"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Songs of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Harry Potter and the power of imagination!

Just back from seeing the new Harry Potter movie, with my wife Susan and stepdaughter Alexx, and I'm still entranced.

I've been a fan since the first books and movies came out, and yes, I've read them all. What a success story on all levels. A former welfare mom and author now richer than the Queen, and a story about a picked on boy who becomes a success in a classic story of good against evil. And magic, what a perfect kids' story for all the kids in the world, no matter how old we are.

These movies have great special effects, but the special effects are not the most important. The narrative and acting is, and the special effects enhance them, not overpower them. As we sat through the stupid previews, everything as special effects, from monsters to cartoons to the themes of the end of the world...nothing worth watching. We breathed a sigh of relief when the distinctive music of the Potter movies came on.

Isn't it great to believe in magic? There were as many senior kids as young kids int he audience. How can you not love Quiddich, or want to ride that train through the English countryside to Hogwarts?

The books and the movies are separate pieces of art, but both cling together and bolster them. We all have our favorite characters, and it's no secret that mine is Hermoine, Emma Watson. I'm in love.

No, I'm not a pervert, but she is so cute, so attractive, so perfect as "the brightest witch in the kingdom." Such a know-it-all, such a friend, from her gestures to her expressions. Great acting, and full of humor and fear. It's been a pleasure to watch all the characters grow up through the six films so far. Draco Malfoy gives his best performance ever.

The last book, "The Deathly Hollows," will be split into two films, and by that time, all the main characters will have gone from childhood to puberty to adulthood, in the books and in the movies. How magically perfect. I was sad when the last book ended, because it was over. I will be sad when the last movie is out, but I've found magic in the trip.

Everybody should salute J.K. Rowling for making reading fun for kids again. I've reserved my books like the others, and shown up on release night at bookstores, and all the kids and their parents, and us older kids, show up in costumes and have a party.

Where did I get this passion? When I was a kid, my dad would take me to used bookstores in Albuquerque, and we'd buy early hardback editions from the 1920s of the Tarzan of the Apes books by Edgar Rice Burroughs. My son Travis still has these aging volumes, but I read them all and was entranced by tales of exotic faraway places in Africa and a magic creature, the ape man. I learned to love reading. The movies that followed were always disappointments. Not the Harry Potter series.
The movies are tributes to the books. I've started to reread them.

That's the power of imagination that's brewing in this muggle's magic coffee pot.

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