As I said in an earlier post, this is a day for re-reading Harry Potter. And so I am. I’m closing in on the end of book four (Goblet of Fire) and am enjoying the ticklish delight of knowing there are still three books left to read. For the first three years of my involvement, the books stopped at book four and I wandered around emptily, theorising on possible outcomes on the internet.
If I was really desperate for more time in the Potter world, I’d watch one of the movies. But as time has gone on, that’s served less and less. After Cuaron dipped his hand in, and again after the execrable casting of Michael “I haven’t a clue” Gambon as Dumbledore, the movies took a turn. They are now their own brand of dark and intense.
Don’t get me wrong–I don’t hate the movies. I just don’t consider them to be a true part of the Harry Potter books I love. In my mind the books are warm and colourful. Hogwarts is cheerily firelit, with vivid paintings and tapestries throughout. The Ministry of Magic is rich gold and peacock blue, dancing with cheery orange flames from the fireplaces. But in every place where the movie makers could have taken direct descriptions from the books to create a thrilling and vivid environment they opted instead for drear. Their Hogwarts (from movie 3 onward) is a cold gray stone husk in the wilds of Scotland. Their Ministry headquarters is walled in onyx tiles and murkily lit by greenish fires the colour of infected snot and sour apples.
And every time I pick up a book to read it after seeing the movie version, my mind’s eye is blinkered by the filmmakers’ visions. I have to fight to see the Hogwarts of the books. I don’t like that.