Price Wars And Other Controversies
Asda, along with several other UK supermarkets, having already taken pre-orders for the book at a heavily discounted price, sparked a price war two days before the book’s launch by announcing they would sell it for just £5 a copy. Other retail chains then also offered the book at discounted prices. At these prices the book became a loss leader. This caused uproar from traditional UK booksellers who argued they had no hope of competing in those conditions. Independent shops protested loudest, but even Waterstone’s, the UK’s largest dedicated chain bookstore, could not compete with the supermarket price. Some small bookstores hit back by buying their stock from the supermarkets rather than their wholesalers. Asda attempted to counter this by imposing a limit of two copies per customer to prevent bulk purchases. Philip Wicks, a spokesman for the UK Booksellers Association, said, “It is a war we can’t even participate in. We think it’s a crying shame that the supermarkets have decided to treat it as a loss-leader, like a can of baked beans.” Michael Norris, an analyst at Simba Information, said: “You are not only lowering the price of the book. At this point, you are lowering the value of reading.”
Harry Potter And The Secret Gay Love Story
In our new monthly column, YA of Yore, Frankie Thomas takes a second look at the books that defined a generation.
Joseph Christian Leyendecker, Man Reading Book, 1914
My micro-generationthat is, the subset of millennials who were born in the second term of the Reagan administration and graduated face first into the Great Recession, and of which the most famous member is probably Mark Zuckerberghas very little to brag about, so you can hardly blame us for our possessive attachment to Harry Potter. Harry Potter is to us what the Beatles were to our baby boomer parents. To say that we grew up along with Harry is far too corny to convey the actual experience of being the worlds first children ever to read those books. I remember attending a classmates twelfth birthday party in 1998, thrusting into her hands a gift-wrapped copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone , and informing her with something like personal pride, This book has been on the New York Times best-seller list for five weeks! It would probably still be there today if the Times hadnt, shortly thereafter, created a separate best-seller list for childrens books on the grounds that J.K. Rowlings success was unfair to the other novelists. It was a classic everybody-gets-a-trophy policy, a fitting legacy for the foundational text of millennial childhood.
I refer, of course, to Sirius and Lupin.
To put it another way: we invented close reading.
Smash cut to the summer of 2005, when book 6 was released.
Finding Out He’s An Unregistered Animagus
Sirius Black and his friends originally chose to become animagi to support Lupin, who was struggling with his lycanthropy. Likely in keeping with his name, Sirius adopted the form of a dog, but his status as an unregistered animagus wouldn’t help his already troubled image.
A known troublemaker, his eerie animal visage and unregistered status more or less brand him as a criminal. It’s a pity, as, beneath the fearsome exterior is a genuinely kind-hearted person, but those who’ve seen his animal form may find him difficult to trust.
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Prisoner Of Azkaban’s Darkness Is A Metaphor For Harry’s Mental State
When “Prisoner of Azkaban” kicks off, Harry receives pretty unsettling news: Sirius Black , a convicted murderer, has escaped from wizarding prison… and seems to be hunting Harry himself. This is already a pretty dark storyline and Sirius’ story turns out to be something else entirely but according to Cuarón, the darkness is also meant to represent Harry’s mental growth as he turns thirteen.
“‘Azkaban’ is a coming of age,” Cuarón explains in the special. “They’re passing the threshold between childhood and the teenage years. In the first two, Harry is still a child. There is a greater optimism around the tone itself. Nevertheless, when he turns thirteen, there is a big cloud that overshadows everything around Harry. And we needed to convey that stylistically.” This explains why so much of the film is shot against gray landscapes a perfect setting for the dementors, who bring dark clouds with them and represent depression and sorrow and make their first series appearance in “Azkaban.”
The “Potter” films and the reunion special are both available to stream on HBO Max now.
The Links To The Real World
One of the most enticing things about the wizarding world is that it runs parallel to ours. There are subtle crossovers and references to muggle marvels throughout the books that help it seem somehow in reach and therefore all the more believable. One of our favourite historical crossovers is the Malfoy family and the quest for the British throne. In a Pottermore entry, Rowling explains that an ancestor of Draco “was an unsuccessful aspirant to the hand of Elizabeth I” and due to her rejections cursed her luck in love going forward.
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The Most Difficult Horcrux To Destroy
This one is for millennials and boomers only. As we all know at this point, a Horcrux is a part of your soul that you safeguard inside a meaningful vessel that is extremely hard to break. So, modern-day Voldemort would probably have to choose an old Nokia phone to hide a piece of him. For todays standards, that phone was heavy and could survive even the most deadly falls. More specifically, the Nokia could be the new Riddle Diary, since its an old artifact that people used to write on. The perfect, unbreakable Horcrux.
