Tag: harry potter (Page 4 of 7)

Ron (Paul Thornley), Hermione (Noma Dumezweni) and Rose Granger-Weasley (Cherrelle Skeete) from the new play Harry Potter And The Cursed Child.

What If You Can’t See the Harry Potter Play?

Thoughts from someone who simply can’t get to London to see the new Harry Potter play.

I think even the most hardcore Harry Potter fans were surprised when J.K. Rowling announced that she was collaborating on a Harry Potter play with John Tiffany and Jack Thorne. I’ve since found out that they are well-known in the London theater community, but didn’t initially have any idea who they were and still don’t have a sense of their style. I think only the most well-heeled among us will be able to fly to England to fully experience the Harry Potter play. So what does this mean for the rest of us and our Harry Potter and Cursed Child experience?

Even people who don’t like Harry Potter would have issues, arguing that it wasn’t the biggest cultural milestone of the last fifty years.

Harry Potter went from complete non-existence to zeitgeist saturation in less than ten years. From the moment the first book came out in 1997, the word of mouth began to grow. And seemingly in the blink of an eye, there were movies, songs, and an unimaginable plethora of Harry Potter-themed goods available at your local toy store. Grade school kids were sleeping out to be the first to get a book so that they could read it! Can you even imagine? Voluntary marathon reading sessions for huge amounts of young people? And then adults started reading them too!

I think the first time I heard about it was a CNN report on a handful of crackpot tweens dressed in robes sleeping out in New York for the second book. They were all holding sticks. I figured it was the same group talking about Britney Spears and pogs, people who jumped on fads without any barometer of quality. Obviously, I couldn’t have been more wrong. I think I started reading Harry Potter at the behest of my then girlfriend, now wife, the beautiful Kelly, who had been listening to the books on tape on her commute. I was lucky enough to binge the first four and then I had to play the waiting game with everyone else. I didn’t really like the first movie, but I was also kind of obsessed with it, which was a weird feeling. Isn’t Harry Potter just for kids?

 

 

One of the most intriguing parts of the Harry Potter phenomenon, for me, is that it always defied simple categorization.

Difficult as it is to imagine now, the books started off as “children’s books.” As I recall, the New York Times best seller list actually changed their criteria away from children’s books so that the Harry Potter books wouldn’t dominate the top ten. And regardless of your opinion on the age range for the book, they have touched the lives of many adult readers. As one of those adults myself, I would argue that the books are timeless and ageless.

But to take it a step farther, the Harry Potter character had always stepped off of the page into other media. Obviously, film. I know some people who loved the movies but never cracked a book. And now there is a new Harry Potter film that doesn’t have a corresponding book (at least one with a story), Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I’m looking forward to the movie, but it doesn’t feel like legitimate Harry Potter yet. I’ll have to see it first. But that’s also a decision that everyone has to make on their own, although I imagine for many the fact the J.K. Rowling wrote the screenplay might give it some heft. I also bet there will be some familiar characters in it, probably younger Dumbledore and I would be very happy to see Grindelwald.

But Harry Potter didn’t just move into movies. There are also people who would call the Jim Dale recordings the definitive Harry Potter experience. Not my sister! She never liked Jim Dale’s Hermione voice and when we discovered that there were separate British recordings by Stephen Fry, we had to have them! Stephen Fry is more of a reader and less of a voice chameleon than the amazing Jim Dale, so my sister gave them her stamp of approval.

But Harry Potter is also an experience.

There’s the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando where the original cast filmed new material for the tour and rides. There are video games with the cast’s voices that delve deeper into the history of Hogwarts. The Media Medusa herself has actually gone to Scotland to some of the different places where the movies were filmed or, perhaps more astounding, the places J.K. Rowling was thinking of when she set pen to paper. Hell, sometimes J.K. Rowling will just say something that completely changes the franchise— Dumbledore is gay, Harry should have ended up with Hermione— and it’s difficult not to incorporate that into our thoughts about the books, movies, and everything else.

 

 

And now Harry Potter is going to be a play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

Of course, I’ve been arguing this whole article that Harry does not belong to one medium, but I was certainly surprised that Harry Potter was going to be confined to a stage play in London that few will be able to access. I immediately guessed that the rest of the world would get something of the play and we are. The script book will be released on Harry’s birthday, July 31st. So what are we to do with this Harry Potter play? I think it’s not too controversial to say that people who get to actually see the Harry Potter play are seeing the definitive edition of Cursed Child. What can the rest of us do?

My pie in the sky idea? I think that the books should come with a link to an MP3 of a cast table read to get us closer to the intended experience. Or perhaps we could get a table read with Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, and the whole gang? I would buy that! Anyway, I don’t see an audiobook available on Amazon yet. But I imagine we’ll get a Jim Dale audiobook for this before we know it. So I’d like to be able to hear that first, but since I didn’t know when it’s coming out, I guess I’ll just have to read the book.

Why not wait, you say? See the Harry Potter play or at least get the audio book? Because in no time at all, the plot of this story will not be a spoiler anymore. There will be headlines on magazines and web sites about controversies in the play. I’m making stuff up, so no spoilers here, just examples: “Should they have killed Ron?” “Why did Harry befriend Malfoy’s son?” “Will Hermione make a good minister of magic?” Although I can’t speak for anyone’s most genuine Harry Potter experience, I think we can all agree that the worst way to experience any work is through a series of spoiler headlines. So I’m going to read this book, probably on July 31st. I just wish I had other options. Reading a play is not optimal. Not to play the Shakespeare card, but seeing Hamlet is a lot better than reading Hamlet. Not for nothing was Hamlet originally written as a play, meaning it was something to be performed, not read dryly in your smoking jacket while lounging on the divan.

