likening harry potter to the lord of the rings

The final installment of the Harry Potter films comes out today. Normally I would've spent this entire week feeling anxious and excited and dying for Friday to finally come. But I haven't. Let me diverge a bit and attempt to explain why (and to reveal what a dork I really am):

When The Lord of the Rings came out in 2001, I fell absolutely and completely in love. Other than reading The Hobbit, I knew nothing about the book series and thus nothing about the film other than the fact that I'd previously harbored a crush on Elijah Wood. I clearly remember what I felt the first time I saw it. I even remember what I was wearing: blue jeans, a white cable-knit sweater and my brown hair swept up in a hair clamp. I remember feeling myself falling wholly into the story and its characters. I remember grasping how serious and how real it was to me. Even during the comic relief parts of the film (specifically with Merry and Pippin), the audience would laugh and I specifically remember thinking, "No. Don't laugh! This is serious." After the movie was over, I remember my sister and I going home and telling my mom all about the movie. We couldn't shut up about it. (I must also confess that part of me was unreasonably mad at her for a long time for loving it as much as I did. I didn't think that anyone could love it as much as me. I felt that it was mine.)

It grasped me from the beginning and I couldn't, I wouldn't, let go.

When it was released on video, I bought it and literally watched it every single day for about a week. I even watched it twice in one day. When the special edition was released, I watched that. I read everything about the movies, about the characters, about the actors. I read the first book. I got the soundtrack for my birthday and would spend hours listening to it, falling into it.

I feel I have to at least try my best to explain why I, quite frankly, became obsessed with it. The only way I can really think to explain it is what I keep repeating: that I fell into it. I fell into it so much that my heart ached and my heart soared (the soundtrack was a big part of that) and it completely enraptured me. Enchanted me. Transported me. Mostly, it made me sorrowful. Sorrowful to know that such a perfectly filmed, beautiful story wasn't real. That it was only a figment of someone's imagination. That it could never truly be mine, that I couldn't fall into it any further. Like immersing yourself in a pool of water, but you can only get as far as the bottom, you can't go any further. It probably sounds crazy that I loved something so much because it made me sad. But I think we feel sadder things more deeply.

When the second installment came out, I saw it in theaters four times! I bought the DVD, the special edition DVD, the soundtrack. I watched and listened and continued to be obsessed, in love, etc. When the third film was set to come out, I would cry just watching the trailers and knowing that it was all so close to ending. The movies took up two years of my life and I didn't want it to end, I almost couldn't face it. I received my driver's license the same day the movie premiered and I was more excited about seeing the movie than being a teenager reaching that important milestone equivalent to freedom. I saw it and practically cried the whole time. As anyone who's seen it knows, nothing sad happened in the end. No one died. Good conquered evil. But it was the fact that it ended. I literally sat in my theater seat and bawled heaving sobs as the credits rolled (my friend probably thought I was crazy). I vowed not to see it again, but I had to see it with my sister and then with my best friend.

I never did finish reading the books. I never bought the third film on DVD. I've only seen the entire trilogy once or twice since then. My obsession has dwindled over time and my heart doesn't ache each time I think about it. It all seems so far away and I guess part of me is afraid of watching them again and falling into them. I'd rather not be encompassed by something so much again.

But Harry Potter is an exception. I liken my deep feelings for the wizarding series to my feelings for The Lord of the Rings. Only, I haven't let myself fall into Harry Potter quite as much. Perhaps because it has spanned more than a decade, half of my life, rather than a couple years, it would be rather unhealthy to let myself become obsessed like I did before. My sister reads the entire series every single year and it's something that, as much as I would love to do, I just can't. I know who I am and who I would become if I let myself fall into it so deeply and so frequently. I need to be myself in my own world. Yet, I've definitely had my Harry Potter moments, my obsessions with it. It crept out with the release of each new book and each new film. It's exactly the same with The Lord of the Rings except that I won't fully let myself succumb to it.