The Quotes That Will Stick With Us Forever
While the plot often takes centre stage, it’s also worth paying attention to the beauty of the writing. So many sections of the books are quotable and relatable to share at all times of life. Here are some of our favourites: “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live”, “But you know, happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light,””We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.” And then of course the classic that started this whole magical journey off: “You’re a wizard, Harry.”
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Youre Strong And Can Do Things On Your Own
Harry might have had a lot of help along the way, but in the last moments of the final battle between good and evil, he stood alone. He had to fight Voldemort, the most powerful dark lord in the universe, all alone, and he still came out on top. Channel your inner Harry Potter, and you can definitely get shit done by yourself.
When He Called Harry ‘james’
Sirius Black calls Harry ‘James’ by accident in the heat of the moment, and, although it’s sad, it’s a sign that he isn’t being what Harry needs.
Molly Weasley was right he thinks of Harry as a best friend more than a son, and he can’t really provide what Harry needs in a parental figure. It’s tragic, but Sirius should have done a better job of concealing his emotions.
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The Hidden Plot Secrets
Throughout the books there are several plot spoilers disguised as dismissible inclusions that seem to just help move the story on, not reveal major future revelations. Think the Weasley twins throwing snowballs at Quirrel’s head – we now know that that would have been directly at Voldemort’s face. Or one of our particular favourites, Trelawney’s 13 seats at the table theory. In Prisoner of Azkaban, the divination professor refuses to dine with Dumbledore and guests, declaring: “If I join the table, we shall be thirteen! Nothing could be more unlucky! Never forget that when 13 dine together, the first to rise will be the first to die!” In the Order of the Phoenix, when at Grimauld Place, 13 are dining with Sirius being the first to stand. Sob, sob.
Rowling On Finishing The Book
Deathly HallowsBalmoral Hotel
Rowling completed the book while staying at the Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh in January 2007, and left a signed statement on a marble bust of Hermes in her room which read: “J. K. Rowling finished writing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in this room on 11 January 2007”. In a statement on her website, she said, “I’ve never felt such a mixture of extreme emotions in my life, never dreamed I could feel simultaneously heartbroken and euphoric.” She compared her mixed feelings to those expressed by Charles Dickens in the preface of the 1850 edition of David Copperfield, “a two-years’ imaginative task”. “To which,” she added, “I can only sigh, try seventeen years, Charles”. She ended her message by saying “Deathly Hallows is my favourite, and that is the most wonderful way to finish the series”.
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When He Broke Into The Common Room
In the book, there’s a scene that takes place before readers know he’s innocent where Black tears into the Gryffindor Common Room with a knife. It’s presumed that he’s looking for Harry and that he is endangering other students in his quest to find and kill his godson.
It puts the whole school on edge, and, as no one knows exactly how he broke in, it’s a slightly terrifying moment. He seems like the real villain of the book after all, why else would he break in with a weapon?
Learning About His Family
Sirius Black tells Harry about his family while in Grimmauld Place, and it’s a grim story. It’s coupled with meeting a portrait of Walburga Black, who screams at Sirius repeatedly.
Sirius says he ran away when he was a teenager, and, although he doesn’t go into much detail about his childhood or home life, it’s heavily implied he was neglected and abused for the fact that he chose not to involve himself in Pure-blood mania and biases.
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Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix
The book Order of the Phoenix often gets knocked for its preoccupation with hormonal teenagers mood swings. But thats the brilliance of the story. Our heroes are hormonal teenagers who make bad decisions based on impulse. The book does force readers to spend a lot of time inside Harrys head when hes at his most angry. The movie actually spares the audience this unpleasantness. Because of medium, we only see Harrys external reactions, and Radcliffe smartly chooses to play Harry as defeated and depressed, a decision that engenders sympathy rather than alienating the audience. Harry only shares his darkest fears about something evil burgeoning inside him in intimate scenes with his godfather Sirius, which makes Sirius sudden and surprising death at the end of the film all the more painful.
The Inspirations Behind The Characters
Much like the reasons behind the names we explored earlier, even all the characters – and especially the slightly minor ones – had significant reasons for being in the book. Take Moaning Myrtle, Rowling has explained that she was inspired by the omnipresence of hysterical girls in women’s toilets in nightclubs, and particualrly enjoyed exploring how Harry and Ron dealt with this new experience.
