Friday, November 19, 2010

Harry Potter (As required by Internet Rule #47854b)

Ramblings Post #153
It's that time of year, when it gets a little chilly. When the coats come out, the hot chocolate starts its mojo and the snuggling is the lick. And because we don't ice skate in the South, people release movies because they know we don't have anything else we want to do. Because it's cold outside. And the movie theater has warm popcorn. Warm-ish, anyway.

I actually read the first part of one of the Harry Potter books once. It was during a long road trip, there were too many folks in the car of disparate ages so the consensus radio station pick pleased no one, and I technically will read just about anything.

I was surprised first to find it was a children's book. The tome, and it was a tome - meaning a thick piece of book - that I picked up looked daunting to the experienced reader. That a child would sit down and read it in depth gave me the impression that inside must be damn good writing. Note the use of the term "impression".

Apparently my tastes in literature had matured.

I read a quick hundred or so pages during the first part of the ride, wondering what the fuss was about. [ In the interest of full disclosure, I hope I'm never in a situation where I have to read any of the Twilight books. Not ever. ] Maybe you have to start at the first book, but good book series' make you want to go back. When we stopped for gas, that book made me buy a magazine.

And now, who knows how many years later, they've been adapted to the movies, which I understand are in a decidedly un-Hollywood fashion "true to the source material". I think I watched the first two. I mean the HBO is paid for, so why not? And because all good things eventually do, that series is about to come to an end.

And the internet tears are starting to flow.

I am unamused.

Maybe it's that I didn't really find her writing all that appealing. It is rare that I'll start reading something that I don't want to finish, because I've found something I want resolved, and then I just want to finish. And the one I started reading, I remember the lead character going to a Quiddictch tourney or something and they had to "camp" out wizard style. The story didn't really have an impetus to me, but like I said, maybe you had to start at the beginning.

Maybe its that I just don't appreciate magic stories. Stories with magic are usually sloppily written, with the character always finding or finally getting right that one spell they need for that one heroic occasion, just in the nick of time. To build needed story tension, most times the author has to telegraph this intention with obvious clues way too early. I like a bit more sophistication in my writing, stories where I have to flip back and forth to make sure they really did do X fifty pages ago, because it was so subtle you would have missed it at regular speed.

Maybe it's petty jealousy, because I've never been able to finish anyone of the many series I've started in my head. Way too often a new story idea pops its head up because that's how my brain works, and rather than lose the idea I jump on it....which puts everything else back. I say way to often because in the past month a new story idea popped out, and today, yet another. And I have finals coming up so all I can do is jot down some notes. Frustrating.

But in any case, I'm just unamused at this outpouring of emotion.

And then the author, Ms. Rowling, has hinted at yet another Harry Potter book, even though she pretty definitively ended the series with the epilogue of the last book. So a "next chapter" in the story makes no sense. The only reason to write another one, because she surely doesn't need the money, is ego. That, and perhaps my suspicion that she got lucky with this story idea and is afraid (or unable) to craft anything else that doesn't borrow heavily from this. Writing a second story line that either doesn't touch or or lightly brushes the old character in an established universe takes talent, but writing something entirely new with the same breadth and scope means you might be related to writing wunderkind Stephen King, if only spiritually.

And I quite frankly don't think she has it in her.

I won't see this movie until, in a Pirates of the Caribbean fashion, one of the cable channels gives us a 16 or 20 hour Harry Potter marathon weekend. And then only if I can't find the remote.

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