Since 1997, there has only been one year without the release of a Harry Potter book or film adaptation—2003. For fourteen years, Harry Potter has dominated not only children’s and young adult literature, but also the popular consciousness. For a lot of young fans, it was their introduction into fandom and critically examining texts; for older businesspeople, it was an introduction into how to respect a fandom and the power the fans wield. And in the wee hours of Friday morning, it ended.
To be fair, it more or less ended on a summer’s evening in 2007, when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was finally released and everyone went home to find out what happened. I, for one, drifted away from Harry Potter after that, although I certainly saw the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. As everyone began gearing up for the final film, I actually felt a bit alienated from the series and the fandom. I’d drifted, moved on, I thought. But when I saw the final trailer for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, I started crying because of how much Lily loved her son. There are valid criticisms of Rowling’s work, but you can’t fault her for the achingly human characters she’s created. And that’s what the fandom has been responding to all these years. At this very moment, anyone can tear through all seven books in months or even weeks. They might love the series more than I do, but they’ll never be as close as I and my generation are to these characters, these living, breathing human beings. We grew up together, more or less, and that’s something special that I will always be grateful for.
(In fact, when we went to grab a bite to eat, we encountered a wee lass and her battered copy of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Rock on, little ones, rock on.)
So, on Thursday night, I, with a few friends and a lightning bolt tee shirt, headed on down to our local movie theater to take it all in. (I am so happy to say local. It’s new and I haven’t had a chance to go there until the screening.) We had decided to attend the screening of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 beforehand; we’d get better seats and, after all, it’s supposed to be one very long movie.
We were dead center, which was fantastic, and settled in for Part 1. It was a pretty quiet crowd; we only cheered when Ron came back and when Dobby made a stand. A, uh, brief stand. But outside was noisy—the people who had come only for the midnight screening were cheering and screaming outside. It sounded like they were coming for us, quite frankly.
We had to wait a little while for Part 2; it took forever to get started (during which we did cheers and chants), and then Part 1 started playing. And then the 3D didn’t work. But in the end, all was fixed and we settled into Part 2. I’ve written a review which will go up tomorrow, but it’s definitely one film in two parts rather than one story spread across two films—I’m so glad I saw Part 1 right before. Midnight screenings are fun because of the crowd, and ours did not disappoint. We cheered, we cried, we cackled. Everyone got plenty of attention, but Neville got the bulk of it—and rightly so. Voldemort, interestingly, got the most laughs; Fiennes appears to have realized this is his last chance to ham it up before having to return to impeccably chosen and respectable roles, leading to cackling and awkward hugs. It was a worthy ending to the series and to Part 1, since it can’t stand up on its own. I’m still recovering from it.
I really don’t have any way to segue out of that, so have these absolutely brilliant DVD designs for the entire series to distract you from that. (It’s called the Harry Potter Criterion Collection. And there’s more where that came from.)
This week, I finished A Storm of Swords, which was amazing—I actually finished it an hour before we headed off to Harry Potter. I can’t believe some of the stuff Martin gets away with doing. Man. I’ve picked up Donna Tartt’s The Secret History after that, which I’m enjoying so far. And I’m still plugging through The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes.
The Ranting Dragon is giving away a set of Catherine Fisher’s Relic Master novels until tonight at midnight, so hustle! Tor.com is giving away 20 sets of a Vernor Vinge bundle until Monday. Kristen at Fantasy Cafe is giving away a signed copy of A Dance with Dragons until Tuesday. Tor/Forge is giving away a bundle of books edited by George R. R. Martin, as well as a random summer reading bundle, until the 19th; you must sign up for their newsletter. In a UK-only giveaway, Orbit is giving away five ARCs of The Measure of Magic until the 22nd. The Baen Free Library is full of free downloads, including The Shadow of the Lion and On Basilisk Station. Night Shade Books is offering Butcher Bird and Grey as free downloads at the moment. Vertigo Comics is offering free downloads of the first issue of several series, including Fables, The Unwritten, and Y: The Last Man. (And you will go download The Unwritten.) If I’ve missed your giveaway or freebie, drop me a line!
Did you see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2? What’d you make of it?