The problem with Harry

19 04 2010

I’ll openly admit that I love the HARRY POTTER series – both the books and the film adaptations. True, there are bits in the films that do not correlate with the books, but that is only understandable, as different directors take to a book differently, and also because there is only so much you can put into a film without extending it too much so that it becomes tedious.

My Significant Other and I are currently busy re-watching the film series (again). I love watching the characters and actors grow up, both in height, appearance, and emotionally. One thing that does bother me about Harry, though, is the fact that he always basically has to scream out his spells, putting in that extra little bit of oomph before anything happens (case in point, when he casts the Patronus charm). I get it that summoning up the courage to cast a spell in the face of danger and death takes quite a bit of stamina and such, but really, once you pick up on it, it becomes annoying. The growing anger within Harry, which is displayed increasingly in the films, also irks me. There are times I really want to slap him, especially in one of the novels (perhaps the 6th, if I’m not mistaken) when he starts shouting at Dumbledore… what a rotten git, to put it in Rowling speak (I’m thinking of the Weasley’s in particular).

And Dumbledore… I don’t even want to think of it.

I have nothing against Michael Gambon. He has served his purpose as Dumbledore since the 3rd film, and does well to portray the character, yet I cannot feel that he is too – what’s the word I’m looking for? – harsh or blunt or just ‘something’ to be Dumbledore. He’ll never be Richard Harris. Now that man knew what Dumbledore was like; it was as if the man was the character brought to life, as if he were his doppelganger or breathing replica. I see Dumbledore as a soft-spoken, kind man who knows how to exert and express himself when the moment and circumstances asks for it. You will never find him out of temper, or behaving in any other way than his kind demeanour, even when dealing with difficult circumstances where force is required. Even MichaelGambon’s voice doesn’t ‘do it’ for me. In my eyes, he’ll never truly be Dumbledore.

Now I must admit, my favourite character from the books – and, it goes without saying, the films – is Professor Severus Snape (Alan Rickman). After seeing the films and rereading the books, anytime I got to a section where Snape entered the room or started talking, I would see Rickman in my head, hear the deep, droning voice, and get both a feeling of loathing and respect/delight. How can anyone not like Professor Snape?! Of course one can say a lot about him, especially after reading the final book, yet because I know some people still haven’t read the novels (my Significant Other being one among them), I shan’t say another word on that.

One of the ‘problems’ with Harry, or maybe it isn’t Harry, is the actor, Daniel Radcliffe. I’m not talking about his film performance, oh no (although I do know that many, many of my acquaintances believe him to be a bad actor). No, the problem I have with ‘Harry’ is his looks. The first ‘looks’ problem I draw from the films, where, in THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX, his hair is cut extremely short. That isn’t true to Harry and the books – his hair is supposed to be messy, sticking up here and there, as he can never get it right, even after it’s been cut. The hairstyle doesn’t suit Harry or Daniel Radcliffe, and accordingly, it kept niggling at me throughout the whole first sitting of the film, perhaps even the second and third sittings, as well… oh, who am I kidding? It still annoys me, otherwise I wouldn’t be mentioning it here in my blog!

The second ‘looks’ problem, luckily, draws away from the films and the Harry character and focuses more on the man himself. Daniel Radcliffe always looks so skeletal after the films, as if someone were starving him, or as though he forgot how to eat or something. This only starting occurring after the second film, if memory serves me well, but still, it isn’t a flattering look. Hollow cheeks don’t look good on anyone, not even catwalk models (who I particularly don’t have any feelings of goodwill and amiability for). Also, the suits he wears: what the…?! He looks so shiny, so stuck up, so… I don’t even know how to describe it, so I’ll just get off this point.

Another Harry problem I have, one which relates to the latest film, is the way that the director took the teenage emotions that are obvious in the book and made them so blatantly in-your-face, so you-can’t-escape-it-so-you’ll-have-to-endure-it, that watching it makes me cringe, inwardly and outwardly. I hate watching it, even though it is such a great book. I might be able to stand the film if someone were to edit those bits out, because really, in no way is watching any of it appealing. I recently played nanny to a nine-year-old girl (going on ten), and Harry falls into films children of that age can watch and enjoy, and she told me (while we were building one of my Harry Potter puzzles) that she really, really didn’t like the last film. Now imagine how it must make people old enough to know how those emotions feel to watch it…

There is much more to say, yet I believe that, for now, I have said enough… But I will say this, though: no matter how the films and books may differ, I’ll always be a Potter fan, even though some people like to think that it is evil, stupid, boring, or even downright nonsense. And I’ve been wondering: is there any significance to the fact that there are 7 books, and that Voldemort made 7 horcruxes…?

[“Read it out loud to me, mommy, I want to hear this bit… I’m not sleepy, really…”]

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2 responses

19 04 2010
Liske van Lill

something else that bothers me: in the 4th film, they make Fleur seem so pathetic and dull…

19 04 2010
Liske van Lill

oh, and another thing: i’m not particularly fond of the way the 6th film ends. what happened to the Death Eaters infiltrating the castle, and the great fighting, and Fenrir Greyback attacking Bill Weasley, to whom Fleur is engaged (and marries in the final novel)? …….

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