Deconstructing Harry

Every evening in Paris, I would peel off all my miracle blister pads and soak my feet in our teeny-tiny bathtub for an hour or two, trying to summon the strength to go to dinner.  Rob would hover at first, feeling sorry for me, asking if I needed anything.  My answer was usually, "A kir.  And my Harry Potter book."

If you don't know about kir, you owe it to yourself to find out more.  But I don't think you could be a living, breathing human on planet Earth and not know about Harry Potter.

I finished Book 5 on the plane home from Paris and Books 6 and 7 shortly thereafter.  (Thanks to my friends who loaned me books throughout my quest!)  So from here on out, let no one say that my criticism of the Potter saga is uninformed.

And yes, it is still criticism.  I still don't think she's a very good writer.  The plots are interesting, but overly convoluted; I kept fighting to keep from attacking the thing with a red pen, as there were paragraphs and pages that were completely unnecessary.  In fact, there were whole plotlines that were unnecessary.  (One word: SPEW.)  My students seemed to think that there was some amazing final scene that brought together elements from every yawner scene in the saga, but I never found it, although I enjoyed the foreshadowing, particularly the many layers of Severus Snape.  I do agree with Laura that the stories are fun, but seriously (an Anna Karenina fan speaking here) they are TOO LONG!

So it should come as no surprise that as I watched the remaining movies (including the new one, which we saw very late Thursday night) I felt a sense of vinidication.  The movies are just better.  They're cleaner, more impressive, make more of the important relationships and less of the tangential ones.  There was only one point in any of the books where I started to get a little emotional (at the very end, when the ghosts of Harry's departed loved ones join him in his final journey -- it's hard not to get choked up there.)  But the films are far more moving, especially Harry's interactions with Sirius and Dumbledore.  The special effects are fun, the actors are believable, and the plot snips are, as I said, an improvement.

I could spend a lot more time bringing up little picky things, but I don't know that it would be worth it.  I understand the fascination with a world of fantasy, but I would rather my children read better examples of literature (Lewis, McDonald, L'Engle, Tolkien.)  However, I am definitely looking forward to the next two movies.  And I guess I will grudgingly admit that as an English teacher, I would rather my students read Harry than read nothing at all.