Why I haven’t read the latest Harry Potter book

Like millions of people the world over, I loved the Harry Potter series. I thought it was magical and wonderful and unlike anything I’d ever read. I didn’t grow up with this series. In fact, I wasn’t too familiar with it until I saw the first movie. I was in college at the time. My mom wanted to see the film, so we went, and I remember sitting in the theater, watching the scene where Harry and all of the Hogwart’s students are in the Great Hall for their meal. Watching the changing scene on the ceiling, the food appearing out of nowhere, I remember thinking, if the books are half as good as this movie then they are going to be some amazing books. I’d underestimated just how much I would enjoy them. In discovering them much later than most, I was rather lucky because it meant less waiting. The first four books were already out, and I drove straight to the store and bought the boxed set. I loved the characters, the magic, the imagination that went into creating such a unique and magnificent world. I waited with anticipation for the fifth book, with trepidation for the sixth, and with severely bitten fingernails for the seventh, which I went to Midnight Madness to purchase on the release date, drove straight home, and stayed up all night and all the next day reading it. I was happy with the ending.

And that’s what book seven was supposed to be: The End.

But then the J.K. Rowling reveals began. First, the author told us that our beloved head master, Albus Dumbledore was gay. Okay, cool. Wasn’t that surprised by that revelation. I thought what she revealed next – what Dumbledore saw in the Mirror of Erised – was sadly sweet and very in character for Albus. Nice tidbit of information. Oh, but we’ve all been pronouncing Voldemort incorrectly for the last 18 years. Um, you couldn’t have told us that sooner or maybe cleared it up in the movies or something? Our trio of Hogwart’s heroes all went on to have appointments in the Ministry of Magic. Really? That’s a bit boring. I really thought Hermione might be a professor. I would have liked some variety for them. After that, Rowling started, on the anniversary of the Battle of Hogwart’s, apologizing for character deaths. OH HELL NO! This was a war between good and evil. People die in war. An author should never apologize for killing off a character. It looks weak or like you’re admitting to having made a mistake, and killing Fred was a huge mistake! How could you, Rowling? How could you? I will never ever forgive you for this terrible decision! Your apology is not accepted! You could have killed off anyone else, and I’d get over it, but Fred? It couldn’t have been Percy or Bill or someone else we never really cared about??? That is the worst thing you ever did to your fans! But to get back on track, with the exception of Fred, you should never ever apologize for offing a character. And then there was the revelation about how many schools of magic there are in the world and something about wizard segregation and Pottermore and more character death apologies, and I’d had enough!

Enough already! Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was supposed to be the end. I felt like I was being strung along by these bits and pieces of information. Few of them really added anything to a story that was already done, and I was tired of getting these little insubstantial teases.

And then there was the HUGE reveal: another Harry Potter book was on its way. Okay, a script really for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Was I ecstatic? Was I online pre-ordering my copy? Was I offering a kidney to anyone who would sell me their theatre ticket? Nope. I wasn’t filled with anticipation. I wasn’t counting down the days until the book’s release. I was…afraid. I was afraid that Rowling was going to ruin my beloved series and the characters that I cared so much about. I didn’t want to read about how Harry had become another cog in the Ministry’s wheel. I didn’t want any more secrets that made me question the world of Harry Potter that I knew and loved. Does that make me a coward? Probably. Do I care? Not really. As of this writing, I’m still not sure I want to read it. I haven’t heard good reviews about it, but I’ve also been trying to avoid learning too much about it. I don’t want spoilers to ruin it before I decide to read it.

So, I guess I am asking what you think? Have you read it? Do you recommend it or wish you hadn’t picked it up? I’m curious what other fans think. Tell me in the comments. Maybe you can persuade me to read it.

 

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When Hollywood ruins a perfectly good book…

You all probably know exactly where you were and what you were doing the moment you heard the news. Maybe you were pouring a cup of coffee and let it overflow and spill all over while the terrible reality set in. Maybe you were driving and the shock made you crash right into a building. Maybe you were secretly looking at your phone in the middle of a test that you failed once you read the awful, devastating news.

You know what news I am talking about…

That moment when you heard who was going to play Jace in the Mortal Instruments movie.

My reaction: Who? You mean the dog-faced boy from Sweeney Todd? Are you effing kidding me?
What the hell happened to Alex “Prettyface” Pettyfer?
No! No! No! Nooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!
Why, God, why????

Then I went through the stages of grief. I denied that this was happening. I prayed that the gods of film would intervene and cast ANYONE ELSE as my beloved Jace. Once I had to accept the truth (which only happened after I accidentally saw 3 seconds of a preview), I cried. Then I boycotted. I refused to watch the previews or read articles about the movie. I un-followed Cassandra Clare on Goodreads and unliked her on Facebook. It was nothing personal, but she kept talking about that abomination of a movie, and I simply couldn’t tolerate it. I cheered when the movie tanked. Frankly, I can’t wrap my head around the fact that it didn’t go straight to DVD.

So, of course, this got me thinking about all the great books that Hollywood has turned into mediocre or downright awful movies, so here goes:

Eragon – The book is a well-crafted world of fantasy, magic, dragons, protagonists, and antagonists. Sort of like Lord of the Rings meets Game of Thrones, if you will. The movie was just bleh. Dull cast, dull characters, and the plot was so hacked to pieces that I found myself wondering if the screenwriters had even read the book. Very disappointing.

Seabiscuit – Laura Hillenbrand crafted one of the greatest horseracing books of all time. She captured the people, the horses, the time period, and America perfectly. Page after page, she made the people and the horses come alive and transported us readers back to the glory days of American horseracing, which used to be one of the most popular sports in this country. Then along comes the movie and one of the worst directing decisions of all time. I can forgive the casting of Bug Eyes Maguire as Red Pollard, but what I can’t forgive is the director’s decision in the middle of the match race (which is the height of tension, the point that the entire movie has built up to) to cut away from the race and show people listening in on radios. Are you kidding me? Get back to the damn race! Cutting away from the horses at that crucial moment killed the momentum and ruined the movie for me.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – Director Alfonso Cuaron was praised for his “amazing vision,” and many critics said it was the best Harry Potter film yet. Uh, what movie were they watching? I could barely follow the film because I was too busy trying to figure out what on earth had happened to Hogwarts. The once beautiful castle now looked dark and foreboding and even the layout of the grounds had been changed to suit the director’s “vision.” The pacing was off and so much of the story had been cut that my friends who hadn’t read the books (yeah, I actually hang out with people like that – hard to believe, isn’t it?) had trouble understanding what was going on. The movie has grown on me somewhat over the years, but it is still far from my favorite.

Confessions of a Shopaholic – While I think this books series has gone from fun and entertaining to utterly ridiculous, the movie went straight to unbearable. How do you take a British book by a British author about a British girl living – you guessed it – in Britain, and then have the movie take place in NYC? As the salsa commercials used to say, “New York City? Get a rope.” Better yet, get a ticket to any other movie playing. I refused to watch this movie based on that fact alone. And judging by the money the movie didn’t make, other fans of the books apparently felt the same way.

I am not saying Hollywood always gets it wrong when converting a book to a movie, but if given the choice, I’ll take a book in my hands over a movie on a screen any day. Did I miss a terrible movie? Toss in your two cents, and thanks for visiting.