Sunday, July 31, 2011

Rowling Has Ensnared the Senses...

As I sit waiting for the first Pottermore clue to be revealed, I thought the perfect post for July 31st—both Harry Potter and J.K. Rowlings birthdays—would be about Harry Potter (I started this at 11:30 last night).  I do need to talk about the final film because, despite what eye-rollers say, it IS the end of an era.  But, it’s not just the last movie that makes it so, it’s realizing that this children’s book series catapulted voracious, underground, and dormant readers (*wink wink*, Donalyn Miller) into reading…the same books!  It made readers out of my siblings—my brother, who started the series when it was first published when he was in middle school and my sister who started the movies when she was in kindergarten and the books when she was in third grade.  “And between you and me, that’s saying something.” ;)
Going to midnight release parties for the books were like the high school/college parties I never attended.  Technically, I worked all of them for the Borders store in Brentwood, MO (that’s a WHOLE ‘nother blog entry)—but, having my sister, (my brother for the first one or two), my mom, book people, and HP fans there created the only high I’ll ever need.  I still have the Dumbledore costume my mom made for me—I loved it so much, I wore it for three straight release parties (admittedly, I got flack for it during the last book’s release since Dumbledore was technically dead—but not gone, as all readers would later find out). 
The books create a world that is a grand escape—in fact, the books leave such an impression, that while watching the movies, the extra details that aren’t in a scene still play out in my head and make that movie scene even more real.  Harry is a survivor, but not only that, he is courageous, loyal, faces issues every adolescent does, and is down to earth (with friends who will snap him back into place if he forgets it).  And really, what reader doesn’t dream of the day, where they find out they are part of something exceptional?  I don’t mean just being accepted into a school like Hogwarts, but any something wonderful.  (I didn’t even know until recently that several college student groups had school shirts made that on the back said “…because I was waitlisted at Hogwarts.”)
Rowling takes you into her world—in fact, when I was watching the last movie and saw parts of Hogwarts being destroyed, I cried because I felt as if one of my safe havens was being threatened.  She has ensnared me, my siblings, my mom…millions.  Her writing is eloquent and she spares no expense when it comes to details.  I don’t care what critics say about certain books—they hold magic within their pages, they’ve captivated the world so many times over, they continue to create readers.  Remember that last part, THEY CONTINUE TO CREATE READERS!  And really, that’s all I ask for.
I realized the other thing that draws me to Harry Potter is the characters and the unbreakable friendship between Harry, Ron, and Hermione.  I will ALWAYS strive to be the type of friend those three are to each other.  It’s realistic and heart-felt, not always perfect, but the core is strong.  What great role models they provide for the generations growing up.  Even when the tension between Ron and Hermione is there, I think that’s just another way to show that sometimes a great romance can come of a friendship.  I also think the bond between Harry and Hermione shows that yes, friendships between the opposite sex can be sweet and platonic—I think the films added to this.
Anyway, the last Harry Potter film was incredible—it took me reading somewhere that you CANNOT read (or in my case reread) the book before seeing the movie because you’ll only be mad at what was left out.  True, I’m still miffed that they left the battle out of the end of the sixth movie—I know why, but still, it bothers me.  But, I finally decided to view the movies as somewhat of a separate entity—not completely separate because I still fill in the details to add to certain scenes.  The last movie was non-stop—they really did make it an action/adventure movie, but drama, a little bit of comedy and romance, and suspense played into it, as well.  Just when you think there might be a slight lull, you’re on to the next scene.  I loved that certain minor characters in the previous movies, get there moments to shine-- specifically Neville Longbottom, Professor Snape, Professor McGonagall, and Mrs. Weasley.  The self-satisfied expression on Mrs. Weasley’s face after she delivers her famous line and kills Bellatrix Lestrange is SO, hmm…delicious.
The special effects were awesome—one of my friends even remarked that the snake (Nagini) looked so real.  There were other effects that caught my attention, too.  I love how Harry’s and Voldemort’s wands connect and react to each other.  The ghost of Helena Ravenclaw, the dragon scene at Gringott’s, the scene where the shield around Hogwarts is created and likewise destroyed, I could go on and on, but they were all so well-done. 
Fine, I also admit I cried, er, sobbed when I saw the last movie the first time…you didn’t really think I would see it only once now?!

I have to tell myself that “this isn’t goodbye, not really” because good books (and movies) are like good friends, you always want to see them again. 

Thank you, J.K. Rowling for Harry Potter and his world!

Miller, D. (2009). The Book whisperer. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Rowling, J. (1997). Harry potter series. New York, NY: Scholastic.

Image from Scholastic


  1. I see that you compoleted the PSU master of education in children's literature and curriculum instruction. Do you feel this has helped you in your job? Was it a useful, enjoyable program? How much work was the program?

  2. Hello,
    I have a quick question for you about your site. If you could please get back to me as soon as possible I would greatly appreciate it. Have a great day!

    Dan Gilbert
    Communications Coordinator
    Primrose Schools

  3. To anonymous #1:
    I feel that having a master's helps in the job market today--but that is NOT why I decided to earn the degree. I am a life-long learner. I searched a couple of years to find just the right program and that's what Penn State offered--a mix of children's literature and curriculum and instruction. I've been avidly working with children's literature a long time, so I see my degree as more of a personal gain (and interest). Anything I found relevant in my program, I have applied to my job. I have a post that talks somewhat about my degree--I loved the program and the different takes on children's literature, the master's research for my paper, as well as communicating in several forms via the internet and getting to work with some respected names in the field and with classmates from all over. The program is LOTS of work! I took two classes every semester for two years (while working full-time). There are higher expectations set on you because it is online work and you have to be very self-disciplined. I gave up my social life and hundreds of hours of sleep to complete the program.

  4. To Dan:
    Sure, just let me know how you want to communicate. Via DM on Twitter?