Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Herr Wozzeck Muses: Harry Potter and the Nerdicus Intotalus

I'll start this musing by stating the following: Harry Potter was the second affirmation I had ever gotten in my life that I would have something of a happy relationship with fictional properties.

It should come as no surprise that I am not a Harry Potter fan. Well, not in the most hardcore sense, and not as much as I used to, anyhow. When I was younger, I knew who Harry Potter was, I knew who Voldemort was, and I knew what was going on with everything pertaining to him. However, my curiosity was pretty involved, such that I can consider myself a fan.

The whole Harry Potter phenomenon is sort of attaching itself to me in a meta-sense, too: for the longest time, I had people telling me I look like Harry Potter. Which, if I'm donning my glasses, you can definitely see where they're coming from; I really did look very similar to Harry Potter. All I'd need would be the signature lightning-bolt scar and a not-fake British accent and I would be the spitting image of Harry Potter.

So naturally, I got pretty curious. And with that in mind, I set off on my Harry Potter journey.

So... I went and saw The Sorcerer's Stone when it came out in theaters. I'll admit I started reading its book, but never finished it. I forget why that is, but... I greatly enjoyed the first Harry Potter movie. I had never finished the book, but I could tell that they had put real effort into telling the story of the book as closely as possible. I was awed at the special effects, I felt for Harry Potter, and it was an incredibly entertaining story. So naturally, I was quite invigorated for the rest of the franchise.

So I went ahead and saw Chamber of Secrets and The Prisoner of Azkaban in theaters. I liked both quite a bit, even never having read the original books. The second movie was a little darker, but it still maintained the great adventure factor that the first one had, and it was quite enjoyable for all the same reasons. And the third part was also great for the same reasons I liked the first two parts. Even then, I knew something had changed between the second and third movie, but whatever it did it made the third one the best of the bunch.

In fact, I still maintain that Prisoner of Azkaban is the best HP film so far. Of course, the name Guillermo del Toro didn't ring any bells back then, but now, looking back and knowing about his other work (most specifically the piece of surreal awesomeness that is Pan's Labyrinth) I think that placing del Toro as the director was one of the smartest moves that they made for that film. But everything else clicked into place too.

By the time Prisoner of Azkaban had been released in theaters, I had begun to get caught up in the whole Harry Potter phenomenon. I was getting so into the movies that they in turn got me into the books. So I read Goblet of Fire and Order of the Phoenix.

But, as I began the article, I'm not exactly a fan anymore. So what happened?

Well... Goblet of Fire was released in theaters. I don't remember ever being so disappointed at a movie; back then, I felt that they were putting far too much emphasis into the three trials for the Triwizard Tournament and left out so much of the interesting character development that even the first three movies were able to work in so well. I was also really annoyed that they completely cut the Quidditch match, as it broke the flow of the beginning of the movie. And on a personal note, I hated that they cut the entire Rita Skeeter subplot, as that was my favorite subplot of the book. I felt they focused too much on the action and not enough on the characters.

And so, Goblet of Fire killed my interest in the franchise. I didn't see Order of the Phoenix when it was released in theaters, and I didn't read the last two books. And I still haven't, to this day.

In recent years, though, it's had something of a light resurgence. I had an opportunity to see Half-Blood Prince in theaters last summer when I went over to a movie theater with my summer festival. I ultimately didn't, though, and those of you who read my review of Bruno way back when I started HWR can probably guess at what happened then.

So when the final chapter comes out? I finally decide to myself, 'oh, the hell with it'.

Will I ever fully get back into Harry Potter? Not completely. Will I ever forget my Harry Potter fan phase? Definitely not. It's created some rather fond memories, particularly of a group of Chinese girls I once had the pleasure of knowing when I visited Japan a couple of years back who noticed the similarity between me and the epinonymous wizard. And I think it was second hint I'd ever get in my life that I would become a nerd later in my life. A nerd for video games like Mass Effect and Heavy Rain, granted, but a nerd nevertheless.

And now? After so much has happened in my life, I'm proud to be a nerd. And it's this pride that allows me to say that at one time in my life, Harry Potter was one of my heroes.

This is Herr Wozzeck Muses. I'll see you guys next time.

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