Concluding a decade of Harry

We recently took advantage of a generous friend’s babysitting of the kids for the evening, and went to see a movie. Certainly not something we have done since Philippa was born, so it was a rare treat. Although, we chose to see a movie that was our habit to see for the last ten years – the latest Harry Potter flick. Watching the fantasy adventures of Harry and his friends has been a regular feature during much of my adult life. It is strange to think back on when we saw the first movie at the Rivoli Cinema One, when we saw a later one with Spanish subtitles in Europe, and how during all that time we got married, had two children, and had many adventures of our own.

After watching the final film, I had a strong urge to begin reading all the books again. I’ve now completed the first four books, and am eagerly looking forward to the final three.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

A satisfying conclusion to the eight film series

Over the course of eight films, it probably shouldn’t be surprising that they got better at adapting J K Rowling’s Harry Potter books. The first film tried too hard to contain the whole book rather than being a movie experience in its own right, perhaps to please the rabid fans, but disappointing the rest a little. The film-makers got better at leaving things out, to identifying the key plot points, and with the final two films, giving themselves twice as much movie time to fit the story into.

The movie of the first part of the Deathly Hallows was desolate and depressing, but thankfully its follow-up is perkier. That said, the actors playing the darker characters get more screen time than usual, and they really shine.

It was probably also an advantage for me to have read the Deathly Hallows book ages ago, allowing me to forget much of it. I understand that there were some inexplicable changes made for the film adaptation, but unless you are a rabid fan, it’s just minor stuff. All in all, I found it to be a very satisfying way to complete the series.

Rating by andrew: 4.0 stars

It was very interesting to re-read the first book again. When I read it originally, I found it a nice bit of fluff. It is a fun tale, but not particularly sophisticated, nor were the characters very deep. However, now that I’ve had the benefit of a whole saga’s worth of character development, the characters in the book read with a richness that J K Rowling didn’t actually write into it. As a result, it’s been a much more rewarding experience than I was expecting.

Pulp fantasy

After I’ve completed an exam, I no longer need to feel guilty if I read something other than my study notes. Having just finished a subject, I recently went out and grabbed myself some fiction to read instead. One of my favourite authors is Neil Gaiman, and in my random wanderings through the bookstore, I came across a book of his that I hadn’t heard about before.


A satisfying fantasy novel that manages a new take on a cliched formula

This novel is pitched as an adult fairy tale. However, it’s only adult in the sense that it’s not a children’s fairy tale. It’s not cover-to-cover steamy raunchiness or anything. There is some raunchiness. Bad things happen to good people. All up, more of a “young adult” book than an adult one, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

On the copy that I’ve got, there’s a review quote from Stephen King. In fact, aspects of the book do remind me of King’s work, as Gaiman is able to conjure up some pretty strange and freaky creatures to inhabit his fantasy world. The physics and logic of the fantasy world start off strange, but grew on me during the course of the book. Just seeing Gaiman apply his creativity is part of the enjoyment of reading it.

Apparently this book has been turned into a movie, although I hadn’t heard of it either. Although, after reading this book and enjoying it, I’ll be keeping an eye out for the movie at the local video store. I also discovered that Gaiman is behind Coraline, which I am very keen to see, now that I’ve read his take on a children’s fairy story.

My rating: 4.0 stars

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