Last… spring, I guess? my wife, son, and I went to the movies and, before the film, saw a preview for Harry Potter 7, part one. My son turned to me and said “I want to see that.”
“You can’t. You haven’t read the book yet.”
He hadn’t been interested at all in Harry Potter until then, but that was all the urging he needed. Later that week we pulled book 1 down off the shelf and read them aloud in the evenings. Most evenings, anyway.
I’d forgotten how funny those early books were. Sometimes we were laughing so hard that the reader had to put the book down until we’d composed ourselves. And, somewhere in book 4, he became sick of it and we had to drag him back in.
We finished the last book today. My wife cried during several of the final chapters, especially “The Prince’s Tale,” “The Forest Again,” and “King’s Cross.” I don’t know what anyone else thinks, but whatever Rowling’s other faults, she wrote the hell out of “The Forest Again”. That chapter is one serious kick in the ass.
SPOILERS for the series.
I can’t help but wonder how much behind the scenes information the filmmakers had from Rowling. There’s a scene near the end of movie 3 in which Lupin transforms into a werewolf and Snape steps in front of the three kids. It’s clearly a brave, heroic move, and nothing at all what you’d expect from a true Death Eater.
The situation doesn’t even come up in the book; Snape is still unconscious when Lupin changes (the whole werewolf scene is quite different). They also telegraph the romantic relationship between Ron and Hermione much earlier.
Anyway, the books were terrific this second time around–very satisfying. I know a lot of people hated Harry around book 5, but I couldn’t help but see him as suffering the after-effects of Cedric Diggory’s murder. My wife, who never reads fiction (except mine), really loved the books, too.
As for the new movie, the animated story of the three brothers was the best part, but the movie wasn’t terribly by any means. The three leads have matured nicely as actors, and they managed to introduce several necessary but film-neglected characters smoothly. None of it had the thrills or the hopelessness of the books, but it worked on its own.
This whole series deserves a more in-depth post, but it’s late and I’m sleepy. Considering everything that’s been going on, I’m not seeing myself putting together an real analysis of the books, the films, or the changes that happened in adaptation.