Fan of the Year - Caitlin
First off, how did you become a Harry Potter fan?
This is kind of a funny story, because my first experience with Harry Potter was not a wonderful one... I was first introduced to Harry Potter by Brad. Brad, name changed to protect his identity, had a crush on me in fourth grade (1999). I was eight years old, had never heard of Harry Potter, and all I knew was that Brad, the boy who followed me around during recess, kept trying to cast spells on me. We were off to a bad start, Harry and I. I made it a point to vehemently insist that Harry Potter was, tragically, dumb. I hated Harry Potter, and Brad was gross. I would read anything but Harry Potter. Hand over that Auto manual, because Harry Potter? Not. Cool. My recesses all seemed to consist of running away from the crazy boy casting spells at me.
After my birthday, nine-year-old me went on a visit to my Aunts farm; my cousins (all boys) ran off with my siblings (all brothers) and left me alone (and bored) with the adults. My Aunt worked in an elementary school and, after hours of sitting with the adults as they had a nice, long conversation, she told me that she had just the thing for me: a book that all of the students at school just loved... Lo and behold, she returned holding the cursed book in her hands: Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone.
Now, I was raised to be polite and, although doubtful about the books potential, I agreed to give the book a shot. Id finished the book before the end of the day, and I apparently changed my mind about this Harry Potter business as I proceeded to write three book reports on the subject in Grade Six. Brad, it turned out, wasnt that bad, and I suspect I would have enjoyed the spell-casting game a little bit more had he not been attempting to cast love spells on me. We ended up quite good friends until he moved away. (Ironically, the week after I was selected as Fan of the Week, I ran into Brad for the first time in many years at the opening night of Part 1!)
OMG! DEATHLY HALLOWS! Loved it? Hated it? Thoughts!?
I was doing a University practicum during the opening of Part 1 during which we are barred from being absent for more than one day. Luckily, I strategically scheduled an appointment for early in the afternoon of the day of the midnight showing so I could go get in line early! I spent ten hours in line with the other fans (during which we participated in countless coffee runs, epic debates, costume craziness, scavenger-hunt-aiding, and staring into the deep fathoms of space where the far, far, far end of the line disappeared (and we all solemnly declared how glad we were we spent all day in line). Truly, I loved this movie, and it was my favourite to date. I am usually quite good at not performing book-to-movie comparisons as I watch. Even afterwards, I know that it is futile to compare the two very closely and expect them to line up perfectly (or really, even averagelyI do believe that there will always be something that I wish they had included or tweaked or changed, no matter how many hours of film they make, for movies and books just arent quite the same!). However, every year, I do usually have a nagging concern in the back of my head saying If only they had included
Although there are things which are missing which I would have liked to include, I think that the filmmakers did an admirable job on this movie, and I left it feeling quite satisfied.
Did the movie live up to all of the epic hype that surrounded each trailer?
Yes and no. Part 1 was incredible and, in my opinion, the best of the movie series. However, the trailersall of the trailers! There were an inordinate number of them. Seeing tiny bits of such a large number of scenes actually bothered me a bit. Some of those scenes were very short, and by releasing so many sneak previews, clips, trailers, and TV spots, they took some of the surprise out of it.
That being said, even having watched some of these clips, I was still on the edge of my seat while watching them in the theater. Sitting in a dark theater with hundreds of other fans, watching events unfold on a screen eight stories high, and sending forth a rumbling sound which you can feel vibrating through your seat is quite a different experience from watching individual clips on my laptop. Even having seen some of them before, how could it not live up to the hype? Its a totally different experience.
What was your favourite part that changed from the book? That stayed the same?
My favourite notable change from the book to the movie would have to be the second Malfoy Manor scene in which Bellatrix tortures Hermione. Hermiones screams were disturbingly realistic, and witnessing Bellatrix pinning her to the ground and carving Mudblood into her skin was a torture sickeningly appropriate coming from Bellatrix. Having that visual of Bellatrix carefully administering the torture by hand said a lot for the somewhat crazy, innately dark, and quite literally psychotic aspects of her character. Although she originally was intended to use the Cruciatus curse, I think that this form of tortured emphasized the fact that Bellatrix madly enjoys this, that she has psychopathic tendencies, and that her obsession with pleasing the Dark Lord doesnt end at the tip of her wandshe is willing to use her bare hands to perform acts of atrocity. In this scene, Emma Watson was phenomenal. I was sitting gripping my face with my hands and fighting back a horrified expressionand any change which causes me to feel that horrified (in a good way, as I was supposed to feel horrified!) must have been a good one.
