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Jen Miller

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II: A Conversation

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part 2)This past weekend, several of us here at Fantasy Matters got together and went to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II.  We sat in the second row from the front (not recommended) next to this hilarious little kid who chuckled when Voldemort died.  Afterwards, we sat down and talked about the movie, the book, and the Harry Potter series in general.  Here are some of our thoughts...

We started off our conversation with Neville Longbottom:

[note: this conversation contains spoilers]

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The American Tolkien

A Dance With DragonsIn his review of George R. R. Martin's A Dance With Dragons for Time magazine, Lev Grossman repeats the claim that he made in 2005: that Martin is "the American Tolkien."  Grossman writes that Martin "has produced — is producing, since the series isn't over — the great fantasy epic of our era.  It's an epic for a more profane, more jaded, more ambivalent age than the one Tolkien lived in."  Unlike Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings epic where good and evil are clearly delineated, Grossman argues, in Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire saga "it's impossible to know whom to root for."

In many regards, Grossman is right.  The moral and political complexities of Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series set it apart from the much simpler world of Middle-earth where Elves are good, orcs are evil, and you know that you're rooting for the hobbits to make it to Mount Doom.  And if Grossman's claim had been that Martin is a Tolkien for our age--an age of constantly shifting alliances, moral questions where absolute right and wrong answers are elusive, and a sense that you never know where you belong--well, then I would have agreed with him.

But instead, Grossman claimed that Martin is "the American Tolkien."  And with that, I disagree.

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Our Fantastic Week Ahead: July 18

After we published our "fantastic fun" last Friday, we found two more links that we really wish we had included in our Harry Potter-themed list:

  • Amazingly wonderful-looking drinks inspired by many of the Harry Potter characters.  I'm particularly impressed by the reasoning that went into the creation of the "Severus Snape."  Also, I realize that linking to alcoholic drinks first thing on a Monday morning might not be the most appropriate thing in the world, but I figure that these descriptions are so detailed and thoughtful, that they qualify as literature in and of themselves.  Right? (The Backyard Bartender)
  • Also, an imagined conversation between J.K. Rowling and George R. R. Martin (one that probably also included a discussion of the best use of initials in an author's name). (Imgur)

This second link provides a nice transition to two reviews of Martin's latest book--A Dance With Dragons--that we found noteworthy.  The first, written by Lev Grossman, was published in Time magazine; the second, written by Dana Jennings, was published in The New York Times.  What we found interesting was how both of these reviews compared Martin to Tolkien in a very favorable way.  Grossman calls Martin "the American Tolkien," and Jennings takes it a step further, ending her review with, "Tolkien is dead. And long live George Martin."

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Fantastically Fun Fridays: July 15, 2011

I haven't had a chance to watch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part 2) yet--I'm going this weekend--and I haven't read any reviews yet either, so that my viewing of the movie will be as unspoiled as possible, but from the snippets of things that I've seen, the reception looks quite positive so far.  Have you seen it yet?  What do you think?  Let us know in the comments!

We hope that you've enjoyed our coverage of various aspects of the Harry Potter universe this week, and to finish things off, here is a "Harry Potter"-themed edition of Fantastically Fun Fridays...

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Favorite Harry Potter Moments

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part 2)With seven books in the series, and eight movies that bring those books to life on the big screen, there's a lot to like about the Harry Potter franchise.  But even though there's a lot to choose from, my guess is that most people have a favorite part--a favorite book, a favorite movie, a favorite character, a favorite Quidditch match, or maybe even just a favorite sentence.  For some, their favorite moments have more to do with the experience of reading or watching the series, rather than specific parts of the stories themselves.  Here is a collection of some of our favorite moments from the series, but we'd love to hear about yours in the comments as well!

Kat Howard: I would just like to state for the record that I had made this choice before I saw this picture. I love Neville Longbottom. His character arc is wonderful, and I love that being a hero does not come easily for him, but it does come naturally. My favorite moment is in The Sorcerer's Stone, when Neville tries to stop Harry, Ron, and Hermione from leaving the Gryffindor common room, and is so fierce and determined about it, he winds up in a full body-bind, courtesy of Hermione. As Dumbledore says, "It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends."

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