The Broad is Back!

November 21, 2010

“The Boy Who Lived” is Back

Three and a half years ago, I wrote about the release of JK Rowling’s final book in her Harry Potter series and how Harry and his friends provided a bonding experience for my students and me. Thursday night, at eleven in the evening, I was sitting in a cinema on Manhattan’s upper west side with hundreds of other Potter fans, awaiting the midnight showing of the first film installment of the final book. It was another bonding experience.

I was there with my soon-to-be 20 year old son and a number of his friends. The multiplex had 11 screens of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, all sold out, so that was pretty cool: sharing the experience with that many people. Many were in costumes; all were Potter fans.

The film was wonderful. Sure, not all of the parts I wanted to see were there. But film adaptation is an art, and the film has to be judged on its own merits. This was an excellent job, and the three young leads have all matured into seasoned professionals who gave moving performances in what is an emotionally draining film. But I don’t want to give a review here.

After the film, I left my son to his friends while I walked down Broadway to catch a subway home. Even though it was three in the morning, it was perfectly safe as I was surrounded by Hogwarts students. Well over a thousand people had poured out of the theater, after all, and they had to get home somehow.

There I was, the lone middle aged woman, not in costume, surrounded by mostly college age people, mostly costumed, passionately discussing books. I can’t tell you how thrilled I was. I eavesdropped shamelessly.

I am someone who lives for books. I read them; I teach them; I haltingly attempt to write them. To hear young people passionate about a book thrilled me. The stories meant something to them, and they were discussing them in great detail, not just plot and character, but meaning and message, as well. If I could only get my literature students that interested!

The next day in class, my students asked about the film. I had warned them I was going so they would take pity on their poor tired professor. Again, I bonded with students over love of a book. Those who had read it, and a majority had, asked about favorite parts: “Is it in the movie?” they asked plaintively. We didn’t spend much time on the film as I had much work planned, but that feeling of being fans together, of sharing a love of something, is a nice one to have.

Today my son and I went to visit my 78-year-old mother and see the film with her. She’s read all of the books, as well, the latter ones with my son. Going to the films together is a tradition since the fifth film, when we moved back to America, and we already have plans for next July.

I love how Harry transcends generations, races, genders, boundaries. Watching the film this week with different groups, discussing the film with diverse people, has show me that I wrote three years ago is still true: where there’s love, there is power, the greatest power imaginable. In this word of divisiveness, we need the power of love to bring us together, to show us our similarities instead of our differences.

Thank you to all those involved in the film for bringing people closer together. And thanks to J.K. Rowling for her creations.

Now, only eight more months till part two!


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