Gryffindor Tower #19: Something Wonderful This Way Comes

If you are reading this column, then you know that there has been an uproar in the Harry Potter community over the production of the third movie.

Why do I feel like I’m forgetting something?

Oh yeah!


Thank you so much to the hundreds of fans who emailed me asking when I’d be back and supporting me through the end of my semester. I truly appreciate it! And thank you as well to the few wonderful folks who told me in not so many words that my column was comparable to dog poop. I wish nothing but many vicious hippogriff attacks upon you!

But enough with pleasantries, to the issues at hand! As you all I’m sure know, the newest HP flick, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is coming to theaters Friday, June 4th! I am sure that many of you are as excited as I am, and yet, I sense that something is troubling you.

Let’s just be honest: many of us are afraid of what we are going to see on the silver screen in a week’s time. I hope that I can try to shed some light on some of the more prominent arguments and offer my analyses on those certain questionable situations that may or may not blossom during the first viewings of PoA.

For starters, the most fundamental problem is the same one that long-time HP fans had with the first two movies: will it stick to the story? My guess is no. At least, not verbatim, which, according to Alfonso Cuaron on many occasions, is exactly what J.K. Rowling has asked him to do (basically don’t be literal, but stay true to the spirit). From what we’ve seen on trailers and in pictures, it looks as though some of these scenes are not even in the book, and that may very well be the case. However, I urge you all to consider this: for us, the fans of HP, what we will be viewing, while it may not be the PoA that we are completely familiar with, is an artistic and emotional interpretation of the third HP novel. What, exactly, does that mean?

Alfonso Cuaron, world-renowned director who is known for his stunningly-intricate and detail-oriented eye for camera, dialogue, and expression, has taken the helm of the latest HP flick, and it is his view, his mind, that we will be exploring. This is his interpretation of the film, and I think that, for anyone who is an avid film fan, the reality of this being Cuaron’s interpretation can only be a good thing. We have heard on the ABC special of the first movie that Cuaron encouraged the kids to act naturally, as thirteen-year-olds, because that is what he sees this movie as: a story of thirteen-year-olds coming of age, being first introduced to the true hardships and depressions of life, and, as a side note, a little magic is thrown in there (just joking!). Let us realize, then, that it is not wise to skewer Cuaron upon Godric Gryffindor’s blade before we assess what this movie can be.

PoA is, by mixture of new direction, new actors, and improvements upon old actors, poised to be not only the best HP film yet, but one of the best films of the year, possibly of the last few years. If we have learned anything from studying Cuaron’s style, it is that the man has a keen eye for what many directors may pass, and in possessing such an innate ability to arouse feelings and stir the senses, his direction may very well carry the HP franchise into the world of classic cinema.

I am willing to bet that many of you are not as excited as I am with this turn of events. Let me offer some reassurance. First, Rowling had to approve the script. Does anyone really believe that she would let something so dear to her be misconstrued into a completely different story? I don’t, and I would hope you do not either. Moreover, Steve Kloves has proven twice that he can adapt the HP stories into pretty solid films–who is to say he has lost that touch? And besides, Chris Columbus stuck around as executive producer, I honestly don’t believe that he would let his hallmark be so easily distorted. What we fans have been given is an artistic, progressive director who simply knows what works and what doesn’t, and has chosen to make a film both about a young wizard coming to terms with his parents deaths, and a young man coming to terms with the hardships of young adulthood.

If I sound pro-PoA, I must confess I do have my own worries about the film. First off, the replacement of the late screen legend Richard Harris has caused me to raise my eyebrow more than once. Not simply because of Michael Gambon‘s interpretation of Dumbledore, but because of Cuaron’s hippie-esque personification of the Hogwarts headmaster. Also, I quite frankly did not picture Remus Lupin to look anything like David Thewlis (and why the heck does he have a MUSTACHE? Or did I miss that?!?). There is, too, the Jack-in-the-Box: that whole thing is about as appealing to me as the restaurant of the same name, although I don’t think I have as good a chance of getting food poisoning from the former. Yet I do not believe that these worries will in any way affect the movie as a whole. I am afraid, however, that many HP fans will go into this movie biased (let’s face it, we’ll all be somewhat biased), so biased that they will forget the constraints of making a movie and simply write it off as “bad”.

This Friday promises to be yet another landmark in the HP universe, and I truly hope that everyone is ready and willing to go into their local theater with an open mind and heart .

Well, as I am back, I suppose it is time to get back to the basics. This week, I’m starting a new feature that will be rotated along with Dan’s Book Review and the Gryffindor Tower Flick Pick. So, without further ado, welcome to the first edition of Owl Post! Basically, I’m just going to pick one email I get every week or two and answer it. If I make a joke or anything, please don’t be offended, as it is all in good fun! So, this week’s email is from Ryan Richter, who asks,

In OotP when Sirius was killed, why didn’t/couldn’t Harry use a time-turner to stop himself from going to the ministry when he saw the vision of Sirius captured by Voldemort? This would result in Sirius still being alive. He had used the time-turner 3 years ago to save Buckbeak and rescue Sirius from the dementor’s kiss. Why couldn’t he use it one more time?

Great question, Ryan! Not really, actually, I’m just trying to make you feel better about yourself (see, that was a joke people, no need to light my car/house/hair/privates ablaze!). My guess is this: first, as Hermione no longer has the Time-Turner, it would have been impossible for him to use it. But, assuming that he could have accessed one, I believe that there are a few reasons why he would not be able to. For starters, the Ministry of Magic keeps strict control over the use of Time-Turners, and they are normally not used for personal needs. Moreover, if everyone who ever lost a loved one wanted to use a Time-Turner, what kind of problems would the Ministry have? It’s just not practical. Lastly, I am pretty sure that Sirius had to die because JK wouldn’t do something like that without good reason!

I hope you all enjoyed this newest GT, and if you didn’t? Well, sorry. Anyhoo, keep your eyes peeled for my review of PoA next Sunday! Until then, keep the emails coming, and umm…keep rocking in the free world (someone help with my closings!). Peace!