So farewell then, Harry Potter

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So farewell then, Harry Potter

Post  eddie on Sat Jul 23, 2011 2:55 am

The books and the movies have been a part of many lives for what?...a decade or more.

I have the full set of Potter books on my bookshelf, purchased as each new volume appeared, but I've only caught about 2-and-a half of the movies, of which the best I've seen was The Prisoner of Azkaban.

This week saw the UK premiere of the positively last Harry Potter movie Deathy Hallows II in both 2-D and 3-D which has garnered generally positive reviews.

I might even go to see it.

The Harry Potter phenomenon has been just that....achieving almost global popularity unprecedented surely since The Beatles.

Last thought on the Boy Wizard and his chums, then.

What memories do they evoke? What did they mean to you?


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Re: So farewell then, Harry Potter

Post  LaRue on Sat Jul 23, 2011 9:15 pm

I wrote something really long...but it wouldn't post and I can't be bothered to write it out again.

I was 6 or 7 when I started reading the books, and I'm 18 now the last film has been released. It does not even need to be said that I've grown up with HP and that it's really been a part of my childhood. I've read and seen the movies over and over again, I've dressed up as the characters for midnight book releases/film showings, I've laughed and cried and I've spent literally hours ad hours of my life theorising bout what will happen to Harry in the books and also what the new movies will be like. Plus, I've grown up with Harry, Ron and Hermione kind of at the same time they have. Quite literally with Emma really as she went to my school and was in my house there etc. I'm really sad it's all over, it does feel like a chapter of my life has come to a close. It's all well and good being an adult and likin HP, but I can tell you, that has absolutely NOTHING on how awesome it is to be a child and to love HP, I'm really glad to be part of the so called "Harry Potter generation" it's been a blast.

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Re: So farewell then, Harry Potter

Post  eddie on Sat Jul 23, 2011 9:39 pm

It's been a commonplace sight over the past decade to see adult commuters with their noses deep in the latest Harry Potter novel.

I can't think of an equivalent franchise which has had the same cross-generational appeal.

Looking back, I think the quality of writing was uneven and JKR could have done with the services of a sterner editor.

The transfer to film seems to have worked seamlessly though, and you wonder whether the author's imagination was cinematic rather than literary all along.

JKR herself seems to be an exceptionally nice person. If not quite a "rags to riches" story, her early struggles as a single-parent divorcee make her later success a genuinely heart-warming real-life tale of the good guys winning in the end.

flower flower flower

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Re: So farewell then, Harry Potter

Post  eddie on Mon Aug 01, 2011 8:51 pm

Pottermore website launched by JK Rowling as 'give-back' to fans

Harry Potter author unveils free, collaborative website for which she has written extensive background material

Alison Flood guardian.co.uk, Thursday 23 June 2011 12.05 BST

JK Rowling shocked and thrilled her fans in equal measure today, with the revelation that her new venture Pottermore was set to feature a wealth of new and previously unpublished material about the world of Harry Potter.

Although the author made clear that she had "no plans to write another novel", the fresh Potter material – to be unveiled later this year - already stretches to 18,000 words about the novels' characters, places and objects, with more to come. From Professor McGonagall's love for a Muggle as a young woman, to how the Dursleys met (Petunia was working in an office); from new information about Slytherin, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff houses, to details about wand wood, Rowling's writing will be just one part of the richly interactive, free Pottermore.com website, which is intended to bring the Harry Potter storylines to interactive life for readers.

"I had more than half of the new material already written or in note form. I literally dug some out of boxes," said the author at a press conference this morning to announce the launch of the website, which she and the Pottermore management team have been working on for two years with UK digital agency TH_NK. "I generated more material than ever appeared in the books. I thought 'who would ever want to know the significance of all the difference wand woods?' ... Now you can go and see. It's such a rich experience to do it this way."