Though I will no doubt cry a lot during this last film, I know I will at least be okay with it and I won't wallow for days afterwards that it's ended. Rather than getting too excited and anxious about it, I'm letting it come to me, letting it just happen.

Harry Potter, I truly can't express how much I've loved and enjoyed you. I'm not ready to say goodbye...

Source: boywonder


sami chu. said...

andrea, you're too cute! i feel i had the same obsession with romeo and juliet- mostly because of leo. my sister and cousins and i memorized that entire film (i can still recite many monologues from it!) and listened to the soundtrack endlessly and covered our wall in pictures of leo (even posing in front of claire dane's body on the poster so it looked like it was us kissing leo!) it was nuts. i hear you on all of that.

my man is a huge lord of the rings guy, but he loved the books. he even bought a book of maps of all the places in middle earth. love it!


Charlotte said...

wow. I can't believe how much we mirror each other. I was also obsessed with Lord of the Rings. I had read the Hobbit, but not the books when I saw the first movie - and I was blown away. The first movie remains my favorite, because I remember how much I completely fell in love with it. I had Hobbit Day parties, where we would watch the movies. My friends and I made Powerpoint slideshows dedicated to our favorite characters. We wrote fan fictions (that included ourselves, of course). We followed our favorite actors' other excursions. We watched all the behind the scenes, and the movies, over and over. Oh yeah, and I read the books too. It finally ended after the RotK extended edition came out - I had a movie marathon, where I watched all the extended editions in a row... yep, it takes about 12 hours. That was in 2005, I believe. Since then, I've only watched the movies each twice. I think I just grew up, went to college, it was time to move on. But I recently watched the movies, and it brought it all back. I was surprised how much of it I still had memorized.

Now, Harry Potter. Oh Harry. I didn't feel, and will never feel the same amount of deep love for the movies - because they're flawed. LotR, in my opinion, is the perfect book-to-movie. They include EVERYTHING. Harry leaves things out, changes things. I was so bothered by his blue eyes, as a 14 year old freshmen, that I boycotted the movies. I greatly enjoy the Harry Potter universe, but I don't deeply love it in the same way.

Charlotte said...

Also, here is a slideshow you might enjoy: http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/features/2001/10/harry-potter-slide-show-200110#slide=1

katie said...

first, i have to attest to everything charlotte said. i was there -- she *was* LOTR obsessed. =) to be fair, so was i...my brother and i memorized the elvish alphabet and wrote each other secret notes with it. geeking out much? =)

i have loved loved LOVED HP in a very different way than LOTR, though. i discovered the book (singular, at that point) about six months before they became famous. as the books came out, i was always within a year of the main characters' ages. i came of age with them. i go back and reread them to not just revisit that magical world, but also to revisit my own emotions and experiences, growing into my worldview and coming into my convictions. i reread them because they're the first (and only, i think) books to ever make me cry, because they were my escape in a fairly dark and unhealthy time in my life, and because good and evil never resonate so clearly in real life.

i enjoyed the movie. hard to reconcile that it's over, though -- i think part of that is that our viewing was closed-captioned, which made the whole experience quite humorous when it shouldn't have been, but also because i grew up with these characters...and now, i will continue to grow, but they will forever be 17 (with an epilogue at 36)...

Goggled Hero said...

Nerd =]

Goggled Hero said...

I like you *nose*

hila said...

funny you should compare the two, because I actually think harry potter borrows a lot from the lord of the rings in terms of characterisation, storyline and settings. I watched the whole lord of the rings series in the cinemas and read the books, but I haven't really gotten into the harry potter series, I don't know why.

Krystal said...

gosh, I loved both of those series too, for some reason I'm not sure I finished the last LOTR book though? maybe I did, I can't honestly remember which is so weird! but harry potter - i couldn't put those babies down. I am so behind on the movies though, I think I"m up to the 2nd one!