Potter-Thon 2011

I like watching movies. I like watching movies all day. But the longest I have ever gone is the LOTR extended editions, and that was a marathon in and of itself. But the idea of an all-day Harry Potter marathon proved irresistible, especially in light of the prohibitive expense of doing the Alamo Drafthouse feast. So the day started at 8:00am CST with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and will go until ???? and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1.

At my core of cores, I’m a Potter-geek. My MA thesis exists because of my love of Harry Potter, and I enjoy attending the Potter-conferences, etc. But my other great love is Disney, which won out the whole “which dissertation topic” debate.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

  • How did Harry’s parents get so wealthy? Interest-bearing savings account?
  • Daniel Radcliffe became a much better actor as he grew up. I think this is also due to the fact that Chris Columbus was taken off the project. At first I thought that the change was going to affect the movie series, but in retrospect (knowing the remaining half of the series) it was a really good move. The first two Potter books are noticeably light and fluffy, but so are 11 and 12 year olds. The darkness that appears in book 3 and beyond is very applicable to the same level of darkness of teenage life. There was a tweet I saw the other day that said something like, “If you are opposed to the darkness in YA lit, then take the darkness out of teen life. Good luck with that.” It’s very true indeed. So, thinking about it, Voldemort could be seen as a metaphor for teen inner darkness, making Harry Potter a fundamentally Bettleheimian series (which is, of course, how I met Bettleheim’s work, though the context of the analysis wasn’t as metaphorical as I would like). Another read about the popularity of the books on a psychological level…
  • Though I have to admit, I still am disconcerted to see the kids wearing Muggle clothing throughout the movies. That is one change from the books that I still disagree with. I’ve made my peace with many of the others.
  • Ron tells Harry that his father said there’s not a single bad wizard that wasn’t in Slytherin. I have a hard time believing this, because it implies that all Death Eaters were Slytherin, but there are pure-bread wizards in the other houses that could just have easily been twisted to the Dark Side. There’s nothing in the rules that Death Eaters can only be Slytherins, but that they have to pure-blood wizards who are willing to support Voldemort’s plans unconditionally. I think that the canon has said forever that Dumbledore was a Gryffindor, and I think JKR confirmed that somewhere, but I think he would have been a prime example of a non-Slytherin Death Eater had he been Tom Riddle’s peer rather than professor. Based on what we learn in the last book, I’ve kind of thought that Dumbledore was actually a Slytherin, but I bet he, like Harry, could have gone either way. Of course, like all fraternities and school organizations, they really don’t matter once you graduate – they just help shape you. That’s one of the fascinating things about Individuation: the process is likewise individual, and difficult to systematize. Reading the Jungians, you’d think that individuation is a singular process, but it’s not really.
  • Madame Hooch looks like one of my professors.
  • Harry Potter and the Ring of Gyges
  • So the Mirror of Erised shows you your deepest desire.  I wonder how often what it shows you changes.
  • Someday, I’d like to slap Jung’s Red Book down on a table and tell my friends that it’s a “bit of light reading.” In the original German, no less.
  • The one protection I wish they hadn’t cut from the quest to the stone is Snape’s. I’ve tried to riddle through the one in the book before, but somehow miss something, and I consider myself fairly decent at logic puzzles. Plus, in the Lego game, that would have been such a nice add. Speaking of which, I can’t wait for years 5-7 this fall…

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

  • I would own a fireplace if I could use Floo powder.
  • Flying cars … the cars of the future.
  • How does a ghost get petrified? This somehow implies that a petrification spell freezes the soul, not the body.
  • At the end of the day, this is one of my least favorite of the films. Order of the Phoenix is the least favorite period, but only because Harry is somewhat whiney and Umbridge is a bit much to handle, but Chamber falls a close second.
  • Why do Tom Riddle’s robes have the Hogwarts crest and all the “modern” characters robes have their house crest?

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

  • Start of the movie—Why is it okay for Harry to practice magic under his sheet at the Dursleys, but not any other time?
  • An observation by a friend of mine: many of the movies start off with Harry doing vindictive behavior but with happy music, a connection I‘d never made before, perhaps as a parallel between Harry and Voldemort. Except that Harry’s vindication is “justified” because he is provoked.
  • Observation by another friend: all of the wizards are dirty, except the kids. Why is that I wonder?
  • Of course, this was the movie I spent most of the time being social, so I kind of missed the entire movie. Luckily, it’s my favorite, so I don’t mind watching this again later sometime.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

  • Yay! My Doctor!
  • Here is the turning point of the series. This is when Harry first witnesses death, but it’s also when Voldemort becomes a real threat. Before he was a bit of an ideological threat, but now he’s real. Going off the idea that the series is a metaphor for teen development, among other things, then this turning point reflects a major change in teen development, probably about the time when the teen darkness likewise becomes something real. when the teen crisis really begins. The earlier stuff we can write off as part of the shift, but the real major shift happens in the middle of the teen years. 14/15/16, which is also when we go to high school. What a cruel joke adults play on their progeny.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

