• Bye Bye Harry

    14 August 2011

    Aaargh!! Another long break between blogs!!! It's so hard to get back into the habit of blogging once you start to lapse. It was easier when I used to blog a lot about writing, when I was putting together my ebook of Writing Tips. (You can find it on www.darrenshan.com - there's a link from the home page.) But then, after a few years, I'd said pretty much everything that I had to say about writing, and I've been finding it harder to work a blog into my daily schedule since then. Twitter has also contributed to my easing up on the blogging front -- since I tweet so much, I often feel that a blog would be redundant, simply elaborating on things I've already said more succinctly over on my Twitter page.

     

    I'm just back from a short trip to London, and while there I went to see the final Harry Potter film at the IMAX. As I noted on Twitter, I liked it, but felt it would have benefitted from some trimming. To be honest, I didn't feel that they needed to split the last book up into two films. I think the book would have been better if it had been sharply edited down, and I thought that they could have cut out a lot of the dead wood with the movie, to produce a really rolicking final film. If they'd kept only the most crucial elements of the first half of the film, and trimmed this one a bit, I think they could have given us a final HP film that the series deserved. As things turned out, I felt the last two movies dragged out the ultimate story arc. It all looked fabulous, and it was very well acted, and it had some great moments -- but I was conscious of the outside world, and checked my watch a few times, which I never did with the best of the movies.

     

    Having said all that, I'm sad to see the series end. Like most other people, I loved the books for their imagination and sweetness and scope, and though I ever loved the films quite as much, I always looked forward to them, and found things to admire in each. I also had a personal connection to the films. Several of the actors were fans of my books, and I was fortunate enough to visit the set a few times over the years. I'll never forget my first trip, when they were making the very first film. I had lunch with Dan, Rupert, Matt and others. I'd taken a couple of my young cousins with me. One of them, Lorcan, was able to stick his tongue up his nose (the inspiration for Evra's trait!), and the other kids tried to mimic him -- but failed. Then my two cousins made farting noises with their hands and armpits. Young Daniel Radcliffe thought this was the coolest things ever, and tried it himself, but couldn't quite master the art. He's a fine actor, with a stunning career already to his name and who knows how many more exciting films ahead of him, but in my eyes he'll always be a spirited, wide-eyed, good-hearted kid almost flapping his way unconcsious in pursuit of a decent farting noise!!!!

     

    I kept in touch with a few of the kids over the years -- I'm still in touch with Matt, so my favourite parts of the final movie were when he got to shine -- but then they grew up and moved on to other interests, as most of my fans eventually do. That's the sad thing about being a children's author -- even if you continue to be successful over a long period of time, it's usually with a different audience every couple of years or so, as your original fans grow older and leave you behind on their path to adulthood. I'm hoping to see them again a bit further down the line if they have kids of their own who turn into Shansters when they come of age!! But even though the young actors might no longer be part of my world, the films they starred in are, as are the happy memories of my trips to the set (which inspired my ideas for "Slawter"), and the time I went to the premiere of one of the movies, and the fan letter Dan wrote to me, and the way a very young Emma Watson stared disapprovingly at a shirt I was wearing (she knew more about fashion at that stage than I know even 10 years on!!), and Bas making a cheeky comment to Robbie Coltrane's stand-in, and going to a DVD launch party on the set, and...

     

    Oh, I'm going to stop there before I end up blabbing. In short, the films meant a lot to me, like the books but for different reasons, so even though the last couple weren't quite as lean and mean as I wished, I still enjoyed them and I was sorry to see the credits roll for the final time. Harry Potter really was something special, both on the page and on the screen, and the world is a slightly less magical place without any new installments to look forward to.

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