Friday, July 31, 2009

Harry Potter and Jane Austen? Yep.

Sigh. He's coming. Can you feel him? The Dark Lord ascends. Ok, well, not quite yet, but after seeing the Half-Blood prince last weekend, I feel a foreboding sense of darkness blanketing Harry and the gang.

All summer the one movie I wanted to see was HP & the Half-Blood Prince. It was the one outing I anxious looked forward to, especially because it came out in theatres on my birthday. But then there was an unexpected camping trip to the BWCA for my partner in crime and HP had to be postponed. I was ok with that as long as we got to go.

Ah, and it was worth it. The expensive meal in downtown Mpls (to celebrate an anniversary, not to celebrate HP), then going to the local theatre all dolled up. Yep, it was all worth it. I'd read a review that called this HP movie "artsy" and I like that. It's been interesting watching the movies as they ebb and flow with the tides of directors & screenwriters coming and going. (1. Chris Columbus/Steve Kloves, 2. Chris Columbus/Steve Kloves, 3. Alfonso CuarĂ³n/Steve Kloves, 4. Mike Newell/Steve Kloves, 5. David Yates/Michael Goldenberg & 6. Daivd Yates/Steve Kloves.) Each one has its own sense of something--be it awe, wonder, intrigue, foreboding and that works for me. They don't have to be just like the books, but I do think they do a good job on their own of telling the HP story.

A bits were added here and there (fire at The Burrow, the inferi scene), but all were done to tell part of the story that couldn't be fit into the final cut of the movie. (IE: The Burrow = muggle attacks throughout the book?) I loved the black inky smoke that arose from the pensieve and was also used for credits. Portraying the budding romances of H&G and R&H was done well. Sigh.

But friends, what has this to do with Dear Jane Austen? Oh, read on. There's always something.

I just happened to glance at the Sunday newspaper as the movie came out and what did they liken HP to? That's right folks--Pride and Prejudice. The article actually quoted John Granger, a Potter scholar. So I did some digging and found the actual artcle. "Harry Potter and the Ivory Tower: A Poster Scholar Puts J.K. Rowling's series on a shelf with Stoke, Chaucer, Austen and other Great Book Authors" can be found here.

Here's a small excerpt about its likeness to P&P:
Just as the key to Darcy and Elizabeth’s engagement in Pride and Prejudice was Darcy seeing past his pride and Elizabeth overcoming her prejudice, Harry’s victory over Lord Voldemort must come through love and after the revelation of an unexpected back to a revered or reviled front. Harry, like Darcy and Elizabeth, however, had to transcend his pride as a Gryffindor and free himself of his “old prejudice” against Slytherins.
Earlier in the article, Granger also discusses pride and I liked his thoughts. I'd never thought of this before. "Capital, capital," as Mr. Lucas would say.
We have, of course, the constant of “proper wizard pride” by which all nonmagical people, indeed, even magical brethren who are not “pure-blood” witches and wizards, are held in disdain. The Muggles we meet too hate the abnormality of the people living in Harry’s world. The poor, the clumsy, the awkward, the stupid, the ugly, and the unpopular at Hogwarts are also shown to have a hard time. Even the “nearly headless” ghost is a second-class citizen among the properly “headless” ghosts and prevented from participating in the annual Headless Hunt.
It is a fun article and worth a read for all Potter fans as well as Austen fans. :)

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