Friday, March 14, 2008

"Deathly Hallows" to be split into two movies

Preface 1: I know some of my readers hate it when I talk about Harry Potter, either (A) at all, or (B) without damning it and everyone who reads it to, if not Hell, at least Heck.

But — oh well! Sorry. It's my blog. Can't please everyone, shouldn't really try. And it does say, right there, "Eclectic."

Preface 2: this post should be without significant spoilers. The article to which I link is not, however. And the comments may not be. Commenters, please mark spoilery comments with SPOILERS AHEAD.

Having said all that:

It's being reported that the seventh and final Harry Potter book (Deathly Hallows) will be filmed as two movies. Now, that's the Lost Angeles Times, so you might want to verify with a credible news agency.

I'm glad of the decision. I wish book 5 (Order of the Phoenix) had been done as two movies, or one 3.5 hour movie. I'm afraid for what they'll do to books 6 and 7. In my comments on movie 5, I agreed with Janet Batchler's on-target observation that it was like a really terrific trailer for the book. The fact that they have cut the Gaunts out of HBP worries me, as does the way cast and crew keep saying how funny the sixth movie is. Yikes, I never would have called the book funny. That worries me.

But here's been one of my biggest worries about the adaptation of the seventh book, Deathly Hallows: Molly Weasley.

Molly is one of my favorite Tier 2 characters. So is Minerva McGonagall. Hermione and Hagrid are probably my favorite Tier 1 characters. Both of the H's have done... okay, in the movies. But both M's have really gotten short shrift, which is a real shame.

Molly's big scene in book 7 is one of my favorites in the entire series: very moving. If you've read it, you'll know exactly what I mean. I think that, if they do it right, we'll see staid, jaded, above-it-all audiences on their feet cheering, laughing with delight, wiping tears.

But given how the screenwriters have shoved Molly 0ff to the side thus far, I've feared they'd just gloss over it or (worse) cut it out entirely. With two movies, I hope not.

Your thoughts?

(PS — if your thoughts are, "I haven't read them, and I think they're dumb"... I think that's been said. Spare us comments like that.)


Matt Brown said...

You'll get no negative comments from me about this, Dan. I'm a Rowling fan. My big disapointment with her, natch, is the "revelation" of Dumbledore's sexual preferences.

I think Rowling would ensure that Molly gets her big scene in the film. I mean, how could Molly not? She's been so annoying at times, trying to keep The Trio from knowing what's going on and wanting them to be split up. I practically cheered when I read it in the book (and, yes, I know she uses a certain blushworthy word), because it was such a motherly, protective act.

DJP said...

But as you know, there was a lot of Molly in book 5, and virtually ALL of it was cut out for the movie. That worries me. And McGonagall was not only reduced badly, but made to cower before Umbridge, which — McGonagall? I don't think so.

Yep, the DD "revelation" was stupid at best. I caught some heat at LaShawn's fantasy page for saying so, but it was beyond lame. Glad it's nowhere in the books. (John Mark Reynolds makes an interesting case that, for all intents and purposes, DD isn't "gay," no matter what Rowling says now.)

And I'm with you on Molly's scene. On the first read-through, my wife was the one reading that part. She's that kind of mother, and the emotion with which she read was part of what so moved me. I'd hate to be the one with evil intent, between my wife and one of our kids... if there was anything she could do about it.

Kim from Hiraeth said...


I'm delighted with this decision. And I agree. There are no subplots in Deathly Hallows.

I'm listening through the series right now (most of the way through HP5) just so I can get to HP7, my favorite of the series, by far.

(Do discover that people have unsubscribed your blog every time you write about HP? I have.)

Unknown said...

I'm thrilled about the possibility of a 2 movie adaptation! I've been thinking ahead about what the last book would be like condensed into a 2+ hour movie. I would also agree wholeheartedly with your Tier 2 pics, but I would also add Lupin. I thought his character genuine and sincere, and his tranquile character when he's not furry is a great contrast to when he is. I would also like to add Dobby to that list. He was sadly left out of many main scenes, or completely out of the movie entirely...okay, I had better stop, or I'll just keep listing characters I love. Buenas noticias!!! I'll probably be home for November - for the US release of the next HP movie!!! WOOHOO!! How about an IMAX date with Josiah and Madison? (hopefully it will be out in IMAX by then...we shall see) - maybe just in the "regular" theater. What say you?! By the way - just had a HP movie night last weekend - watched them all :-) Granted - it's on a lap top - but what can you do when your TV screen is smaller than your laptop screen? Ah well.

Staci Eastin said...

I read that yesterday, and I think it's a good move. I don't think anyone who hadn't read the books could have even followed the story.

I liked Molly's big scene in book 7, but I think my favorite scene (favorite in the sense that I found it moving) with her was the boggart scene in Order of the Phoenix. Mrs. Weasley and I share the same boggart.

DJP said...

Ah yes indeed, that was moving. I can see how the story could be developed apart from that, but not her character.

Staci Eastin said...

That wasn't very clear. What I meant to say was, I don't think that anyone who hadn't read The Order of the Phoenix could have followed the movie.

Dana~Are We There Yet? said...

Honest question here.

We have not permitted our children to read HP, mostly because neither of us has read, nor has the time to read, the books. Our older kids are interested. I'll admit the very little bit I've seen (a few reviews) gives me some pause due to the witchcraft component.

I understand from the post and comments that thoughtful, grounded Christians find little objectionable material in the books. Would you recommend them for children ages 11 to 16? I am considering reading the books aloud as a family, with their dad or myself there to guide discussions, etc., but I'm still anxious about it.

