THE 10 REASONS
WHY WE LOVE HARRY POTTER
PLOT POINTS: IT ADVOCATES GOOD MORALS
It has always intrigued me that several religious notables vocalized criticism of Rowling and her canon because of its use of magic and witchcraft, calling it "Devil's work" and "Unfit for children." But the famed author espouses a moral code within the series to which even fundamentalist Christians have aspired. The moral of the tale (to paraphrase Ms. Rowling): Love is the Ultimate Power and it is the Choices we make that define our destiny.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION: THE BEST SCHOOL IMAGINED
Who wouldn't want to go to a school like Hogwarts? Sure, it has its typical classroom fare like History (History of Magic), Life Sciences (Herbology) and Chemistry (Potions). But it also includes a plethora of exciting courses that anyone would be delighted to take like Transfigurations, Charms, Divination, Care of Magical Creatures and (lest we forget!) Defense Against the Dark Arts. Why weren't my schools like this?!?
THE FILMS: THE BEST CAST EVER ASSEMBLED
No film franchise has ever had a cast like this. Not only are they great characters, but the producers got some of the best character actors to fill these roles. And how can you NOT have a great ensemble when you are picking from the best and brightest of the British stage and screen. I mean, look at this list of actors and tell me you don't respect at least ONE of these names: Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, Richard Harris, Michael Gambon, Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham-Carter, Robbie Coltrane, Gary Oldman, Emma Thompson and need I go on?!?!?
CHARACTER-WISE: THE WUBBY WE HARDLY KNEW
I know what you're thinking: What in the heck is "a wubby?" "A Wubby" is a type of character that appears in a story or movie (or TV show) that audiences often have a distaste for, but will occasionally surprise audiences (and other characters!) with random acts of kindness or chivalry or just plain nice behavior. In the Harry Potter series, we have a clear "wubby," and that is Professor Severus Snape. Snape is Harry's Potions master and seems to hate everything about Harry without even saying five words to him. As the series progresses, we discover Snape's true motives and where his loyalty (and his heart!) in fact lie. (No SPOILERS people, READ THE BOOKS...or Watch the films!)
STORYLAND: LEAPING ACROSS MULTIPLE GENRES (AND MULTIPLE MEDIUMS!)
Okay, I'm gonna gush for a few minutes. Rowling is a brilliant writer, plain and simple. And a brilliant writer is just like a brilliant chef: knowing the ingredients, the measurements and how to combine it all to make a perfect dish. Rowling, in her novels, utilizes the right elements of a multitude of genres: Fantasy, Adventure, Mystery, Horror, Romance, Drama and even Comedy! Not only does the story appeal on so many levels, but Rowling has matched herself up with a crack marketing team. They have managed to stamp Harry Potter on every type of media, even getting on "the ground floor" of newer technologies. This is the kind of empire we writers dream of creating.
CHARACTER-WISE: THE ULTIMATE MENTOR
We all learn from people, but there is always that one person who gives us our most valuable lessons. In Harry's case, he has one of the best. Professor Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore (seriously, "Brian?") seems to be leagues ahead of everyone even before he opens his mouth. He definitely takes to Harry like a father-figure. And on top of all that, like Obi-Wan Kenobi or Gandalf the Grey, he makes a sacrifice that most of Pop Culture's best mentors make.
IT'S IN THE DETAILS: WE'VE GOT MAGIC TO DO!
Do I really need to explain the Power of Magic to you all? If I do, stop reading now!
CHARACTER-WISE: THE ULTIMATE VILLAIN
You gotta love a villain whose very name sparks fear within the people of the very world he wishes to control. Lord Voldemort (or Tom Riddle, depending on what you wish to call him!) is a baddie through and through. He yearns to rid the Magical world of Muggle-born Witches and Wizards (even though he, himself is Muggle-born!). And he is so frightening that is very reappearance in the fourth novel/film made readers/audiences squeamish. Plus, who tries to kill a baby? REALLY, A BABY?!?!?
PLOT POINTS: YOU'VE GOT TO HAVE FRIENDS!
One of my favorite things in any book, film, TV show, stage production, etc. I have enjoyed is the core relationship of the story. And in Harry Potter, we have one of the most enduring and fascinating friendships we have ever seen. From the minute the trio meet to final sentences of The Deathly Hallows, Ron and Hermione are the truest friends to Harry and he certainly never forgets it. They are a family in every sense of the word from the very beginning.
HARRY POTTER IS ONE OF THE ULTIMATE HEROES
His destiny is foretold even before he takes his first steps or speaks his first words. His background is one of isolation and neglect. As unlikely (and, at times, unwilling) a hero he may be, Harry Potter grows from a wide-eyed 11 year-old to a courageous and intelligent leader. He is willing to risk everything he holds dear to defeat the very evil that has tried to destroy him since his birth. If that's not a hero, I don't know what is!!!
As the Harry Potter film series comes to a close, I hope all of you will think of the things you like about the world that J.K. Rowling created. And I hope to see you all at the Movies this weekend!!!
Coming to Broadway Baby of CA this week:
IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS
A NEW WEEKLY COLUMN!
It will discuss the various happenings in the world of Pop Culture, Entertainment and the Media.
First up, The 2011 Emmy Nominations: Who Got a Nod and Who Got Snubbed!
Look for that in the coming days.