Tag Archives: Harry Potter

Until we meet again

20 Apr

My great Harry Potter reread (via audiobooks) is over.

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I listened to all seven books in the car, mostly during my commute to school. Here are the stats:

  • 69 discs
  • 119 hours
  • approximately 828 miles

As I live in the US, all the discs were narrated by Jim Dale, who I think does a magnificent job.

Although I have reached the end of the series, I am sure this is not goodbye, just until we meet again. I will watch the movies again, and I will remark on the many bits that have been left out or streamlined for the sake of the movie’s length. I am certain I will read the series again, either in print or as audiobooks. I must admit, though I am curious to hear the Stephen Fry audiobooks that are available in the UK.

You can compare the two voices here.

My new audiobook mission is to revisit some classic science fiction during my commute: Robert Heinlein, Larry Niven, Arthur C. Clarke, and other authors of that ilk to see which ones I can add to my classroom library. I’ll keep you posted

Happy birthday, Harry Potter!

31 Jul

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It’s Harry’s birthday today. If he were real, he’d be 36.

It is also the release day for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a two-part play that has just opened in London.

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The play is written by Jack Thorne from an original story by Thorne, J.K Rowling and John Tiffany.

Those if us on this side of the pond will have to wait for it to cross the Atlantic. We can, however,  look forward to a movie adaptation of Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which will be released on November 11.

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 It stars Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander, the “author” of the book, which is an encyclopedia of the eponymous animals.

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The movie, Rowling’s screenwriting debut, is the first in a projected trilogy and brings the world of HP to the United States. According to the book, Scamander travelled the world in research of magical creatures beginning in  1918. His adventures culminated with the publication of his masterpiece in 1927. Here’s a trailer.

So, Potter fans, we have s few things to look forward to. Maybe this is Harry’s gift to us.

Happy Birthday, Neville Longbottom!

30 Jul

While the rest of the world is getting ready to celebrate Harry Potter’s birthday on the 31st, I am choosing to focus on Neville Longbottom, born on July 10th, one day before Harry, and who  COULD have been the Chosen One.

The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches… born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies… and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not… and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives… the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies….

Dumbledore clearly points out that Neville was not physically marked by the Dark Lord and the stories clearly cast Harry in that role. But, where would Harry be without Neville? Probably dead at the hands of Voldemort.

As early as the first book, Neville, though a minor character, plays a big part. He tries to warn Harry about Malfoy’s plan to get them caught when they try to release Norbert. Later, he stands up to Harry Ron and Hermione when they try to sneak out to stop Professor Quirrell. The famous trio lost many points for Gryffindor, allowing Slytherin to win the house cup…until Dumbledore awarded Neville ten points for having the courage to do the right thing, putting Gryffindor’s point total past Slytherin’s.

But it is as a member of Dumbledore’s Army where Neville truly begins to shine. He was one of the first to sign up and surprised everyone by disarming Harry. He endured Bellatrix Lestrange’s torture with the Cruciatus Curse all the while encouraging Harry not to turn over the prophecy. In the absence of the three main characters, Neville takes on a leadership role and is the person who gets Harry back into Hogwarts.

I’ve always had a soft spot for the underdog and the overlooked, so I wanted to take the time to say, “Happy Birthday, Neville Longbottom!”.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Book VS Movie

29 Jul

We had to turn in our laptops in June. They will be replaced in late August when we go back. Although I miss having a second computer at home for the summer, I will mostly miss it for the sticker I had on the front, which was given to me by a former colleague.

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I recently finished listening to Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. 

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It took a little longer than I’d planned because I was listening in the car and I am not driving as much these days. It was great fun reconnecting with the Hogwarts gang and I noticed more humor in the books than I remembered. I also noticed more omissions in the movie adaptation. As I listened, I could visualize the movie in my head, which is why certain missing bits stood out.

The book opens on Harry’s birthday, while the movie begins with Dobby and  the imminent dinner party with the Masons. When Ron, Fred & George come to get Harry at the Dursleys’ house, the book mentions that Fred & George have to break into the cupboard to get Harry’s trunk, then carry it up the stairs. Not in the movie.

The first really big omission is what Harry sees in and hears in Borgin and Burkes. Rowling was ding some serious foreshadowing in the book, but Harry doesn’t really hear anything in the movie.

The book has several other significant things that the movie does not.

  1. The book’s Deathday Party is completely omitted, necessitating the movie to come up with a different way for Harry to encounter the frozen Mrs. Norris.
  2. Hermione saves Harry from the rogue bludger in the movie, but Fred & George restrain it in the book.
  3. The book is full of foreshadowing of Ginny’s role in the Chamber of Secrets, but none of this appears in the movie.
  4. The Valentine’s dwarves of the book are completely missing from the movie, which I think is a crying shame.

The Harry Potter Wiki has an extensive list of differences at the bottom the Chamber of Secrets page. 

I have Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban on hold. I am #13 in line on 11 copies. Fortunately, I have a few other audiobooks I can listen to in the meantime.

Summer Driving

24 Jun

I have a summer driving plan and it doesn’t involve a destination. I want to listen to the entire Harry Potter series on audiobooks in  the car. The project will take me longer than the summer, I am sure. But, next year marks the 20th anniversary of the publication of the first book, published as Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in Britain, and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone un the US.

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I’m about halfway through this book and I am pleasantly surprised at how faithful the movies were to the original. I had thought that the movie intro, where Dumbledore shows up with what we later find out is a deluminator and McGonagall appears as a cat,  were innovation by the production company. Listening to the book, I know realize that these were, indeed part of the original book that I’d forgotten.

I am at the part where Harry has just played in his first Quidditch match. I can’t help but have the movie version of things paying in my head now, as I listen, and I suspect young people nowadays have probably seen the movies before they read the books. I haven’t read the books since 2007, when The Deathly Hallows came out and I reread the books to refresh my memory. I am surprised at how much I still like this first book.

This afternoon, Lucy and I are taking a little road trip to Woodburn to scout out the new park we will be using for the Oregon Basset Hound Games in a few weeks. Harry, Ron and  Hermione will be traveling with us.

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