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Tom  Coombe

I think Yates has said that he didn't want to stage a battle at the end of Half Blood Prince because another one is on its way in the final movie. But that's sort of like comparing the fight at the end of "Fellowship of the Ring" to Helm's Deep. No matter what his reason, the end of Half Blood Prince felt like an afterthought.

Mike Schilling

I never understood the pre-Deathly Hallows controversy about which side Snape was really on. His duel with Harry at the end of Half-Blood Prince makes that completely clear. Snape does nothing to injure Harry, merely blocking his attacks and immobilizing him, and at the same time tries to teach him what's needed to win a duel with a skilled wizard. That is, in typically brilliant Snape fashion, he acts anti-Harry for his audience of Death Eaters, helps Harry prepare for the final conflict, and still manages to indulge his desire to humiliate James Potter by proxy. It's yet another important scene left out of the film.

Lance

Thomas, I like the Fellowship-Helms Deep comparison. Yates' comment doesn't make me hopeful about the ending to the second Deathly Hallows movie. It's as if he doesn't understand there's a difference between a fight scene and a battle scene nor that fights and battles have their own "personalities."

Mike, good points. For that matter, Snape himself is practically left out of this movie.

Chris G.

I feel like Snape has been pretty much left out of the movies, generally -- he's in a scene or three, tops, and we're left to fill in the rest with what we remember from the books and our impressions of Alan Rickman.

Claire

Lance, I enjoyed the movie a bit more than you did, but I wished I had my copy on hand ahead of time to read through it again quickly. I can never remember the details from the Potter books. I was annoyed with the handling of the Half-Blood Prince. It was brought up and then sort of ignored, save Harry carrying the book around everywhere. And I *hated* the reveal.

I haven't read Marcotte's take that the books would make a better tv show, but I'm willing to sign on to that idea immediately. I wish that would happen.

the blonde

I actually liked the Half-Blood Prince better on second viewing this past weekend, but still feel there are gaping holes in it - seems like they're saving up stuff for the finale. That NYT column on teen drinking and Harry Potter was stupid beyond belief.

Ken Houghton

Uh, I think you're shooting the wrong horse's arse here.

The difference between Five and Six in books is enormous: worst book to best, imnvho. (Second-best for those who cling to Chamber of Secrets.)

The difference in screenplays, though, is that Steve Kloves has done all of them except Five. And Five (Order of the Phoenix) is the only one that was scripted as if they were making a movie.

(That Prisoner of Azkaban remains the best film is certainly a matter of Best Director--Cuaron looked good after Chris Columbus [almost anyone, possibly even Joel Schumacher or John Boorman, would have] and has only gotten better with age. As Emma Watson said on the extras disc [iirc] "we got to act in this one."

(But the transition of Order of the Phoenix from six zillion pages of whiny drivel to about seven scenes totalling maybe ten minutes of screen time is clearly because Michael Goldenberg did the scripting, and worked to make a movie, not to adapt a book.)

And going back to Kloves even feels leaden.

merciless

I agree with your panning of Half-Blood Prince, and especially of the climax (what was with the raising of the wands? I thought someone was going to start shouting "Freebird!"). If I hadn't read the books obsessively I'd have no idea what Harry has to do in the next movie, since we didn't get to understand the horcruxes, and we didn't get the scene at the funeral where our heroes make their choices.

I disagree, however, with your mourning over Harry's oncoming mediocre adulthood. Harry wants, more than anything, a real family, and if it's kind of boring, well, so what? Part of the problem, I think, is Ginny's woeful lack of characterization in the books. Rowling hints that Ginny is powerful, strong, and beautiful (like Lily!) but since we didn't really get to see her grow up as we did the others, we just get handed the super-popular and completely changed Ginny in book six, and we have to take for granted that Harry finally figures it out.

If I were to guess, I'd say that a quiet life filled with family and friends is what Rowling always wanted. It's not so bad.

Formerly Apostate

I don't remember a darned thing from any of the Harry Potter books (yes, read them all). They got really complicated.

Now, when I think about them, all I can muster is, Harry is one damned incompetent, annoying not-much-good-at-anything kinda kid. It bugs me that Rowling chose his defining trait to be a kind of nobility of character. Fuck that noise. Give me Hermione's genius over that bumbling conscience-stricken reluctant hero.

actor212

What's the acceptable drinking age in England?

It's thirteen, more or less.

Stop being so...American, Lance. If Britain's kids can handle drinking at that young age, then we ought to respect that.