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Living In A Corrupted Society
Academics and journalists have developed many other interpretations of themes in the books, some more complex than others, and some including political subtexts. Themes such as normality, oppression, survival, and overcoming imposing odds have all been considered as prevalent throughout the series. Similarly, the theme of making one’s way through adolescence and “going over one’s most harrowing ordealsand thus coming to terms with them” has also been considered. Rowling has stated that the books comprise “a prolonged argument for tolerance, a prolonged plea for an end to bigotry” and that also pass on a message to “question authority and … not assume that the establishment or the press tells you all of the truth”.
Some political commentators have seen J. K. Rowling’s portrayal of the bureaucratised Ministry of Magic and the oppressive measures taken by the Ministry in the later books ” rel=”nofollow”> Mudbloods” with the Ministry) as an allegory of criticising the state.
Atalanta FugiensDeathly HallowsResurrection Stone
Harry Potter And The Sorcerers Stone
Though its probably the truest book-to-movie adaptation, the Sorcerers Stone, with its Matilda-esque tone, doesnt live up to the power of the rest of the series. In retrospect, the CGI is clunky, and the one-liners are too cute by half. Still, Christopher Columbus was also able to capture, well, the magic of that first introduction into Hogwarts. As soon as those owls begin to invade the Dursleys neighborhood, the Wizarding World suddenly seemed more accessible than it ever did on the page.
At the time of its premiere, Sorcerers success was no guarantee. Throughout the 2000s, fantasy adaptations like The Golden Compass and Eragon flopped at the box office. But Columbus movies managed to do right by the books: Hogwarts awed quidditch looked exactly as fans had imagined it and the school uniforms became instantly iconic. Columbus team also made some fantastic casting decisions that would pay off years later, like recruiting Alan Rickman to play Severus Snape and Maggie Smith to tackle Minerva McGonagall. And they found a trio of child actors who would, over the next decade, hold their own in scenes with some of Englands most talented thespians.
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Why Does Sirius Twinkle Universe Today
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Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was Rowlings first screenplay, and it shows. If you squint, theres a good movie within Fantastic Beasts about the rise of fascism in the Wizarding World in the 1920s. Unfortunately, studios have to sell stuffed animals. So Fantastic Beasts wraps its dark Grindelwald origin story inside a movie about a dorky magical creature enthusiast scurrying across 1920s New York City trying to round up adorable critters. The platypus-esque Nifflers are, undeniably, cute, and the other CGI creatures are quite impressive. But the bipolar movie never quite ties the two plots together.
Theres hope that Rowling could rectify this issue in future films. One of Rowlings best talents is actually intricate plottingthe early Harry Potter books and their adaptations would often weave plots together to make a more cohesive whole. The author would patiently plant the seeds of a plot point in an early novel that would then bloom in the later books to stunning effect. Perhaps its unfair to judge Fantastic Beasts on just the first two entries . But so far the franchise has failed to cast a spell over its audience.
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Every Time He Risked His Life
Sirius Black often unnecessarily risks his life, and fans got angry with him because Harry needs him. He insists on accompanying Harry to the train station while disguised in dog formand doesn’t behave much like a dog, giving himself to Lucius Malfoyand other excursions because he’s restless.
It might be understandable, but it’s hard not to wish he had more regard for his own life.
Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire
Its unfortunate the movie version of Goblet of Fire doesnt fall at the top of the heap when the book version ranks #1 or #2 for many Potter fans. But director Mike Newell made some irksome choices that diverge wildly from the original text, including, notoriously, Dumbledore screaming at Harry, Did you put your name in the goblet of fire?!? a line that Dumbledore uttered calmly in the book. Worse still, Goblet is at its heart a mystery novel, but the adaptation undercuts the whodunnit at the center of the storywho did put Harrys name in the Goblet of Fire?by showing the culprit in the very first scene.
That said, its pretty hard to screw up Rowlings best story. Goblet breaks from the formula of the last three books, centering the action around the Triwizard Tournament instead of the normal events school year. The three terrifying tasks are a joy to behold, and the angst-producing Yule Ball plays host to some of the most fraughtand deliciousteen drama in the series.
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Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald embodies everything wrong with the continued expansion of the Harry Potter universe. The Harry Potter prequel could have explored a whole new corner of the wondrous world Rowling once built. Instead Grindelwald plays like a cash grab. Rowlings script tries to connect just about every new character it introduces in some forced, hackneyed and occasionally racist way to the characters we know and love from the original Harry Potter films. But the revelation that one character will eventually become a snake or that another is a long-lost relative of Albus Dumbledore only muddles the canon.