J K Rowling

Hermione Prisoner of Azkaban

Exactly ten years ago today I was sitting in the back of a crowded movie theater waiting for magic to happen. As a teenager, I was already deeply entrenched in the Harry Potter pandemonium. The first book arrived in Scholastic catalogs and book fairs when I was in elementary school, and I prided my little, insufferable overachieving self on finishing the latest installments in the the series as soon as they came out to get bonus reading points at school. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was an event that every child looked forward to, the culmination of our carefully spent hours poring over pages and devouring J.K. Rowling’s words finally being brought to life on the big screen. Would Hogwarts be the magical world we’d been escaping to for the past few years? Would the mythical beasts and spells and potions and charms all remain intact while making the leap to movies? Would the characters we’d grown so invested in match our expectations? For young girls, the personification of Hermione Granger on screen was especially noteworthy. As the prominent female role in the story, she was never designated as a sidekick, never belittled as a love interest, always had the better tricks up her sleeves and never backed down when she knew she was right —even when she had a pack of insipid boys telling her how annoying she could be. She was familiar and inspirational, a muse with terrible hair and a magic wand, and when the first film […]

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Newt Scamander in FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM

Because seven books and eight films were not enough to satiate the minds of millions of ungrateful little muggles around the world, JK Rowling has been put to work writing not one, but three spinoffs to the Harry Potter series. The already published Harry Potter extension/textbook Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will now be a trilogy and therefore three movies, according to the author who probably needs a break to luxuriate in her money pond. These aren’t just going to be any films, though; they’re going to be “megamovies,” if you’d care to listen to Warner Bros. Given the prolific stature of the Harry Potter franchise, the studio is probably right on the money with that designation. Do you hear the teens lining up to buy their tshirts at Hot Topic right now? Back in September when the Fantastic Beasts project was freshly announced, Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara was secretive about the nature of Rowling’s new baby, only revealing that his studio was hoping to build a film franchise out of the book. With three on the way, it’s time for Potter 2.0.

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Harry and the Dursleys

There are plenty of things that are extremely satisfying about J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter franchise, her bestselling seven-book series that spawned no less than eight of the most popular movies of all time, but there’s one thing that most fans of the series can generally agree on as being one of the most satisfying: that young Harry ends the series with his own, wonderful, loving, magical family. Let’s back up here a moment, in case you’re in need of a refresher (or, God forbid, you’re not familiar with Harry, which seems impossible at this point). When we first meet young Harry, he’s an orphan forced to live under the stairs at his aunt and uncle’s house. His aunt and uncle Dursley are not exactly nice people, to the point that they’re basically emotionally abusing him (and they’re certainly not magical), and his cousin Dudley is one hell of a bully. They’re duds, and the time that Harry spends living with them before being all but rescued by Hagrid and taken to Hogwarts to hone his magical talents and yes, sniff sniff, to meet the friends who will become his family, is a terrible, horrible time. So why would anyone want to see a production that focuses on Harry’s early years?

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My family has been friends with a children’s bookstore owner for years, so when we got an advanced copy of something called “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” I read it to give my feedback. I thought it was poorly written and wouldn’t go anywhere. I was incorrect. The books became the phenomenon, and the movies have translated that worldwide shared experience into something else entirely, but all that comes to an end this summer before someone at Warners decides to reboot the whole thing. This featurette shows off the main three in their first screen test, and takes a look back at the cinematic journey that’s brought us to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.

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I have to start this post off with an admission: I have yet to see the new Harry Potter. I’m saving it for Thanksgiving weekend when I can return to my home state and see it with loved ones, so hopefully next week I’ll have a post on something more appropriately Potter-specific. But what I want to talk about today is not something related to Deathly Hollows specifically, but what it represents, which lies somewhere in the film’s critical reaction. While heaps of praise have been given to the newest installment of one of the biggest movie franchises in history based on one of the biggest book franchises in history (many calling it one of the best entries in the series), the biggest voice of detraction has been the notion that Deathy Hollows pt. 1 is not a “complete movie” per se – that it abruptly stops in medias res, that it has no “third act.” Whether or not this is how I will feel when I see the movie this week is unimportant, but what this movie – and its subsequent reaction – represents is of great importance.

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Twilight

For those who have been living under a rock for the last couple of months, Twilight is coming, so get ready. The teen angst supernatural drama features vampires, werewolves (well, not yet) and a young girl called Bella Swan (played by Kristen Stewart) who falls head over heels with one of the dazzling undead is an adaptation of one of the most popular young adult books since Harry Potter, and we have two oh so pretty new pictures of eternal beings smashing the shite out of each other. Is she really worth it?

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