Fan Focus: Helen – August 7, 2011

HELEN

Age 31, Germany

 

First off, how did you become a Harry Potter fan?

I was 18 years old, and had chosen English as my main subject in school. Our class had a subscription to Time Magazine, and in one week, this children book was on the cover where you’d usually see the face of a politician, and that really struck my interest. My boyfriend (now husband) and I were both in a phase where we enjoyed reading to each other, we had been through Tolkien and Stephen King and all of Astrid Lindgren’s work, and now seemed to run out of books, so I decided to buy this book for his birthday. When I first read the Philosopher’s Stone, I was completely drawn into it, I was so fascinated by the characters and the beautiful style of writing and the moral included in this book, that I just couldn’t wait until his birthday. I needed someone to discuss what I had just experienced. So I called him the night I had finished it, and we read it together. For his birthday, I gave him the second part of the series, which had just been released here in Germany. After that, we purchased every book on the day of its release, sometimes two copies, so we could read simultaneously without fighting over the books.

Deathly Hallows Part Two!! Loved it? Hated it? Thoughts?

I do think that it was one of the best of the series, if not the best. It managed to incorporate the tension and drama I felt reading the last book, at least in parts. But still, as with every movie adaption, the movie can never even come close to the books, and this isn’t something I had expected, anyway. Even two movies are too short to cover everything, and it felt like a rush – there were so many scenes I would have loved to be longer, like the kiss of Ron and Hermione, the death scene of Fred Weasley, and, of course, the last scene at platform 9 3/4. I would have loved to have more dialogues, and I would have loved to see more Ron Weasley, who is my favourite character in the books, but especially in this last movie, almost seemed to play the role of a side character (at least in my eyes). I didn’t like the final showdown between Harry and Voldemort at all. From the books, I had gotten the impression that it was Harry’s peaceful surrender, his ability to die for the ones he loves that made him succeed. All he had to do, after he came back to life, was performing his Expelliarmus spell, and that was enough to throw Voldemort’s Avada Kedavra back at him after all Horcruxes, including the one in Harry, had been destroyed. I felt like all the frantic action scenes with falling from towers and being torn apart by snakes in the movie were pretty pointless, if not distorting the moral I found in the books.

What were your favorite scenes that were straight from the book?

From this movie: Snapes memory. Hands down. Beautifully exercised, awesome choice of actors, lovely cuts, and heartbreaking. From the last movie, or maybe the whole series, both books and movies, it is the scene where Ron returns to the trio and rescues Harry from the lake. All the tension, the disbelief I felt when Ron actually left Harry and Hermione dissolved into happiness.

What scenes that were changed did you liked? Disliked?

Apart from the end (see question 2), it was probably the scene where Harry stepped out of the crowd of Hogwarts students in the great hall. It wasn’t a bad scene, and it was nice to see Daniel in his Hogwarts robe again for once, but I absolutely love the scene in the book, where Harry performed the Cruciatus curse on Amycus, after he spat at McGonagall. I loved it because 1) the first teacher he reveals himself to is his former house teacher, and 2) because I love the gallantry involved, and 3) I love Minerva McGonagall’s brief disbelief when she sees him, and how she quickly acts afterwards. I was really looking forward to seeing this on screen.

The WB says they are pushing hard for DH:P2 at The Oscars this year! What do you think Potter deserves to be nominated for, and what do you hope it would win?

Hmmm. I actually don’t care about Oscars at all, and the books meant so much more to me than the movies. I watch the movies because I refuse to leave the fictional world of the books, and the movies are just one tiny opportunity to stay in Wizardland a little longer. I think the soundtrack deserves an Oscar, the music is, just as always, brilliant.

Now that all eight films are out, how to feel about the movie series as a whole? Favorite? Least favorite?

I think my least favourite movie is the first one, because that was the one that made me leave the world I had created in my mind, and replaced my personal Harry Potter face with Daniel Radcliffe’s, does this make sense? The movie itself wasn’t bad, but it just wasn’t the book. But I do remember I really liked little Draco Malfoy back then 🙂 I was 9 months pregnant with my first child when this movie was released, and I remember I thought I’d like to have a little boy looking like Draco 🙂 Yeah, that’s how bad it is, I know. My favourite movie would be DH Part 1, for the scene at the lake, for the scenes in the tent, for the dance between Harry and Hermione. For me, this was the one movie where the characters were finally given room to develop, to express emotions and step away from the pure action concentrated movie to something deeper, I otherwise had only found in the books.

Do you have anything else you’d like to add? Maybe a theory you still believe to be true, a shout-out, praise for yours truly?

Read Harry Potter to your children! After reading all books myself, and waiting for years until our kids were old enough, we re-read the books to our kids, and it was such a precious, beautiful experience to see them fall for the books, just like we did, to watch them shiver and laugh and fear and giggle and learn from the books, and the best thing is how much they can adapt the books to their real life, and what a great communication starter the books are. Harry Potter isn’t about a fictional wizard world. It is about friendship, it is about human rights and segregation, it is about struggling to grow up, it is about failing and getting up again and again, it is about losing and winning. It is about depression and how to fight it. And by the way, it also is a help to explain why german history worked the way it did, and why it still is, years after, incredibly important to prevent the Death Eaters from reigning again. It might be happening in your head. But that doesn’t mean it’s not real. A shout out? Dear Mrs. Rowling, please release a new book!

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