Tuesday, July 19
it all ends here?
For the past few nights Zane and I have sat in front of his computer screen watching the films from 1-7 of the Harry Potter series. We have watched the young actors like Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint appear fresh, chubby cheeked with naivety and eager for their film adventure. At that age they probably didn’t yet recognise the significance of their roles for so many children around the world. My generation (give or take a few years) grew up with Harry Potter both as a book and film series. But it’s the films that create that solid, visual connection and it’s the fact that last film has recently come out that’s made me reflect on the significance of Harry Potter. By no way is this post endearing or new, but I have to get it out!
To the people who grew as Harry Potter grew, the sentimental connection we associate with it will always be the strongest. Each film is centered on a magical world at Hogwarts and beyond. This world is beautiful. From the stretched and moody English landscapes, the ancient architecture and to the use of magic to do the most basic to the most fantastically creative things, together this creates something that 11 year old hearts almost desperately desire. Several of my friends confessed that when they turned 11 they anxiously waited for a letter of acceptance into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. To those who established a connection with Harry Potter it was a connection that runs very deep.
Throughout each film the general story outline is almost the same. It starts at the hilariously awful Dursley’s muggle home where we first see Harry living in a cupboard under the stairs. Eventually, Harry gets his own room but the relationship between him and this family is often funny but never pleasant. Later, some way or another, Harry turns up at Hogwarts for a year of almost unbelievably brilliant adventures. Flowing through these adventures are ideas which express the importance of friendship and love. When Harry faces death, or the snake faced Voldermort, it is love that causes him to prevail. This love is very humane, not over romanticized. I think these morals come from J.K. Rowling’s (author) work at Amnesty International and perhaps even her own experiences of being a mother. These ideas seem important because they’re pulled from her experience with reality which I am sure, through working at Amnesty (amongst other things), she would have seen some very dark but also very beautiful aspects of humanity.
When I was younger, the first Harry Potter books were read to me and my brother. We all sat curled up in my parent’s bed, listening to one of them reading it aloud. Then, as my reading ability developed, I was able to have a first hand experience with the story. A lot of my friends followed this pattern. When the films started coming out, I remember desperately wanting to fly to England to play Luna Lovegood. However, what was more important than these frivolous child desires was the actual event of going to the cinema to watch Harry Potter. I have been with my family, friends and for school fundraisers. Although I moved from city to city, there was always a time in the year when Harry Potter was playing but of course it was different friends and schools that I went with. However, this only enhanced the idea that while I grew up, Harry Potter was always there, growing up with me.
And now, finally, the last film has come out. After people watched this one they started a ‘Post Harry Potter Depression’ group on facebook and I completely understand why. The final Harry Potter film marks the end of my and many others’ child hood. Never again will I ask myself which Harry Potter character will I dress up as to go watch the newest Harry Potter film. It’s not like there won’t be other films or books that will join me on my path of getting older but it’s the idea that the final chapter of a magical world I have known for years is written, produced, completed. It’s like having a friend who has always been there but who now has to move very far away. You can call them up and recollect past experiences but you have lost that ability to progress through life side by side
I hope to see the last film this Friday. It will be sad in someways but the final idea that turns these nostalgic feelings into happy ones is the remarkable ability of beautiful story telling. And what’s more, it’s the idea that the story is based on everything from an imagination. Imagination is just building blocks off reality, off things that we can or have all experienced. In that way the world breathes ignited, fierce and wonderful magic.
at 10:30:00 AM