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by Craig "The Hebe" Robbins


Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Every time they make a movie from a fantasy story, things just aren’t the same. Can you remember how you almost pissed your pants laughing when Gandalf blew that ultra-queer whistle to Shadowfax in The Two Towers? I can. There hasn’t been a good movie about wizards in quite some time. Not just clever Tolkien wizards who predict the future and light up caves, but nasty bad boys who fire gosh-darned magic beams at each other and destroy people’s sanity. Like that Chinese nutcase from Big Trouble in Little China, and Kim Cattrall back when she was hot. Way hot.

But seriously, I hope this new Harry Potter movie doesn’t rot. I found myself defending HP books last week against my buddie’s arguments that they were “absolutely retarded” and “the stupidest thing ever and I will never read that garbage as long as I live so stop asking me.” He was somehow under the mistaken impression that the “writing style of an author never changes.” I disagree. It seems J.K. Rowling has become a formidable force among the legitimate heavy-weights of modern literature, and her writing chops have increased dramatically since the first few Harry Potter books were penned.

I’m impressed by the details that JK Rowling has dreamed up, and her most recent work Order of the Phoenix is exceptionally well-written. The Prisoner of Azkaban (about to be released on film in early June) pales in comparison. I figured they would make Order of the Phoenix the next movie, since the actors that play these kids have gotta be almost old enough to drink by now. Nevertheless, I’m psyched to see the movie, even if my friends call me “totally lame”.

One of the differences between this book and previous ones like The Sorcerer’s Stone is Harry’s confusion about whether his father was an idealistic hero who died a young and tragic death or a darned wise-guy who just picked on nerds for fun. One scene from the book involves Professor Snape (played by Hans from Die Hard in the movies) trying to teach Harry how to block out the meddlesome and evil Voldemort from his mind. During the lessons, Snape uses this device called a Pensieve, which stores memories for further review. A disturbance occurs out in the hall, and Harry is left alone for a few minutes with a few of Snape’s thoughts swirling around this bowl. Of course Harry has to see what’s inside the Professor’s noodle, and proceeds to dive right into this bubbling pool of thought. One of Snape’s memories is of Harry’s dad James and Sirius Black (Harry’s Godfather) hanging him upside-down in front of some pretty chicks, back in the day when they were in school. Of course the elder Potter and Black totally dissed the dorky boy-Snape, thus revealing the nature of Snape’s hatred for Harry. There’s some serious psychology at play among Rowling’s characters, and it’s no small feat to come up with so many convincing details about these characters and the whimsical world they inhabit.

Rowling actually provides some answers to questions about why Harry has to spend his summers with his horrible Aunt’s family, his screwed up connection to the dark lord Voldemort, and we see for the first time just how bad to the bone Headmaster Dumbledore really is. Harry’s friend Hermione just gets more annoying as each story unfolds, but I guess that’s just her character’s place, to be a ratty little know-it-all. And what the heck is her name? Hair-miney or Her-Me-Own? Well, whatever, the story rocks nonetheless.

The ways the author incorporates social problems like prejudice and governmental attempts at covering issues up are both amusing and thought-provoking. I’m sure the hardcore literary readers out there probably think I’ve gone off the deep end for my nauseating review of this author, but I’m telling you, this one’s a good read. Not just for kids either. So, if you’ve got the chutzpah to get mocked out, pick up a copy at your nearest book store – tell ‘em the BEST sent ya!




 

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