To coincide with a visit to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour, we watched all eight of the Harry Potter movies. That is approximately 19 hours of watching a nerdy boy with glasses cast magical spells.
I doubt there are many amongst us who have not had any encounters at all with the wonderful students and staff of Hogwarts and its associated company of wizards, witches, goblins, dwarves, giants, elves and monsters – not to mention the all-powerful Dark Lord, Voldemort. Harry Potter has become part of our popular culture, a publishing and marketing phenomenon.
Watching the earliest films, ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ and the ‘Chamber of Secrets’, what struck me most is that without the context of the later stories and movies, they are simply excellent films. The characters are young and the stories have more of a fairy tale, action adventure air about them. If I were a younger viewer, they would have transported me in my imagination to another world. But J.K.Rowling’s genius is the development of the plot and its cast – in particular Harry, Hermione, Ron, Ginny and Neville. The whole premise shifts almost imperceptibly from a fun idea, into something much more sinister and encompassing than sticking a wand up a troll’s nose!
The death of Cedric Diggory in ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’ is pivotal within the development of the plot and its players. All of a sudden, the power of magic becomes more than a useful tool and its full potential is realised. As the characters move through puberty and into adolescence, their whole emotional maturity grows as they grapple with grief, guilt, responsibility, loyalty, love and jealousy. The fearless trio seem to battle as many demons inside their own minds as they do outside of them.
Excuse the terrible pun, but I was spellbound! The lure of the imaginary world and the detail of the plot are more captivating when watching the films in close succession. Occasionally I got lost in the twists and turns of the storyline and its 200+ characters, but that’s OK, nobody likes anything too simple.
How did Emma Watson grow up into someone so good-looking?
And Daniel Radcliffe, well, so…not?
Incidentally, the Warner Bros Tour is amazing. You don’t have to be a raving HP fan to enjoy it, I think most people would enjoy seeing how they manipulate Computer-Generated Images and construct animatronics. The facilities are excellent, and even the refreshments are reasonably priced. Butterbeers and Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans all round!