"Do you like change?" our principal asked the students at assembly yesterday. "Or do you want everything to stay the same?"
More hands went up for things staying the same. But change is inevitable, and we need to embrace it, so said our principal.
I am a recent convert to the desirability of change. I grew up in chaos, and I feasted on the desire for sameness all through my 20's and 30's.
But recently someone wrote that if you really want life to go on a long time-- at least in your perception-- you should always be trying new things, for time goes by more slowly when your brain is adjusting to the unfamiliar.
We will soon have to do that with Harry Potter. For the last ten years, it's been Harry, Ron, and Hermione, growing up and battling evil together. Last night a bunch of us saw the penultimate round of the battle: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I. The next and last movie comes out in June.
I sat through the movie mostly marveling at how the kids have grown up, and how they're going to fly the nest soon. I mean Harry, Ron, and Hermione, of course. But my kids also grew up with Harry Potter. My son will fly the nest about the same time that the last movie comes out.
My son has always been a reader, and he took to Harry Potter books with their ever-expanding page count. When a new one came out, he would lock himself in his room and read till he finished. When the first movie came out, he pronounced it unsatisfactory. So much had been left out.
Last night was no exception. The screenwriter, faced with hundreds of pages to get on celluloid, cut the whole thing up and rearranged it so that my purist son had to give another sigh of resignation. Some things don't change, like the ruining of books for movies.
I have not read much Harry Potter; I did read the seventh book, much of it, anyway, because I wanted to know whether the ending made sense. I didn't read it closely enough to worry about how the movie squared up with it, which is how I like my Harry Potter movies. They are entities unto themselves.
This one was mostly enjoyable, despite that much of it took place in a tent. There were some good action scenes, and some scary spots, and the running time a bit too long and the color palate too dark for my taste. (At some points it is almost a black-and-white movie). But I loved seeing the three actors, Daniel, Emma, and Rupert, so grown up and yet still so young. They are, as few ever have been, the children of so many parents who have seen Harry Potter.
I'm grateful for J.K. Rowling's vision, and for the fans who made the series a blockbuster. Having something to mark the first decade of the 21st century has been helpful. And, I should say before I'm done, quite entertaining, too. Harry Potter isn't quite The Lord of the Rings, Narnia, The Prydain Chronicles, or The Wizard of Earthsea trilogy, the books that marked my childhood and teenage herodom, but he certainly gives them a run for the money.