Mudcat Café message #1198759 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #70252   Message #1198759
Posted By: Stilly River Sage
02-Jun-04 - 04:21 PM
Thread Name: BS: New Harry Potter Film (Prisoner of Azkaban)
Subject: RE: BS: New Harry Potter Film
Blackcatter, you're attempting to throw a wet blanket over this category of book and film, and I think it's unnecessary. If you were talking about something like Dick, Jane, and Spot I'd have no argument. But Harry Potter is a success on many levels. First, they are well-written, well-conceived, and well-developed stories. They're exciting and entertaining to read and they touch on all sorts of topical and cultural issues. If you'd seen the movies (or read later books) then you'd know that they aren't all just white upper-middle-class participants in the stories.

I don't think you can support the Friends-to-other-sitcoms argument in relation to these books. Reading fantasy in Harry Potter then going to other types of fantasy is NOT a "Reading Lite" diet. There is lots of excellent quality fantasy (a young friend of mine was finally convinced that reading is fun when he got hooked on Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, and after looking for more like it, found other good literature to read). I have an MA in English Lit and have many friends here in the English dept who love the Harry Potter books. Some read out of curiosity, some read to their children. It's fun and literate. That's enough, and when we spend a lot of time reading other important texts, it's nice to cleanse the palate. Harry Potter isn't pulp fiction for kids.

I have read all of these books out loud to my children. That's a helluva lot of reading. And while we're reading, if questions come up or topics need to be addressed, we address them. You mention some concerns here that we have been discussed at some point and some context, whether to do with the book or the film.

My kids understand about the art involved between books and screenplays--and that books have much more room and time to develop ideas. We've talked about what must be done to tell the story in a film and to still give the flavor and as much depth as possible of the story. (They learned much of this after we read To Kill a Mockingbird then watched the movie a little later. And then the screenwriter, Shelby Foote, was on a local radio call-in talk show and I called and asked him about that and passed along his answers to the kids).

The thing I've discussed most seriously with the kids is the behavior as it relates to the Dursleys and Harry Potter. His relationship with Dudley is not good, and has been abusive in both directions. In this fifth book I see a shift. I haven't finished the book or even the Dursley section, so I won't say more. But there seems to be a bit more understanding going on, even with the hard-headed uncle and aunt and pudgy punkish cousin.