My favourite book-to-movie scene was the initial Malfoy Manor scene in which Charity Burbage was Lord Voldemorts guest. This scene was stunning! I saw this movie for the first time in IMAX and I remember being vividly aware of how real Charity lookedeverything from the quality of the picture, to her makeup, to the haunted, tortured, and almost empty expression on her face. Snape shows a moment of hesitation when he sees Charity and she addresses him, and Alan Rickman uses this moment to give us a glimpse into Snapes character. I think that the fact that he is shocked at seeing Charity there really shows that he walks quite a fine line in his position as a spy (although at this point he is more of a saboteur than anything, as he is no longer truly a spy for the Order). As much blame as the Trio and others put on Snape, he is still walking blind without complete foresight regarding Voldemorts plans, and without the power to directly influence them safely. Indirectly and discreetly, of course, he does so. But Snape is in a delicate and dangerous position and, although his expression betrays only a little of his shock, this scene illustrates that he is still vulnerable to Voldemorts whims. More obvious is the change in the Malfoys passion for servitude under the Dark Lords reign, another part of this scene which stands out for me. I loved hearing the catch in Lucius voice as he spoke to Voldemort, seeing his trembling hand and unkempt appearance, and how Dracos clear terror contrasts so strongly with his arrogance in the previous movies. They all contribute to this incredible image of what is happening to these characters and Tom Felton and Jason Isaacs do a phenomenal job of expressing the dramatic changes in their characters since we saw them last.
Comparing book to movie, what disappointed you the most? Also, what part was better than you expected?
To my utter disappointment, the dynamic change in Kreachers attitude was not included in the film. I noted last time that [h]is transformation was really quite powerful to me because Kreacher was always loyal, a trait which these books place a high value on, but how could we expect him to be loyal to the ones who were cruel to him and he was taught to hate? Whereas Sirius Black treated Kreacher like scum on the bottom of his shoe, Regulus showed him trust. The shift in the way that he was treated was integral in his shift in personality. I was worried about the inclusion of Kreacher and, knowing that he appeared in the movie, hoped that the filmmakers would try to tie this in properly. Having seen the movie now, I can understand why it wasnt as true to the book in this scene. As disappointing as it is, it would have required time to show the character change. The book-Trio spent a great deal of time at Grimmauld Place preparing to infiltrate the Ministry, allowing Rowling to have time to show Kreachers character change. In the film this entire period of time is omitted leaving no real opportunity to include Kreacher again. I do think his scene was funny and charming once hed caught Mundungus with Dobby, which is somewhat forgiving.
Without any doubt, I absolutely never, ever though I would love the scene in which Hermione rails against Ron when he returns to them as much as I did. It was a great scene in the book, but I somehow never imagined Emma Watson performing it until the moment I saw it in the movie! When she storms up to Harry demanding for her wand and he backs away with a sort of bemused expression, I was laughing and in shock at how well it turned out! Definitely a stand-out part, to me, even more so because I couldnt have imagined it standing out as much as it did, if that makes sense!
WWoHP had its 1,000,000th visitor in July 2009! Have you visited the park, or have plans to? What were/are you most excited to see/visit?
I havent been to WWoHP yet, but I am going! Ill be in Orlando in six weeks to visit during my Universitys Reading Week (
well, Ill be reading Harry Potter, anyways). The whole place is supposed to be amazing, and Im honestly most excited to see the details! Ive read about some of themIm not sure if I should read about them all and be less surprised, or wait until afterwards and risk being disappointed at not having looked for them! Someone wrote about seeing extendable ears, but hearing whispers coming from them when they stood close by, and I think that including little details like this show dedication to the fans. Im also very excited to go on the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride. Ive avoided reading about the details of this ride because I heard so many good things about it, and Id like to be somewhat surprised at what goes on during it! Above all, I am excited to see the shops to see and buy an inordinate number of things which I probably shouldnt.
There are quite a few organizations/clubs at Hogwarts. Which you would rather join and why: Duelling Club, Dumbledore's Army, or S.P.E.W.?
Dumbledores Army, by far! The Duelling Club is really quite unappealing to meit reminds me too much of wrestling! I suspect that it would be interesting, but I wouldnt enjoy battling one another in that kind of situation. The pressure and competition of the one-on-one duels doesnt attract me. S.P.E.W. bears an unfortunate resemblance to rights activist groups (because it is one, sort of
), and these groups can be extremist and unforgiving, too set in their ways. The DA was designed to bring people together under a common cause and required cooperation and shared learning, working together as a group and standing up for a cause which is just and right. It sounds so cliché when I write it out like this, but thats the sort of group anyone would want to belong to, isnt it? Except, perhaps, the Slytherins, Umbridge, Voldemort, Marietta Edgecombe
..okay, well, not anyone. The DA is kind of the epitome of the Hogwarts Housessneaky and cunning, like the Slytherins; brave and passionate, like the Gryffindors; loyal and sure-hearted, like the Hufflepuffs; knowledgeable and learned, like the Ravenclaws. It really combines efforts between the Houses, and I like what it stands for. I think its important to stand up against what isnt right as a united forceit isnt a matter of being a bully about it, but standing together and saying no can make all the difference in the world.
If you could attend Hogwarts, Which class do you think would be your favourite?
