Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Cats and Christmas Trees Do Not Mix

Work continues on the Hogwarts book, but in the meantime, we put up the Christmas tree this weekend. My wife has already strung the lights, but that may be as far as we get for a while. Our two cats have decided that perching in the upper branches is the most important thing in their lives, despite how much water we spray them with. They climbed the tree last year too, but this year, they are big enough to knock branches loose (it's an artificial tree), so we may have to stick with unbreakable ornaments.

We need a cat repelling spell.

I guess this just means more time to spend on the book.

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Harry Potter Thanksgiving

It was definitely a Harry Potter Thanksgiving at our house these past four days. Not only was I able to spend plenty of time working on my book, but the family and I saw the Harry Potter movie on Sunday.

General impressions of the movie. First of all, I enjoyed the movie, as I knew I would, but it was noticeably different from the first six movies. As has been mentioned before, moving the story away from Hogwarts really affected the feel of the movie. And the constant jumping around to different locations gave it a more surreal feel – at least to me. There were plenty of action sequences, although they were interspersed between rather slow moving scenes designed, I suppose, to let us witness plenty of soul-searching by Harry, Hermione, and Ron. In addition, although the time spent having the three main characters work their way through mysteries was a big part of all seven books as well as the earlier movies, there was very little of it here, with either Hermione or Harry spotting some small clue and then suddenly announcing what needed to be done next. I realize they are trying to fit a lot of story into this movie, and need to keep things moving, but I would rather have seen more of the story and less soul-searching. But to each his own.

Another thing I noticed was the difference in the intended target audience. This was a movie designed to be seen by those who know the Harry Potter world fairly well. The earlier movies were pretty good about explaining why some things occurred – perhaps not always very extensively, but at least enough to give people who hadn’t read the book a chance to know what was going on. There were numerous occasions in this movie where an important event occurred or a concept was demonstrated – something that was important for the audience to understand – without the slightest bit of explanation. Since many of these events had not been shown in any of the previous movies, it you hadn’t read the books, you would have absolutely no idea what was going on. If you are reading this blog, you probably understood everything that happened in the movie, but I know plenty of people who completely missed why things happened the way they did.

Anyway, I enjoyed the movie and now I’m psyched to work even harder on my book!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Hogwarts -- The Place it All Began -- For Me At Least

I’ve read a few reviews of the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows movie so far, and while they have mostly been positive, I did run across one that caught my attention. The reviewer didn’t care much for the movie, feeling that the series (and actors) was getting a bit long in the tooth. I can’t argue with him, either for or against, since I haven’t seen the movie yet, but the overall tone of the article suggests that the reviewer was predisposed to a negative review based on his opinion of the previous movies.

What I found interesting was his opinion that shooting the movie away from Hogwarts had drained some of the life out of it. And I’m wondering if I am going to feel the same way when I see the movie myself. Of course, I’m not complaining that the film’s producers did it this way. After all, that was how the book was written. But it still doesn’t mean I’m going to be happy about it.

To me, Hogwarts was what made the stories so magical. I recall being more than a little depressed when Harry announced that he wasn’t going back to Hogwarts at the end of the sixth book and I was disappointed there was so little of Hogwarts in the seventh book. Of course, I liked the characters and the magic and the general quirkiness of the wizardring world, but it was Hogwarts that first caught my attention, and it was Hogwarts that I enjoyed revisiting in subsequent books. (For various reasons, Hogwarts reminds me of my college days, but I’ll talk about that in another post) And it was my desire to keep the magic of Hogwarts alive (among other things) that led me to begin writing my book in the first place.

May Hogwarts live forever!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Movie

Surprise! I’m back. My apologies for allowing several months to pass between posts. My intention was, and still is, to post several times a week, but my schedule has been really tight for the last three months. In September, I began teaching chemistry (night classes) at a local community college, and it has required significantly more time than I had expected. The time I could spend on writing was cut drastically and whenever I found a few minutes to write, I always chose to work on my Hogwarts book instead of posting here.

This is now starting to change. As I've gotten used to teaching again, my work load has decreased, so the time I have to write has been slowly increasing. (Still not enough, though!)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (part 1) opened today and I suspect the Harry Potter community is reaching a fever pitch. I won't be seeing it immediately myself – it will take some maneuvering to find a time when the entire family can go – and I no longer feel as though I have to be one of the first people to see a movie when it comes out. I can wait a few weeks for the crowds to thin down a bit. In the meantime, all this Harry Potter frenzy is inspiring me to work even harder on the book. It's still slow going, but it is progressing and I'm happy with that. I'm still estimating another year before it's done – well after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (part 2) has come and gone.

Hopefully some people will still be interested in what happens to Hogwarts next.