Harry Potter and the Endless Franchise

Apologies for my delay in posting. Not the best way to get started here, but I like to think this post will be worth it. Anyway…

If only I too could use massive, game-changing time-travel technology for incredibly mundane tasks.

It all ended yesterday. And it’s about goddamn time.

For 10 years now, I have watched Pottermania sweep the globe with an attitude akin to a 1960’s music critic who thinks these “Beetle” kids have some catchy tunes and all, but everyone just needs to calm the fuck down. Like so many other members of my generation, I was charmed by the series’ first installment, but when I started reading about the costumes, parties, and general mass psychosis that met the release of the second book, even my ten-year-old self couldn’t help but think, “boy, that’s weird.” And we’re talking about a kid who stayed entranced with Pogs long past their cultural expiration date, so…

Mystery Door #2, circa 1998.

I won’t deny that I raced to procure my copy of each new adventure just like everyone else, but my zeal always felt rather obligatory. I saved my genuine excitement for the inevitable film franchise, and the implications of that statement must come with a full confession: I like the Harry Potter films more than the books.

I know, this is a shocker: the film-obsessed blogger loves movies more than books? Stop the fucking presses. But hey, I did take a Shakespeare course once, so I happen to think my literary taste is also impeccable.

"Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ear..."

Let’s face it, shall we? The movies provide all of the charm, wonder, and strong sense of character you find in the books, only they cut out much of the bullshit, i.e. the horrendous depiction of adolescent emotions and endless, unnecessary detail. I’m sorry, but J.K. Rowling couldn’t write about teenage crises to save her life. This wouldn’t have been a problem if she hadn’t started dedicating 300 pages per book to Harry’s testicles and all the mysterious stirrings therein. So when the films ignored Rowling’s CAPS-LOCK style of emoting in favor of quieter, more genuine scenes, I was quite pleased to find that watching Degrassi: Hogwarts edition did not make me want to gouge out my own eyeballs. Granted, movie Harry and Ginny have all the chemistry of two siblings cast as the leads of a middle-school production of “Romeo and Juliet.” But hey, the camping scenes in “Deathly Hallows, Part I” were pretty good, and I REALLY hated those fucking camping scenes.

Possibly the only thing more boring than camping is reading about camping.

And yes, my enthusiasm does still apply to the first two films, when young Daniel Radcliffe and company had not yet grasped the concept of this whole “acting” thing. Detractors dismiss Chris Columbus’ attempts as slight and childish, apparently forgetting THAT’S WHAT THE BOOKS WERE LIKE. This is probably the one instance you’ll find where I am somehow less snobby about movies than the pop culture majority.

Rabid HP fans also often whine about how many details and side plots get left out of the books, but I’m sorry, I really don’t care about Hermione’s efforts to politically enlighten the huddled house-elf masses. Save that crap for your HP/Communist Manifesto crossover fanfiction, which I know you’re planning on writing just as soon as you finish editing your teary retrospective YouTube montage.

As plain, good old-fashioned fantasy entertainment, the films have always hit the mark, even in places where the books stumbled on deliriously convoluted plot exposition. All I want from my Harry Potter experience is 1) streamlined, epic storytelling, and 2) Alan Rickman. The films have provided both these things, without the sense that you’re reading an exceptionally long Wikipedia page.

Oh yeah. Sexy.

Even still, 8 movies? That’s a bit much. I had a lot of fun last night at “Deathly Hallows, Part 2,” and will happily debate its merits for the next week or two. But after that, can we please move on?