I think Id love Charms. Being Muggleborn, if I did possess any magical ability, I find everyday spells the most fascinating. DADAs offensive and defensive spells are interesting, but the spells that you learn in this class vary from flames to freezing, conjuring or summoning items to banishing them, changing size, colour, and any other number of things. I was close to saying that other classes dont have as much of a practical component, but thats not really true
but Charms has this perfect combination of a practical component, real-life use, variety, ingenuity, creativity, and challenge that I think it has the potential to be my favourite. Above all, although these spells can be quite general in their use, with the right witch or wizard and the right wand they can manage inconceivable things. If you dont believe me, well
Im sure if Harry told his classmates that hed win the second task of the Triwizard Tournament with a single spellAcciothey wouldnt be too confident in his statement, either!
Which class would be your best, whether you liked it or not?
Well, I appear to be a Muggle. In this unfortunate state, I appear to have very few talents which Hogwarts would appreciate in many of its diverse classes! However, even if I were a Muggleborn witch, I suspect that I would excel most at
.Muggle Studies. This makes quite a lot of sense (to my great chagrin, as I would most love to excel at something exciting and magical), as this class is meant to expose young witches and wizards to life as a Muggle and correct the many misconceptions, gaps, and inaccuracies in their Muggle knowledge. I suspect that I would be an advanced student, as most others will struggle with the concept of electricity and the Underground, whereas I...dont.
Id probably not take this class, thoughalthough it would be, as Hermione asserts, fascinating to learn about Muggles from a wizarding perspective, I would hopefully be spending my time learning about the magical world which had been hidden to me for my whole life-. Otherwise, I think that Id really do well at Potions. Im quite cautious in my work and the subject matter is very precise and procedural, and I seem to be good with things like that. On the whole, it reminds me too much of chemistry class, but it is much more practical and were asked to actually brew potions rather than just study them, so I would think that I would enjoy it more than that.
Exciting things are happening in 2011! What event makes you tinkle with excitement?
It seems as though there isnt a lot happening this year, but 2011 is it! This is the end of the movie series. I dont know of any other giant news items except for Deathly Hallows, Part 2, being released into theaters, but it is such a significant event that it really makes up for it. As excited as I am to see the final instalment in the movie series, I am sad to see the end. Harry Potter fans are incredible, and having the opportunity to come together and show our appreciation for the series has been phenomenal. With book releases over and opening nights coming to an end, Im a little sad. That being said, I know that the fandom isnt dyingthe Exhibition is still running, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is flourishing, and J.K. Rowling is still, we think, working on the Encyclopaedia. I just have to keep reminding myself that there is still quite a lot to look forward to. And, when all is said and done, whether or not there are things to look forward to I know that I have my memories to look back on. Even when things die down eventually it wont change what Harry Potter means to me and how its affected who I am today. So, while the close of the series is sad, it really isnt the end as long as it continues to have meaning for us.
If you Twitter, who is your favourite Potter star to follow and why? Do you follow MuggleNet? Staff?
Im somewhat new to Twitter, and I used to tweet off and onit just isnt as popular with the people I knowbut I always ended up dropping off. Ever since I got my iPhone, however, I find it so much easier to keep up! I absolutely follow MuggleNet, and MuggleCast. My favourite Potter star to follow is Tom Felton. He tweets quite a bit and retweets people and I like that hes not always just thanking his followers and fans. I only follow stars if I want to hear what they have to say and the silly things that theyre doing, and some of them simply post generic messages once every two weeks saying Happy __-insert holiday-___, thanks to all of my wonderful fans, etc. As lovely as it is that they are trying to show that they appreciate their fan base (which could still be considered debatable because its not as though theyll admit that sometimes their fans are a huge pain), its nice to follow people who can balance that with normal talk, you know? Tom Feltons great for that. C:
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I was at work listening to MuggleCast when I got the news that I was voted Fan of the Year, and I ended up dancing around the room! Im incredibly excited and honoured to have been chosen. I also want to thank Kat for all of the work she puts into Fan of the Week/Year! Im absolutely thrilled to have been chosen and without her no one would have this opportunity. Kats got a lovely job in which she gets to make peoples days, and she deserves quite a lot of thanks for that.
To make me look even sillier, Im including a picture of me at Halloween dressed up as a Gryffindor student! I cant leave without sharing with you my most intense spell-casting face, can I? My scarf and tie are from Alivans, and they were undoubtedly my favourite part of the costume! I searched high and low to find ones which would be proper and look realistic, and I couldnt find anything close to the real thing anywhereeveryone seems to sell purple ones, not burgundy! Alivans, however, saved me with theirs, which are absolutely perfect! I still wear my scarf every day and its saved me from the biting cold for the past few months. I even had a lovely moment in a store where another woman had the same scarf, and we cheerfully complimented each other on them with a few inside jokes inserted for good measure! The sales clerk nearby was dreadfully confused. : ) I want to send my biggest, loudest, most heartfelt THANK YOU to Alivans who is also sending me a wand, the one thing I couldnt quite afford if I wanted to pay my tuition on time. Im going to treasure it.
Most importantly, Ive always wanted to thank J.K. Rowling for sharing the Wizarding world with us. Harry Potter was something that carried me through some very dark times in my youth, and was present in the brightest of them; it was, during this period, a Patronus against my very own dementors. Im sure that all of us can appreciate what a wonderful thing it is to have something fortifying to cherish during the darkest hours of the night, and I have only J.K. Rowling to thank for that.