The material will be used on the new, free Pottermore website, a collaborative project for fans set in the Harry Potter universe. "I wanted to give something back to the fans that have followed Harry so devotedly over the years, and to bring the stories to a new generation," Rowling revealed. "I hope fans and those new to Harry will have as much fun helping to shape Pottermore as I have. Just as I have contributed to the website, everyone else will be able to join in by submitting their own comments, drawings and other content in a safe and friendly environment. Pottermore has been designed as a place to share the stories with your friends as you journey through the site." The website will open first to a million users who register first on 31 July – Harry's birthday. These users will help shape the site, with its full launch to all users to take place in October.

Pottermore will also sell the long-awaited ebook versions of the Harry Potter books directly to users from October, as well as digital audiobooks. "It is my view that you can't hold back progress. Ebooks are here to stay. Personally I love print and paper. [but] very very recently for the first time I downloaded an ebook and it is miraculous, for travel and for children. So I feel great about taking Harry potter into this new medium," Rowling said. "We knew there was a big demand for ebooks but if it was going to be done we wanted it to be more than that ... I wanted to pull it back to reading, to the literary experience, the story experience, and this is what emerged."

Although Rowling's publisher Bloomsbury will receive a share of revenues from the ebooks, the digital editions, which will be compatible with all devices, will only be sold from the Pottermore website, thus disintermediating other booksellers such as Amazon. "It means we can guarantee people everywhere are getting the same experience," said Rowling, of her decision to go it alone. "[I am] lucky to have the resources to do it myself and am therefore able to do it right. It's a fantastic and unique experience which I could afford in every sense. There was really no other way to do it."

Starting with the first novel in the series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Pottermore will allow its users to navigate their way through the story, with all-new illustrations and interactive "moments". Users start out by choosing a magical username, and as they move through the chapters of the book they will be sorted into houses – Rowling herself has written a "vast pool" of questions to direct users to their correct home – choose wands, shop on Diagon Alley and experience life at Hogwarts, just like Harry. Points can be won for houses by casting spells and mixing potions, users will be able to comment and add their own drawings and content – and Rowling herself will be dropping in "as a normal punter" now and then.

"If you are not sorted into Gryffindor, if you go into one of the other three houses, you will effectively get an extra quarter of a chapter. You will go off into your own common room, meet your own prefect, and find out what the true nature of the house is. In the main novel you only see the houses through the eyes of the heroes. So it's not a terrible thing to be in Slytherin," said the author, who admitted it was "a little frightening" how easily she slipped back into writing about Potter. "It's exactly like an ex-boyfriend ... I've never cried for a man as I cried for Harry Potter. Now we're casually dating and we have been for two years."

The author, who has sold 450m copies of the Harry Potter books worldwide, said that she still receives a "huge" amount of fan mail – "drawings, stories, ideas, suggestions I write prequels and sequels", so she felt the site was "a really great way to give back to the Harry Potter readership, who have obviously made the books such a huge success".

"This site is a fantastic way for fan creativity to continue. It's amazing for me to be creative in this medium, which didn't exist back in 1990," she added.

For the moment, Pottermore will be restricted to the world of the first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, but all seven books will be added in due course, complete with new material from Rowling – including, she promised, a more detailed explanation of Quidditch. "The number of geeky men who come up to me to argue about Quidditch – well, I'd be a lot richer if I got a quid for every one," she said. "They just think it's illogical. It's not. I had a speech by Dumbledore in the first book explaining why it's not illogical, but it never made it in. It will do at some point."

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Re: So farewell then, Harry Potter

Post  Yakima Canutt on Wed Aug 21, 2013 1:25 pm

In a rare annotated copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, J.K. Rowling commented that she wondered if people would have thought differently of Hufflepuff House had she gone with her original instinct and made their mascot a bear rather than a badger. It’s an interesting thought, sure, but probably would have only led to droves of Winnie the Pooh comparisons, with pictures of Hufflepuffs holding their hands to their heads and shouting “Think!” over and over.

While Slytherin and Hufflepuff both have their share of intensely dedicated fans, it’s no secret that among the general Potter-reading population, most would prefer to be a Gryffindor or a Ravenclaw. Why? Do people prefer lions and ravens? Red and blue? Or is it something a little less obvious… perhaps something to do with the attributes awarded to each house, and the values we place on them as a culture?