Lance

actor212, Why are you picking on me? I didn't write that NYT article.

susan

Didn't one of the Weasley twins get killed in the last movie? I seem to remember Mrs. Weasley taking on Lestrange to avenge his death.

If this is correct, then why did I see both twins in the Half Blood Prince?

Lance

Susan, Fred and George survived Order of the Phoenix.

Blogger Formerly Known as the Apostate,

I like Herminone but she isn't a genius. She's an A-student. There's a difference. Dumbledore chose her to be Harry's friend because he knew she'd do her best to keep him in line. She thinks very conventionally, follows instructions religiously, reflexively defers to the authoritative line even when she knows she or more usually Harry has a better idea, and generally worries more about her grades than about what she's learning. Harry is the one who thinks like a genius, although he isn't meant to be one. And that's part of what makes him the hero, his streak of independence which includes his habit of independent-thought. His heroism isn't all a matter of his "nobility of character." Which is one of the weaknesses of this movie. Harry's independent streak is almost entirely missing. He's Dumbledore's right hand man all the way through. One of the things Berube objected to is that the movie leaves out Dubledore's immobilizing him for the confrontation with the Death Eaters. Dumbledore knows that it doesn't matter what Harry has promised to do. What matters is what Harry decides on the spur of the moment is the right thing to do. In the book, Harry has to be restrained by powerful magic. In the movie he meekly follows orders and stands by while Dumbledore faces off with his enemies.

Formerly Apostate

Well, you're right. About Hermione.

velvet goldmine

Harry isn't the hero. The three of them, combined, are the hero. That point is made over and over, in all seven books. Therefore, each of them has something that keeps the other two from toppling into disaster. Hernione's contribtions are crucial. Even Ron's are, which is apparent in Hallows, when the despair while he is gone almost consumes the other two.

Winnie

Yeah, Lance. It's interesting...I was always a Harry/Hermione shipper partly because I loved Hermione and wanted her to get the hero instead of sad sack Ron but also because while I felt that Ron was just dragging Hermione down into mediocrity and Ginny did the same for Harry the two of them together tended to bring out the best in each other. Hermione often in the books would urge Harry to do the right thing or smart thing and he inspired her to take more risks and live a little. She stood by him when things got rough in "The deadly Hallows," when Ron bailed; they were truly an awesome team and Ron was a callow jerk while Ginny's just a red-haired Mary Sue turned superwitch so Rawlings could have a fairy tale ending. There were plenty of hints in the series of an attraction or romance between Harry and Hermione but it was almost like Rawlings was afraid to go there for fear of shutting out tiresome old Ron. (Who could of course have been given another convenient love interest.) Or maybe Rawlings was afraid that Harry and Hermione would seem almost *too* extraordinary a couple together...a pair of wizards who would be guaranteed as a married couple to do great things and have adventures that seemed fantastical even in the wizarding world and even while having kids. Also when you think about it in the books, ultimately it was Snape who turned out to be the tragic martyered hero of them all and Harry's best guardian rather than Dumbledore...but Snape of course hated Harry all the more because he loved him. You can't capture that in the movies.

velvet goldmine

By the way, from what I read butterbeer would fall into the almost-vanished category of "small beer." There are two ways of making fizzy drinks: the new-fangled carbonization, and the old way of mixing liquid, sugar and yeast. The latter combination creates a soda with a small amount of alcohol (hence the derisive expression "That's small beer.")

The original bottled versions of ginger ale, birch beer and root beer all were made this way. From what I understand, the fictional butterbeer is a butterscotch-like drink that is a kind of cousin to these other small beers. Most parents, I would think, wouldn't have much of an issue with their kids drinking butterbeer. My family celebrated July 4 by making strawberry soda the old-fashioned way, and no one called social services on us.

actor212

Damn, sorry, Lance. It seemed like you were half-heartedly taking Atrios' side, and that he was agreeing with the Times. Mea culpa.

Pinko Punko

Very much am in lockstop agreement with this, LM.

PurpleGirl

I haven't seen the movie yet but a neighbor who is really a Potter fan has (she saw it as soon as it opened) and she was disappointed. She felt that too much had been left out and it really should have been two movies. I asked her what she thought about Potter as a mini-series or a multi-season series arc until the story was fully told and she thought that would work for the last 3 books.

I don't mind spoilers, I like to see the movies anyway to see the action and how the movie was made.

Ken Houghton

susan - You're remembering the books, not the movies.

Ian Welsh

Slightly off topic - I thought the end of Fellowship was much stronger than the end of either of the other two movies. Boromir's death is truly heroic and tragic.

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