SHAME ON YOU - have never read Harry Potter. It's strange to hear that people only four or five years older than my generation - or even people the same age as me, for that matter - look at Harry Potter as childish, or stupid.
To be perfectly honest, Harry Potter has pretty much been my entire life.
I remember getting Chamber of Secrets from my aunt for Christmas in 1999. I remember looking at the cover and trying to read a few pages before I decided it was stupid; I'd never heard of Harry Potter before and I simply wasn't interested. (maybe the fact that it wasn't the first book deterred me from trying it out?) It wasn't until a year later that I happened upon Sorcerer's Stone that I decided to sit down and give it time. Of course, I was hooked instantly, and I sped through the first three books in a flash. Since then I've been buying each of the books the moment they were released, and the speed in which I'd finish each book quickly lowered despite the page count increasing. For the record: 1. Harry and Hermione belong together, goddamnit, and 2. Nineteen Years Later disgusts me and I was very tempted to rip the pages out and just remain ignorant to them for the rest of my life. Aside from those few missteps - and perhaps aside from the fact the books had to come to an end - I have no complaints, and I say to JK Rowling: you done good.
Of course, the movies are a different story, and I think I've seen all of them except for Prisoner of Azkaban on opening night. I appreciate them as an entirely different medium that the books; I'm not one to leave the theaters with my nose in the air, complaining about how much the director cut out or how off a character's appearance or portrayal was. Mind you, I still do note these things, but they don't bother me; picturing something different is inevitable since we imagined the world of Harry Potter differently in our minds.. and yeah, I do point out that they cut things out like Peeves or the Dursleys' goodbye, but I don't let that govern my feelings for the movies. I love them all the same.
Shifting gears slightly: here is my half-assed review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part I), which I had the pleasure to see last night as soon as humanly possible for me.
I thought it was good. Maybe pretty good. Great? No. Amazing? Not exactly? OMG BEST HP MOVIE EVAR!!!! Nowhere near. (Order of the Phoenix holds that title. Gorgeous movie)
Here's my reasoning. (I realize I need to explain myself to pretty much the entire world) I was thoroughly entertained; by the end of it, it felt very short (reasons later); and when it hit the great notes, it hit them HARD. The Seven Potters sequence was perfect; the Ministry invasion made me squirm in stress; Godric's Hollow made my skin crawl and I cowered quite a bit; and the Malfoy Manor finale was pretty much exactly how I imagined it, if not even better and more intense. I felt close to wanting to shed a tear for our recently deceased [spoiler alert], but it never really hit me since I never overly liked the character. Oh, and the animated Three Brothers tale was pretty damn impressive. ...and oh, same with the locket stuff.
But the thing is: while there was a lot happening, it was a whole lot of nothing. I never liked the camping-relocation deal they did in the book, and given that the book was split into two books, I knew that it was inevitable that the majority of the movie would be the great wilderness adventures. I found myself wanting the camping stuff to wrap up, and it didn't help that a whole lot of the conflict was Ron-Hermione heavy. (Although the movie was a bit of a dream for an ignorant H/Hr shipper) Another thing I didn't appreciate was the fact that the movie felt tailored for book readers; my sister, the shameful family association I have who hasn't read the book, admitted she was pretty confused by the end of the movie, and I see her point. The movie relied on far too much remembrance of the previous movies to recall characters or plots or specific details (not a personal problem but I can't help but imagine my parents watching it), and significant details were rushed and easy to miss. Even I didn't exactly hear Ron when he told Dobby to take Ollivander and Luna to Shell Cottage; of course I knew because I was looking out for it and anticipating it.
The final thing that bothered me - and maybe my bigger bother - was the fact that I couldn't get past the knowledge of knowing that the ONLY reason this movie exists is to set up the second half. Plots began but weren't resolved; things like Bellatrix's hair landing on Hermione's jacket were clear things to set up the motions of the second film. I get that plots couldn't get resolved since the book was split; I just felt that this movie was a bit of a cash grab, and that it merely (and only) sets the stage for Part II.
That being said, though, I'm itching for July. I can't hardly wait. I know, though, that I WILL cry when the last movie is over - this major part of my life will all be coming to a close. And so I look to July 15th equal parts excruciating (Crucio!) anticipation and remorse.