Life’s not easy for the Hufflepuffs out there. In every sketch, humorous fanfic, and rousing talk over butterbeer at the Harry Potter theme park, they are the butt of all the jokes. Sweet and slow like molasses, that’s what people think. Sure friends, but not particularly talented. Or, as one of those hilarious Second City videos has put it—“I can’t digest lactose; I’m a Hufflepuff!”

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Re: So farewell then, Harry Potter

Post  Yakima Canutt on Wed Aug 21, 2013 1:26 pm

Though the jokes are certainly funny, they’re not at all fair. Only last year, Rowling praised her daughter for saying that everyone should want to be a Hufflepuff, and claimed that it was her favorite house too for reasons that the last book makes clear; when the students have a choice about whether or not to fight in the Battle of Hogwarts, the badgers all stay “for a different reason [than the Gryffindors]. They didn’t want to show off, they weren’t being reckless, that’s the essence of Hufflepuff.” So why don’t people get that? Why will Hufflepuff always be a shorthand term to make fun of those deemed dull and useless? Why are Slytherins assumed to be straight-up terrible people?

And what if it’s just a matter of word association?

Let’s talk about the central terminology associated with each Hogwarts House.

   * Gryffindors are brave.
   * Ravenclaws are intelligent.
   * Slytherins are ambitious.
   * Hufflepuffs are loyal.

Now, none of these terms are actually bad things to be, but in everyday society we read between the lines and give them other meanings. Bravery is all about heroics. If you’re brave, you self-sacrifice, you’re there to further the common good by helping those in need. You’re one fearless berserker. Intelligence is always valued, even when people want to tear it down out of spite. Smart people are always essential, they are always valuable. If you’re smart, you are meticulous, the person to call upon in a crisis. You have expertise, and that is required in all areas of life.

But ambition often reads like this: You’re selfish. You’re completely focused on your own evolution, and you don’t care who you have to screw over to get to the top. You are looking out for Number One, and all that matters is your position, your station in life. And loyalty reads like this: You’re a follower. A pushover. You find the strongest voice, you latch onto it, and you are there ’til the bitter end whether or not it’s in your best interest. You are a good person to have at someone’s side, but you have no backbone.

It’s not too hard to figure out which of the four options are going to look most appealing to the general population.


Last edited by user on Wed Aug 21, 2013 1:29 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: So farewell then, Harry Potter

Post  Yakima Canutt on Wed Aug 21, 2013 1:26 pm

What many fail to realize is that the downsides of Gryffindor and Ravenclaw are just as undesirable. Intelligence is great—of course it is—but if that’s your primary characteristic, you might also be cold and detached. Wit is entertaining, but it is often scathing as well. If you’re too logical, you run the risk of being too cautious in your approach to life. Not every Ravenclaw chose to fight Voldemort and his followers in Deathly Hallows because they weighed the options, considered every avenue carefully, and decided what they thought about the possible outcomes. That doesn’t make them bad people by any means, but it can mean that Ravenclaws are liable to pursue logic to the exclusion of compassion.

And here’s a good object lesson for Gryffindors from personal experience… I’m a Gryffindor. I know, it’s boring. I’d sort of rather be a Ravenclaw, or maybe a Slytherin. But every time I do one of those dumb online tests or think about it really hard, I know where I’d end up at Hogwarts. Why’s that, you ask?

Funny story: I once participated in a theatre workshop where the instructor had given us this really cool exercise—she would give a group of six or seven of us a word, and we had 10 seconds to work out a tableau that imparted that word to the audience. My group was given “Protect.” We only had enough time to decide who in the group would be protected before she called on us to create the tableau. We assembled the picture and froze. “Well,” she said, in a very Professor McGonagall-y sort of way, “isn’t that interesting.”

Using my peripheral vision, I could just make out the scene we had formed. Every other person in the group was working to corral the person who needed protecting away from harm, leading her to some safe haven. But I (alone) had flung myself in front of her, feet planted, arms spread wide to fend off whatever was coming.

