I would like to stand up and mark the passing of a great phenomenon in the publishing and movie industry - viz., Harry Potter. HP will continue to live in books and DVDs, but we've been lucky enough to witness the phenomenon live. I was 24 when I borrowed the first two books from the Kottayam Public Library. Unfortunately, I started with the Chamber of Secrets because my sis grabbed the Philosopher's Stone before I could. After returning the library books, I went ahead and bought the two as well as the Prisoner of Azkaban that was already on the stands by the then. Since then I never missed another book. I caught the Goblet of Fire too from Kottayam. I remember getting the Amazon-shipped Order of the Phoenix from the apartment office in Houston - my only American HP! We were back in Mangalore and still staying in a hotel when we went to a bookstore and bought the Half-blood Prince - the store manager had just unpacked it and I was the first one to buy it! That is the first HP I tried to read in installments - I managed to finish it in a day. The Deathly Hallows came to me when we had just come to Thiruvananthapuram and were staying in a rented home, with just a couple of mattresses as furniture. I was totally sick with undiagnosed bronchitis in a viral fever epidemic at the time. That time too I promised myself that I would savor the last HP one chapter a day. But when one is sick, there is little to do - so I finished it in 4 hours. When I then surveyed the HP-less wasteland that was stretching ahead of me, I consoled myself with the movie versions yet to come...
So it was with a beating heart and high expectations that I sat down to see the final movie in the Harry Potter series. On my right I had 4 British youngsters who seemed pretty tickled to be watching the movie at a fraction of the cost they would've had to shell out in their own country. When the screen started glowing, I was in deep mortification for 15 minutes because all the jewellery stores in the area had their ads coming in one after the other. On other occasions, it might just have been a slight nuisance, but I was then watching the rigmarole through foreign eyes!
I think my expectations were too high for this movie. It was a visual treat, but the movie did not convey the pathos, the tragedy and the final sacrifice of Harry giving up the elder wand. But I don't blame the filmmakers for that, the cinematic medium can only hold this much. I also cannot imagine how Hermione and Ron would've allowed Harry to set out to be killed by Voldemort - the book has him stealing away under the Invisibility Cloak and just asking Neville to slay the snake. Fred's death as well as the Lupins' don't touch us the way they did in the book. Dumbledore - the real hero as far as I'm concerned - does not get his final scene as the one in the portrait. All these omissions just marred the movie for me so that it was with a feeling of dissatisfaction that I came out after the screen darkened.
Enough said - I can always read the books!