Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Potter Generation

Jacket art of Harry Potter and the Deathly HallowsImage via Wikipedia
The end of an era has begun. That's right Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 was released two weeksago to mixed reception by fans and critics alike (see the related articles at the bottom of this post for reviews).  I was at the midnight showing with a group of like-minded Potter-fans (excluding the two boyfriends who got dragged along). I have to say I was impressed with the accuracy of the movie as compared to the book; they even kept the George's "holey" joke.

The downside of following the book so closely was that the film inherited the problems of the book as well.  First of all, the cast was really lacking. Very little Snape and Hagrid, no Dame Maggie Smith aka Prof. McGonagall,  and a whole lot of Harry and Hermione moping in the woods, though I must admit that I loved seeing all the landscapes of Britain.  Second, plot is sparse with explanations (how does Ron actually find them) and the extended camping trip does not lend itself to excitement. Finally, there is no recap, so if you haven't read the books or haven't seen the movies in awhile then it's hard to remember what happened.  Now the last is a bit of a double edged sword because by not re-reading the seventh book before seeing the film, it gets rid of all the plot-spoilers so I was able to enjoy the movie more.

Now granted there were a few gratuitous cinematic liberties (why Ginny couldn't have asked Hermione to zip her dress up upstairs I will never know) and some missing info (I had no idea what the mirror shard was until I started re-reading), but overall the films have matured just as the books have.

And that's what I love about the series; we grew up with it. When the first book was published in 1998 (U.S. date) I was 9 and when Pottermania really took off I was about 12, the same age as Harry, Ron, and Hermione.  With each successive book the material got darker and more serious, in effect we grew up with the characters (though Harry is actually close to 30, you can figure it out with the second book and the date on Nearly Headless Nick's death-day cake - yes, I'm a dork, deal with it) and then the actors, who are my age.  We waited through midnight book releases and movie showings just to continue on with the story.  We embraced that magical world buying into all the commercialization and trying to recreate that world in this one.   We've even made it our own through parody (for laughs watch the two clips at the end of this post) and fanfic.  We are truly the Potter generation.
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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Of Reading

Sir Francis BaconImage via Wikipedia
Earlier this semester, my descriptive grammar professor had us come with a word that filled a void in the English language.  One of my classmates attempted to come with a viable option for the third person singular plural pronoun: "thair." I was not a fan.  The best one I heard was "freeper," a facebook creeper or one who "freeps."

My contribution to the English language was "snack-lit," a term that describes contemporary fiction that falls somewhere between "literature" and form-fiction, like Harlequin romances.  Books that would fall into this category are mainly from those authors featured on the New York Times Best Sellers list, or are often serialized.

There could even be stratifications within snack-lit ala Francis Bacon's "Of Studies" essay: health food, literary fiction that makes you think a little, to candy bars, form-fiction that really only takes a day to read, and everything in between. Dear readers, please aid me in this endeavor to make snack-lit a commonly used term. So spread the word, literally!

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Monday, November 1, 2010

Daughters of Jane: Darcy's Passion

cover of Darcy's Passion

The whole interest in Austen spin-offs was in part inspired by Denise, friend and co-worker at the UGL, who sent me various quotes from horrible internet Austen fan-fiction.  So, whilst I was shelving, I stumbled upon Darcy's Passions: Pride and Prejudice Retold Through His Eyes by Regina Jeffers and checked it out.  As my first spin off it wasn't too bad.  Jeffers incorporated quite a bit of the actual book and her language was pretty authentic.  Of course she does take the story past the wedding (and yes, Darcy is good in bed), but her additions, such as Anne de Bourgh an Col. Fitzwilliam marrying and Georgiana finding someone as well, don't really detract from the original.

My only complaint is that Darcy the enigma disappears.  Mr. Darcy is the ultimate heartthrob because of his brooding darkness that women just love to pry into and try to fix in some way.  Trying to put emotion behind the Darcy's facade comes out a little fake; there are a lot of tormented emotions that do not seem possible in a man as contained as Darcy. Also a lot of embracing occurs between the whole Darcy family in a way that Austen probably would not have written it. It's just a little too sappy, however ti wasn't bad enough to sully the original for me.
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