Like The Queen
Whatever happens to strike my fancy, but surely some sort of fiber content.

2 Comments:

I don't like stoic sufferers either. I saw a movie last night that had one, and I wanted to shake her and make her change her behavior, but I didn't and she didn't.

By Blogger Nancy, at 12:54 AM  

Some of us have faced demonic forces in our lives, but we may have never recognized them as what they were. I'm sure I faced demonic forces for many years and didn't recognize them, until I started visiting the Franklin County Jail. During the eighteen years that I have been visiting the F.C. Jail, the Lord has allowed me to recognize demonic forces on several occasions. I'm sure it wasn't like the movie, which I haven't seen yet, but each occasion was real to me.

By Blogger Nancy, at 1:12 AM  

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Saturday, June 12, 2004  

We went to see Harry Potter 3 last night, BH, GF, and I. This girls’ night out was a first for us, and a chance to see a NotForDarlings type of movie. The Darlings, supposedly on a camping trip, were chased in by deplorable weather, though, and at 5:30, just as we were leaving for dinner, I got a call from the BD.

“We’re back!”

“Wonderful. We’re going to the movies, though, in an hour.”

“You mean I’m not invited?”

Moderate pause

“Of course. But you must be at the theater at 7. We’re going to see Harry Potter.”

Much longer pause.

“That is the one movie I would least like to see in the world.”

“Well then, we’ll see you about 10”

BD didn’t like the first one and I watched HP2 by myself. As noted before, I read the first 4 books in a 4 day marathon back in 2000. I didn’t read all of book 5, though perhaps I shall now. I only had a brief time to give it a go, since all our copies were on the reserve list. I just skimmed a bit; decided I didn’t care for the sour sulky boy he was becoming, even if most people think that is both normal and typical of teens; read the last 2 chapters to see who died; and returned the book.

So this brings me to an archetype I have a lot of trouble with - which people seem to find endearing. The silent sufferer. Peter Mayle did it in A Year in Provence. James Herriot did it in All Creatures Great and Small et. al. Chaim Potok did it with The Promise; to the point it made me sick. The one who is put upon and never complains. The one who is tormented, trashed, crushed and destroyed without complaining. What is it about complaining when injustice is done to you that is considered ... unmanly? impolite? rude? weak?

Why would anybody admire the little Spartan youth for letting a fox chew through his body? He sure won't make much of a soldier now. Why is he so afraid of the punishment he’s going to get he’d rather die? And what if no punishment is involved? Why in the heck does Harry Potter sulk around and mutter under his breath and take blow after blow and never ever goes to anybody in authority to ask for help?

In the end, the complaint of even the Columbine killers: “we were teased and tormented by the cool kids” rings hollow in my ear. If you are so miserable, so tortured in your daily life, why don’t you complain to those with the authority to change things? If you are merely being ignored, you aren’t being tormented - find something to do with your time. Believe me, among all the wealth of this world, there is plenty to do. But if you are being tormented enough to make you want to kill your tormentor - you are a fool not to find help. You don’t deserve my sympathy.

I hated it at the end of book 5, when Dumbledore weeps about not giving HP enough credit (at 15, fer god’s sake, in England you can rent an apartment at 16!) to understand the entirety of his position. I mean, it’s not as if he hasn’t had evidence of the threat he faces already nor given proof of both his understanding and ability to fight back. What about just sitting down, leveling with the kid, and enlisting his obviously superior talents in his own defense? I'm supposed to think Dumbledore thought what was happening to him hadn't already eliminated the chance for a normal childhood? Give me a break.

But there would be no story, you say? No drama? No action? No suspense and tension and resolution?

Well. Yes. That’s the difference between drama and real life. You have to have people act like idiots so that near disaster swoops in and our hero can save the day with his heroic abilities.

But if, as I believe, we are supposed to get our societal cues from our literature, I think the stoic sufferer who turns sulky is a reeeeealy bad cue. I would much rather read about someone who acted with logic, practicality and wisdom, and still mounted the seemingly insurmountable. I would have a lot better opinion of the author of said drama. Is it hard to do? You betcha. At least, it’s hard if you are trying to keep the story interesting. But it’s a worthy goal.

Okay. About the movie.

I really enjoyed it. I hadn’t read HP3 in 4 years, so I’ve forgotten much of the story and all of the details. What I remembered was that HP&Co. hid from the Prisoner till they discovered he was a good guy. I’d even forgotten Sirius could become a dog. That made the movie much more enjoyable for me, because I wasn’t too upset about anything that was left out.

That central plot movement - of tracking the prisoner while hiding from him - was the right thing to pick and since they had set a time limit for the movie, I think they did a good job. It’s fun to see these kids all growing older. It was interesting to see more diversity among the students. There were cameo shots of darker skinned children among the students. Filming to an American audience? British? I don’t know. It was just a little something I noticed. The big change in this story was the emphasis on the DigitalActionHero stuff - the digital animation, which I didn’t care for. I kept waiting for Skelator to come out of the forest. Well, that’s wrong. I didn’t mind it, I just wished it hadn’t given such a center stage role. I prefer live actors to pixels. (I admit it - I gagged at the promo for The Polar Express - with digital Jacky Chan waiters doing mega-flips in the dining car.)

The thing I liked the least was the short shrift Snape was given. I think he’s the most important character in the stories, outside of HP himself. I think the relationship between the him and HP is the most important one. How that is resolved will, imnsho, be what makes these books classics or leaves them just above the Animorphs series, in children’s literature. This is one of the universal issues a child has to deal with in order to grow up - the adult who hates him, for no reason, and is unfair. How those two work it out is the crucial issue after the obvious one of surviving annihilation by the Demonic Force. Since most of us won’t have a DemonicForce to worry about, the issue of Someone Who Hates Me and Has Power Over Me (teacher, boss, bad spouse, parent) is much more important.

Of course, these are my opinions. Who knows what the author wants to do. I certainly understand that action is required in a move-ie. Character development is difficult enough to portray on the written page. Transferring it to film requires a clever and concise mind and a precise eye.

A friend complained that there was no awarding of points at the end of the year. I think I agree with her - but only because it’s one of those things I remember from the book and always felt good about. I loved all the wizardy stuff that had to do with what the school was really like. I suppose the producers figured the audience already knows. They have videos and dvds of the first two films. They don’t need to be reminded of it. But that was a lot of the charm of the books and the films. There was one scene of quiddich and one with the magical candy - but I could have sat another half hour to watch a few more. I missed them, though I don’t think the lack of them ruined the movie.

In fact, the movie works well as a stand alone flick. It’s a fun, just scary enough, magic story. Definitely worth the $6 admission I paid and yep yep, I’ll enjoy watching HP4 when it comes out.

No fiber news at all. Bad Bess, Baad Baad Baaad. But I have a lovely long weekend free of obligations. Let us see what I can accomplish.


posted by Bess | 10:20 AM
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