My first encounter with Harry Potter occurred in 1999. I found a solitary copy of ‘Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets’ in the shelves of a bookshop in Hyderabad. I flipped through it, reading bits about Hogwarts and Quidditch. I was intrigued, but didn’t exactly “fall in love” with it. I managed to read the same book properly when my friend Sohan bought it on that ill-fated visit to Delhi (and Noida!) back in December 2000 for the ESPN School Quiz. Since then, I, like probably a billion over the world, have become a Harry Potter fan. And like others, I feel sad and yet satisfied with the ending provided.
There are a few things that I need to state:
- The first four books sold simply because they were brilliant pieces of children’s fiction. Rowling was amazing in her description, the way the plot was intricately weaved and she bore the distinguishing mark of a great author: She created a world. Maybe not as artistically beautful but surprisingly more realistic than that of PG Wodehouse, not as filled with history and minutely detailed as Tolkein, but in the span of four books she told great stories, intoduced us to unforgettable characters who have become almost as good as real people to us and created a parallel universe that every kid wished to inhabit.
- The movies have ruined it. Period. They may be decent popcorn entertainment, but they have diluted the magic of the books. The reason is quite simple: All they wanted was to make money. Unlike Coppola’s adaptation of ‘The Godfather‘ or Peter Jackson’s ‘Lord of the Rings‘ trilogy, where the aim was to stay as true as possible to and reveal the beauty of the books, the Harry Potter movies were clearly studio produced pieces of cotton candy with the intention of making hundreds of millions of guarenteed dollars every couple of summers. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: I know why you Californian filth did it, but Hermione Granger is “plain-looking. Neither beautiful nor ugly” Making her look like a fucking model just ruined the character. Note: Rowling’s original choice to direct the films was Terry Gilliam, but Warner Bros. said no. Hence Proved.
- The next three books showed signs of greedy commercialisation too. Editors slacked off, too scared to cut anything and basically passing off any Rowling work that came by. This is why the 900-page omnibus epics that are ‘The Order of the Phoenix’, ‘The Half-Blood Prince’ and ‘The Deathly Hallows’ are good and bear Rowling’s signature style with beautifully crafted chapters, but are on the whole not in the same league as the first four.
- ‘The Deathly Hallows’ is excellent. A fitting ending and one that leaves as you should be when a book series and characers that you’ve quite literally grown up with leave you (and die in places). The last chapter was classic! Good touch, that. No spoilers here, except for… Albus Severus… no Sirius? AND Hugo and Rose? Hugo from the award perhaps, but Rose?
I recieve a lot of bullshit for being a Harry Potter fan, and I must say, it was better in the “good ‘ol days” when I was part of a small bunch of people who knew this magical other place and made these references which few others understood. The crass over-commercialization and the hollywood takeover and consequent F.U.B.A.R-ing of the books is something I wouldn’t have stood for as the author.
Though she’s made enough cash for her grandkids to not work, something tells me that unlike DNA, she actually likes to write. I hope she does a Cristie/King and releases a book under a pseudonym.
“So Long And Thanks For All The Fun”