You see where I’m going with this, right? Foolhardy. Inclined to grandeur. Big gestures without much forethought. Gryffindors come with their own special set of issues that are every bit as unattractive as Slytherin egocentricity and the Hufflepuffian potential for playing second fiddle to stronger personalities. The problem is, people in the wizarding world clearly have the exact same preconceptions about Hogwarts Houses. New students come in with all sorts of opinions about where they should want to be. Only people from Slytherin families actually want to be in Slytherin. That’s probably mostly true for Hufflepuffs as well, though they would likely be just as pleased to have their kids end up in Ravenclaw or Gryffindor. But there’s a pervading sense that Slytherins are bad news and Hufflepuffs are lame, even among other wizards.

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Re: So farewell then, Harry Potter

Post  Yakima Canutt on Wed Aug 21, 2013 1:27 pm

If only there had been someone in those books who could have shifted our perceptions and taught us better—wait, there was. In fact, he had a depressingly abrupt death that you might recall from the end of Goblet of Fire….

Cedric Diggory was supposed to be the lesson in all of this. Instead of inciting irritation and confusion in readers, the reaction to his selection in the Triwizard Tournament should have only ever been, “Of course the Hogwarts Champion is a Hufflepuff.” That was precisely the point. Of course the person who represents everything excellent about Hogwarts—its students, legacy, caliber—would come from Hufflepuff. Some roll their eyes and claim that Diggory was mis-sorted; clearly he’s a Gryffindor. No, he’s not. Being brave and charismatic does not make you a Gryffindor. Gryffindors can also be smart—Hermione is a prime example who was also not mis-sorted—just as Ravenclaws can be cunning, and Slytherins loyal. The houses are not as cut and dry as they seem. Where you are sorted has to do with what is important to you, what parts of your person need to be nurtured as you’re learning and growing.

Cedric Diggory was the Hogwarts Champion and he was pure Hufflepuff, through and through. Just, honest, hardworking and fair. Helpful, capable, and a fierce friend, just as Dumbledore said. It’s not as flashy as Gryffindor swagger, but it’s infinitely more admirable.

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Re: So farewell then, Harry Potter

Post  Yakima Canutt on Wed Aug 21, 2013 1:28 pm

On the other hand, Slytherin presents a unique set of issues in perception. That poor house is the worst kind of self-fulfilling prophecy; it’s obviously possible to be ambitious and still be a good person, but you attract a certain type of personality by making it the soul of your snaky crest. What Slytherin seems to need is more students who are constructively ambitious, and the fact that they don’t have them is largely the wizarding world’s fault—in part due to the reputation of the house, but even more because wizarding society is stagnating in the shadows during Harry’s time. If the future generation continues to build and create better relations with the muggle world, it’s possible that new Slytherins will be the architects of that world, so long as they don’t have all that pureblood station propaganda to worry about anymore. Slytherins are not inherently evil at all, but they need more interesting goals to achieve now that the primary one is no longer “Keep Voldemort happy with my family or we’ll all die.”

And why do we continue to think of Gryffindors as the ultimate heroes? They have those knightly complexes, that’s for sure, and we’ve never quite put our admiration for chivalry to rest. The fact that some of those lionhearts may be enacting impressive feats for their own glorification isn’t as important to readers as the fact that they do it. We also have to consider that being so willing to throw yourself into harms way, but being incredibly flawed in how you go about it, is just plain interesting. Gryffindors make good heroes because their hubris gives them imperfections. It’s fun to watch them land hard when they don’t think things through.

What it means is that Hufflepuffs might actually be too good to be interesting protagonists. And Slytherins won’t get invited to the party until they have new points of interest. Instead of the damage of word association propagated by the Sorting Hat and family histories, it would be better to ignore what people say about the founders and the former alumni, and instead focus on what each house has to offer its students. It’s clear that Harry has adopted this policy by his middle age, prompting him to tell his son Albus that being sorted into Slytherin was really entirely okay as long as it made him happy. The houses should be an exercise in celebrating the diversity of the student population, not a dividing line that makes it easier to bully each other.

The generation that battled Voldemort was markedly imperfect, but with a little work they could achieve a future where everyone is proud to be sorted anywhere in Hogwarts at all. We should think on that future, and stop giving Hufflepuffs and Slytherins such an unduly hard time.

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