Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

For months I have been looking forward to the 6th Harry Potter movie.  I have always considered myself an avid Harry Potter fan, and I was so excited about the prospect of seeing it in theaters at midnight (despite the fact that I would have to wake up the next morning at 5:30 for my internship).  What made it better was that my birthday is July 14th, and the movie was playing on July 15th at 12:00 am.  What could be a better way to end my birthday?

I was not the only person consumed with Harry Potter fever.  Even before the 14th, Harry Potter was a top trend on Twitter.  For weeks, people were counting down saying “2 weeks til HP” or “17 hours til HP.”  They were tweeting about rereading the books to prepare for the book.  Facebook was full of event invitations and status updates leading up to the opening on the 15th.  Theaters were selling out of tickets early on and were full to capacity.  Fans were purchasing Harry Potter paraphernalia to wear on opening night: Gryffindor scarves, Slytherin shirts, and of course, eye liner to draw a scar on their foreheads.

Isn’t it crazy to think that Daniel Radcliffe has become so famous in such a short period of time because he looks like a drawing of Harry Potter that has always been on the covers of the book?  Usually, readers have to imagine what the characters in the stories look like, and if the book is made into a movie, the person may not necessarily look as the reader had imagined.  But in this case, Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley look exactly like their caricatures!  Granted, they are talented actors, but they may not have been given this opportunity without their looks.

I have to admit, I am always disappointed when movies are created out of books because some of my favorite scenes are cut out.  I was expecting a bigger fight scene, less of the romantic love triangle with Ron, Hermione, and Lavender, more scenes about the effects on the Muggle world and the Prime Minister of London’s involvement, and the emotion and awe of Dumbledore’s funeral.  I understand that if those had been added the movie would have been more than 153 minutes, but I felt that those scenes were crucial to the plot of the movie.  I’m glad I read the books so that I can understand it better, but what about the people that didn’t?  I know this is a constant problem for directors, but it was still a disappointment to see a focus on romantic comedy instead of the plot of Harry versus Voldemort.

However, there were some very fulfilling parts.  The special effects of the scene when Dumbledore and Harry are finding the Horcrux is especially thrilling.  The flashbacks to the past with the Pensieve show incredible, in-depth footage of possibly the most important scenes of the film.  Hearing Slughorn explain the concept of Horcruxes to a young Tom Riddle was fascinating.  I thought Draco’s role was very well developed and truly showed the most important parts of his purpose in the scheme.  His anger and hatred toward himself, Voldemort, and Harry clearly defined his nature.  And, of course, Professor Snape’s inner conflict (which we will see develop more in the final movies) and ties to both good and evil rendered great excitement for his future endeavors.  From making the Unbreakable Vow and Dumbledore requesting his presence before his battle to speaking the Killing Curse and revealing his title of the “Half-Blood Price,” Snape’s role in this battle is truly captivating.

The amazing thing is the Harry Potter talk is going to continue for a long time.  Whilst before the movie people were discussing their excitement for the movie, they are now discussing whether or not they liked the movie, specific scenes, and the fact that they are going on no sleep at work because they went to see the midnight showing (I, for example, have gotten 2 hours of sleep, but I had to make the sacrifice to see HP as soon as I could!).  The funnier part of this: people are tweeting in different languages about these topics.  It is truly amazing the effect Harry Potter has had on everyone all around the world.

I guess all I can say now is 492 days until Part I of the 7th book comes out in theaters, and 730 days until Part II of the 7th book comes out in theaters!  Then we can finally hear Molly Weasley say “Get away from my daughter, bitch!”

PR of Authors

Do you ever wonder about the PR of authors?  Many times, their books are in the public’s eye more than they are, but aren’t they just as famous as other actors?  Nicholas Sparks, J.K. Rowling, and many other authors have written well-known books, but would you really recognize them if you saw them?  According to my roommate, “If you saw Nicholas Sparks walking on the street, you would not recognize him, but if you saw him on a beach with wind-blown hair, you would know who he is.”

Authors are put in the spotlight when they are releasing a new book (even though they usually must have written a prior, successful book in order to be put in this spotlight).  Every single word they speak (or write) is critiqued.  Remember when J.K. Rowling told the world that Dumbledore was gay?  Remember the reaction of people who do not support the lifestyle of those who are gay?  Who did her PR?  How did she continue to have sales that skyrocketed despite the uproar at this announcement?  Or was this her tactic to garner the attention of people who are gay?  Was she really doing PR for her book?

I feel the PR done by authors is very subtle, if not non-existent.  I cannot remember the last time I heard a Nicholas Sparks book being promoted before its release.  Even the new hit books by Stephenie Meyer were not promoted until the release of its movie.  Personally, I do not hear about many wonderful books that I would enjoy reading until they are made into a movie, such as The Notebook, The Secret Life of Bees, Twilight, etc.

However, is this technique a way to give the authors protection from the media?  Actors and actresses do not have this attention, but by writing a book, the characters are put in the spotlight, the author lives through the characters, AND the author does not get bombarded by unnecessary press (besides the desired press about his/her work).  Maybe authors have it the right way…