  • So just what did Dudley see during his Dementor’s Kiss? It was quite a shock on the kid. Is it an Ambrose Bierce-style flash-of-events, or does your entire life flash before your eyes?
  • I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, Delores Umbridge is vile.
  • “The world isn’t split into good people and Death Eaters. We all’ve got light and dark inside.” – Sirius Black. All about balance.
  • The Department of Mysteries is one of the most fascinating elements of the Wizarding World in the books. Each of the rooms explores a fundamental mystery of the human experience; things that in ancient times were explained by gods and goddesses. It’s interesting that the only room (again, in the books) that Harry cannot enter is the Love room. It’s something so potent that it cannot be entered into easily, just like in real life. Death is easy, time is easy, the universe is easy, but not love. It’s kind of like what James Hillman was talking about in Surfing LA about Pandora’s box. Hope was the only thing left in, but it was an evil. Perhaps Love is a similar evil, so it has to remain behind locked doors.
  • At the end of the day, Harry is really a mediocre wizard. It’s not just that the spells he uses in duals don’t deal major damage, but it’s also that he doesn’t have the heart behind it.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

  • I’ve been at this all day, and I’m entering into the 11th hour (the literal 11th hour) and just starting this film. An all-day Potter-thon does take commitment, and I can’t imagine doing this anywhere but in the comfort of my (or someone else’s) own home, where you can control the viewing and break schedule (and the foods).
  • In light of my recent discussion about consumption, it occurs to me that Harry Potter is one of the brands I have most consumed in the past decade. I’ve not been the most consumptive person, having consumed more of the idea of Potter rather than the stuff of Potter. In fact, it was Harry Potter that inspired my studies into Myth and the Humanities. I wanted to find some mode of studying the potency of the idea of Harry Potter without having to commit to a straight literary analysis or some of the more boring topics (such as pedagogy and such). There are so many myths waiting to be consumed. These myths seem to grip different people with the same exact potency. For example, I have friends who are in the holds of Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, or Buffy who are just as gripped by these myths as I am Disney and Potter (for that matter, there are those out there that put my Potter-ness to shame). So… There are two things to consider: the degree to which consumption is an essential part of the myth experience, and the connection between the personalities of the people and which myths speak to that particular personality. I’m not advocating a psychological profile of myths to person, because the experience of a myth, like individuation, is an individual experience. But I think there is a degree of coaching that could be offered in the fashion of analysis to help people understand why a particular myth has gripped them so.
  • I think this is my favorite book/film, and I think this is because it follows the whineyness of Order. The dialogue is wittier, and this is yet another turning point in the series—the beginning of the denouement, but if I say anything we’ll go into the spoiler territory.
  • Every now and then, I wish something like Liquid Luck really existed. It’s one of those things that I could use from time to time.
  • And I wish I had a penseive to unload all of my memories. Imagine how much easier writing a dissertation could be with a time-turner and a penseive. I’d never have to worry about information retention again!!!
  • So, I’m a little curious how Harry knows how many Horcruxes to seek and what they are. There’s a very quick edit following the scene in the penseive when Dumbledore and Harry finally watch Slughorn’s unedited memory, suggesting that they cut that bit out for time with the hopes that fans would fill in the blanks. Because, after all, only people who read the books first ever go to the movies….
  • The scene in the cave when Dumbledore is drinking the potion is so difficult to watch. It’s as though Harry is taking care of the invalid old man, pushing the previous generation aside in order to be able to fulfill his destiny. This is another component of the growth process.
  • Harry’s tragic flaw is that he cares too much for the people he loves. Technically this isn’t a bad thing, but it does induce him to make some really dumb mistakes.
  • I’ve sometimes wondered if Snape’s AK was supposed to be a trick spell, and the aftermath was an accident.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1

  • And here we are, the very bitter end. Granted, I just brewed a pot of coffee, so there was an extended break.
  • I wish they had kept Dudley’s Tea Cup scene in this one.
  • Another Wizarding tool I wish was real: Hermione’s Bag of Holding.
  • The Seven Harrys scene reminds me of the Multiple Jacks from Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. I wish they could have extended the prep scene by a couple more minutes.
  • Paranoia, paranoia, paranoia, let me go.
  • I like how Ron reminds Harry that the Cause is bigger than just him. The Bad Guys aren’t just me versus them. They are all of them against all of us. Harry Potter is one of the best examples of a hero’s story that involves the entire community, not just the single epic hero working alone.
  • I’m going to post this now. We’re only half way through, but I’d rather just soak up the remaining bit. The real adventure begins with Part 2.
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3 thoughts on “Potter-Thon 2011

  1. So, in your theory that not all death eaters had to be from Slytherin house, I would agree… However, was Peter Pettigrew from Slytherin? He had the dark mark– at least in movie 4. I thought Pettigrew was from Griffendor…

    1. See, that’s what proves the point. I’m fairly certain Pettigrew was a Gryffindor since the other three were, but they don’t exactly work with that in the films–just the betrayal part. Any of Harry’s friends could have turned OTHER than Malfoy and it would have made a richer story.

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