have any authority over Harry. They're friends, not guardians. Therefore, there is a feeling of tragedy and impending doom, rather than the hopefulness and completion of the previous books. It's the same reason why most people like Star Wars: A New Hope and Star Wars: Return of the Jedi better than Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. You can't solve the problem if you haven't gotten into trouble first! So, whilst book 5 will never be my favourite of the series, I understand its place and function.

Told you I was a geek!


English girl in NY - Jennifer said...

I went to see the movie yesterday and also went into it knowing it was likely not going to be my favourite because of the doom and gloom ending. I did enjoy it - but goblet of fire will always be my fav book and fav movie. JMO though!

Miss Megan said...

It's interesting because book #5 is actually my favorite. Many people are surprised to hear this, but like Empire Strikes Back, it is definitely darker and deeper than it's predecessors. Out of all the Harry Potter movies, #3 is probably my favorite, but Mike and I really enjoyed going to see Half Blood Prince. It was fun to see Snape's character get a lot of screen time, as well as watching the main 3 characters solidify their friendship. I am interested to see who will be directing the last 2 films...