Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Trick Is:

What's your favorite Star Wars movie? Is it number one? Do you mean "Episode IV: A New Hope," or "The Phantom Menace," affectionately known in our house as "Pulpy McBeefloaf." We call it that because "The Phantom Menace" sounds like some odd combination between Casper the Friendly Ghost and Dennis The Menace. It never seemed to carry the weight of a galaxy worth of drama and history. "Attack of the Clones?" Better, but suggests a parody, like all sequels are faded copies of the original. And at last, we arrive at "Revenge of the Sith," which is really only the third of the series and makes up a little for George "Attack of the Wattle" Lucas assuring us all that Jedi would never seek out revenge, they were more comfortable merely Returning.
Which brings me to Harry Potter. I was a little late coming to the Quidditch match, and there had already been three books and almost as many movies before I started paying attention. Once I decided to become part of the spell that has been cast over the past decade of readers young and old, I started slowly. I learned that our Sorcerer's Stone was really a Philosopher's Stone when J.K. "Richer Than The Queen" started writing her books back in merry Olde England. The movie kept the Americanized title and an industry began. Somewhere along the line, they had to switch headmasters, but even death couldn't stop the Hogwarts Express now.
Along the way, details were left out. Characters were combined or eliminated altogether, but the series kept chugging along to its inevitable light saber duel, excuse me, wand duel between young Harry and He Who Shall Not Be Named - Voldermort. Whew. That feels better. And all of the arcane business about muggles and the Order of the Phoenix and Gringots become part of the pop culture lexicon. I have become familiar with these details as a matter of course, and I even cried when I finished the last book. Now I await the last of the last: the second half of the last to be precise. When it's all over, I don't know if I will sob anew, but I feel there will be a disturbance in the force. It will be the end of an era. And that's when we all start hoping that the powers that be can leave well enough alone, and the wizards academy we grew up with will become a pleasant memory. And a theme park in Orlando.

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