5 films later and our Harry Potter movie marathon is over! I love the music, the ever more dramatic storyline and the fact that the acting skills of Harry, Ron and Hermione improve with each film. To see the films now, having been to the Warner Bros Studios outside Watford, and having seen the sets, the props, the costumes and the make up, lets us see so much more. Having walked along Diagonal Alley, through the Great Hall, peered into the Gryffindor common room. the boy’s dormitory, Dumbedore’s office, the Ministry of Magic and Privet Drive, seen the Night Bus and Mr Weasley’s car, Aragog and Buckbeak, and Hogwart’s itself, we can appreciate the extraordinary skill involved in making the Harry Potter movies.
The other thing I really love about watching Harry Potter is watching Simon watching Harry Potter – he so enjoys the movies and knows them so well. He tells me when good parts are coming, or when it is going to be scary and he laughs so hard at the jokes! It is special to share that with him.
J K Rowling says one of the major themes of her books/movies is death and I quote: “My books are largely about death. They open with the death of Harry’s parents. There is Voldemort’s obsession with conquering death and his quest for immortality at any price, the goal of anyone with magic. I so understand why Voldemort wants to conquer death. We’re all frightened of it.”
Perhaps I am a bit simplistic but they seem to me to be more about life, than death, and choosing what is right, even if that choice means great personal peril. About love overcoming evil, ultimately. J K Rowling says the key for her was the choice between what is right and what is easy, “because that … is how tyranny is started, with people being apathetic and taking the easy route and suddenly finding themselves in deep trouble.” Rowling has stated that the books comprise “a prolonged argument for tolerance, a prolonged plea for an end to bigotry” and that also pass on a message to “question authority and… not assume that the establishment or the press tells you all of the truth”.
And this is a little from the speech J K Rowling gave to the Harvard graduates of 2008
“If you choose to use your status and influence to raise your voice on behalf of those who have no voice; if you choose to identify not only with the powerful, but with the powerless; if you retain the ability to imagine yourself into the lives of those who do not have your advantages, then it will not only be your proud families who celebrate your existence, but thousands and millions of people whose reality you have helped change. We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.”
And we all need to choose between apathy or right, to change the world or not – it is up to us, although I have to admit that I am not at all sure that I could be as brave and selfless as Harry Potter!