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John Woo Harry Potter

Dee Yun Dee Yun: (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2007-07-27 03:15:18

He Never Has to Reload His Wand

I assume many of you have finished The Deathly Hallows by now, but if you haven't, I'm about to share the tiniest of non-spoilers. Book 7 of the Harry Potter epic series is essentially an action movie. The characters blow through wands like Barry Bonds juices syringes. This made me envision today's strip, but the more I thought about it, John Woo would actually be a decent choice when the movie franchise hits this book. There's plenty of heroic bloodshed, honor vs. treachery, and friendships acknowledged in death: signature hallmarks of a Woo film.

J. K. Rowling's greatest strength is her characterization. The Harry Potter books often struggle with uneven structure, excessive exposition, subtextual bludgeoning, and yes...tedious boringness. Stop and consider how many hundreds of pages are consumed by Harry milling about the train station, taking the train, buying candy, going to the bank, buying books, buying robes, buying a cauldron, buying a wand, buying butterbeer, getting his syllabus, going to class, brushing his teeth, ad nauseum. Most of us don't even realize how banal these narratives are because the characters are engaging.

We finally get a Potter book that gets right to the point. Excepting the mildly annoying return of emo Harry (interjected purely as a plot device to bolster the Dumbledore theme), The Deathly Hallows tears along at breakneck speeds, hurriedly referencing and wrapping up loose ends from throughout the series. Almost every scene is a set up for a full blown action sequence. The only complaint here is that many of the more intriguing supporting characters don't receive enough attention. Ultimately, people die, and evil is defeated, and satisfyingly so.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - A

Harry Potter Series - S

In terms of judging accurately against the literary pantheon, Harry Potter deserves lower grades. However, I grant it a relativistic boost, taking into consideration that J.K. Rowling achieved the unthinkable: getting people (elementary school kids!) to read thousand page long books.

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