I'll allow that I'm possibly making a mountain out of a molehill here. It's what I do.

DJP said...

Hm, thought I'd written on this, can't find it.

It's a good question, Clemntine, and Christians do disagree for good and solid reasons. They also disagree for some really stupid reasons.

Like you, my wife and I were hesitant. So we read the books. Pretty juvenile, and from the start we laughed at Ms. Rowling's stylistic foibles. But by the fourth book we were pretty hooked; and then the fifth, sixth and especially seventh were really good storytelling. Imperfect, but good.

In fact (don't tell anyone) but we both took time off from work when 7 came out, stood in line, grabbed it, and read it through together. And had a wonderful time.

Here's why I myself don't condemn them.

1. The magic she's talking about isn't the magic the Bible's talking about

2. NOBODY CAN BECOME A WITCH OR A WIZARD in her world. You're either born it, or you'll never be it. It's like two races. She's very emphatic about that. So it could never provoke a search for magical powers.

3. You can learn to do magic from the HP books like you can learn to do surgery from Dr. Seuss.

4. There actually is ultimately a strong Christian subtheme.

Now, to your questions, depends on the kids. After finishing all seven, I let my then-11yo read book one to me when we were on a long car trip. They've seen the movies, with a bit of censoring.

And definitely the books get darker as they progress. It is as if she wrote the books for one child, who was older each time a book came out. So again, not meaning to cop out, but it's really all back on your judgment.

Hope that's of some help.

Dana~Are We There Yet? said...

That's actually the most help I've had on the subject. Thank you for taking my question seriously. I'll discuss it with my wise, godly husband and perhaps surprise the girls with some new family reading material in the near future.

I wondered if you'd covered these issues previously, so I did a cursory search of the archives and didn't see anything, then I posed the question. Thank you again for your opinion.

DJP said...

Glad to help. Here's some more:

LaShawn Barber's "conversion" to an HP fan.

Mark D. Roberts commenting on HP from a Christian perspective.

Neil said...

I thought that movie 5 savaged book 5. They telescoped the snape/hp episodes way too much, and the final battles bore no resemblance to the book and actually changed the meaning of what was happening.

So when I read 7 I thought no way could they make a single coherent movie from it without cutting it worse than 5, so the splitting is good news.

CR said...


I'll be the "devil's advocate" and give the other side and at the end give my own brief position. Somethings to consider as a parent.

(1)God's forbids any association with the occult and witchcraft. Then others will say that Rowling is not tryingt to teach that witchcraft is real, so what's the harm...?

(2)Harry Potter presents witchcraft in a positive light. By presenting witchcraft in a positive light breaking down the stereotypes and replacing them with stuff like it's harmless and can be put to good use, children can be drawn in and unaware of the occult beliefs and practices.

(3)The magical fantasy world can wet children's appetite for more. Rowling has incorporated into her novels actual terms, beliefs and practices associated with witchcraft including divination, astrology, pagan gods and goddesses, casting spells, magic potions, talking to the dead using magical powers and decoding numbers to tell the future.

(4)Children can be preoccupied with this magic and fantasy of HP and as we know, the occult points people away from God.

(5)The power of imagination is strong. Fantasies that we live out in our mind affect us and even though it's a story and we may not do the same things, a parent needs to be concerned about kinds of wishes and desires does it stir in their children's minds. And as adults even though we know HP is a fantasy world and we can tell the difference between what's true and not, can children?

So, that is the other side of the argument.

As for my own position, I'm not married and I have no children so I don't really have a position per se. I have watched the HP movies - they're okay. I don't waste my time in reading fiction. I only read non-fiction. I go and watch fiction movies. But again, I don't have children to be responsible over. As a parent, it's your duty to guard your children (among many other things) against the occult practices. And if there is any doubt in your mind and conscience whether taking your children to watch HP and reading HP as a family (personally, I can think of a lot more things a family can be doing than wasting their time reading HP, but that's me), then the operating principle is that you cannot violate your conscience. Also, as a parent, you have the responsibility of forming your children's biblically informed conscience. You have quite an awesome task.

Kim said...

Dan, you and my darling hubby now have something over which you can experience some male bonding :-)

David A. Carlson said...

all the movies have been, unsatisfying when compared to the books. Not bad, just second best to the books (in print, or on tape, which is how I first got to know them).

As such, I don't really care that much if it is one or two movies - unlike the Tolkien Trilogy, the directors have shown no ability to actually make a really good movie out the books, so I expect more of the same.

which will make them so much better than the recent batch of star war movies, but that is a different post.

dan w said...

Hi Dan,

The HP books are great fun I especially enjoyed 6 and 7. I did feel that HP5 the movie was far too rushed and I would have liked to have seen the MOM scenes as they were written. As to last film being split into 2, does that mean we will have to wait a year for part 2? I hope not. I think they should give HBP and HP7 the LOTR treatment, what I mean is, Keep the shortish film for the cinema,and keep the extended bit for the DVD.

S.D. Smith said...

Hey Dan,

Great blog, love it. Don't stop talking about books/movies/politics! It's good stuff.

I thought you might enjoy Andrew Peterson's new novel "On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness." It is excellent in the fantasy dept (and funny). He's a Christian, but the story is not sullied by much that makes much of Christian fiction unreadable. I think you'd like it, and you kids. I reviewed it at my blog, here:


DJP said...

Thanks, I'll check into it. We were very disappointed with the last Chr fantasy we checked out (Beyond Summerland -- yawwwwn).

DJP said...

The link to John Mark Reynolds has died since that comment; here is an updated link (thanks ThreeGirlDad).