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Hey, isn’t it a two-night play? That makes it even crazier! I saw a four and a half hour production of Peer Gynt once and it was only one night! How long is this?

I actually have a friend who won’t read Harry Potter because the books are too ubiquitous, too popular.

He’s a great guy, but in this case, a fool. But I know what he’s saying. Things that are too popular are so often artificially manufactured by corporate focus groups. I’ve actually heard good things about the movie, but I feel like he equates Harry Potter with the Angry Birds movie, a corporate cash grab on a popular property with name recognition. But to me, Harry Potter isn’t like that. It’s more like Emily Dickinson storing her poetry under her bed, never imagining how famous it would one day be. J.K. Rowling , who had no standing in the publishing community, conceived of Harry Potter. It was a pure idea that she nurtured and developed on her own in a vacuum, letting very few people in on her idea. As an unpublished writer, I know how hard it is to knock on those publishing doors. But she did it and quality shown through and, eventually, reached a massive audience. If anyone deserves to be rich, it’s J.K. Rowling. And she has continued to grow as an artist, trying different books and now — what the hell? — collaborating on a play.

I wish I was in a position to follow her on the artistic path to the London stage. I have no doubt that this Harry Potter play will be touring the world in a few years, but by then, then major plot points will probably be public knowledge. Better to read it now than have it spoiled by well-meaning discussion points a year from now.

And I managed to not go all fan-boy in this, but I couldn’t be happier that there is going to be more Harry Potter in the world. Sure, the story of Harry and Voldemort is over, but the Harry Potter universe is rich with an unplumbed wealth of opportunities for more stories. I can’t wait to see where Harry Potter and the Cursed Child takes me. Also, I couldn’t be happier that the world of Harry Potter is still on JK’s mind. I’m hoping that this will lead to more novels, which is my favorite Harry Potter. But I also suspect we’ll get a Cursed Child movie in a few years. And JK is, above all else, a novelist, so who knows who much of Cursed Child she broke down with prose? Have you read the Harry Potter books? They’re quite good.

Visit the official Harry Potter play website.

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What if you can't see the Harry Potter play?

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Harry Potter and the Crouch Family Tragedy

Reading the Harry Potter series of books to my children at bedtime has been an immense joy for me. My son was a tiny infant when Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was released. Just like Harry arrived on the doorstep of the Dursleys, my copy arrived on my doorstep on an early, misty morning, thanks to Amazon and UPS.

My daughter was just over a year old when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released. Lucky for me, I have a generous husband who scooted me out the door early that morning, to purchase my copy at Barnes & Noble (although I had ordered it, I simply couldn’t wait for it to arrive). I waltzed into the sleepy store, bought it, and drove to the nearest park, where I sat in my car to read.

I laughed. I cried. A lot. And in between, I phoned my cousins to compare notes while they, too, read their copies. I didn’t sleep until well after 3 a.m. that night, because I simply had to finish the book.

See also: Harry Potter, Dumbledore and the Resurrection Stone

My children will never have the same experience that I had reading the Harry Potter books. They will not have years between book releases to debate theories about Snape, or to wonder what the heck “deathly hallows” meant after the title was revealed. What they will have, I hope, is a golden memory of their mother reading the books to them, trying her darnedest to drop her consonants and do Hagrid justice.

So, one night while I was reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (not one of my favorites) to my daughter, it dawned on me how terribly tragic the Crouch family was, beyond the obvious, I mean. And how especially tragic the death of Mrs. Crouch was.

(If you are one of only a handful of people who has no knowledge of Harry Potter, and would like to discover the wizarding world on your own, don’t bother to continue reading. There will be spoilers, of course.)

If you’ll recall, Bartemius Crouch, Sr. was a member of the Ministry of Magic. I’m guessing, based on the memories that Harry witnessed that took place in the court of the Wizengamot, that old Barty was the head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. One horrible day, four Death Eaters were brought before him,  including his own son. Mrs. Crouch, described as “wispy,” sobbed and rocked while her son, Barty Crouch, Jr., begged his father not to send him back to Azkaban, the wizarding prison. Barty Crouch, Jr. swore he had nothing to do with torturing the Longbottoms. But his denials, and his mother’s sobs, were ignored by Barty Crouch, Sr. The four Death Eaters were sentenced to Azkaban, and led away by the Dementors.

 

Mrs. Crouch was unable to bear her son’s imprisonment. And, she realized that she was ill, possibly dying. So the Crouches devised a plan in which they would visit young Barty in Azkaban, and then she and her son would drink Polyjuice Potion to take on each other’s appearance, and switch places. Mrs. Crouch stayed behind in her son’s cell; the Dementors did not recognize her because they don’t have eyes; they only “look” for souls. Young Barty, disguised as his mother, went home with his father. Later, Mr. Crouch held a small funeral for his wife, in order to keep up appearances.

However, Barty, Jr. turned out to be guilty and far more evil than Barty, Sr. had realized. He tried to keep his son imprisoned in their home by using the Imperius curse. One day, the Dark Lord appeared on his doorstep and put the Imperius curse on old Barty. Young Barty went away with his master, and became the linchpin in Voldemort’s plan to kill Harry Potter.

Barty, Jr., disguised as Mad-Eye Moody, was placed at Hogwarts. Barty, Sr., however, realized what was happening. He fought the Imperius curse and managed to make his way to Hogwarts to warn Harry. Sadly, his own son silenced him for good and left his body in the Forbidden Forest to rot under Harry’s Invisibility Cloak.

At the end of the Triwizard Tournament, Barty Crouch, Jr.’s true identity was revealed, and he received the Dementor’s Kiss as punishment.

So much tragedy in one family! It was tragic that Mr. Crouch felt nothing for his son. It was tragic that he tried to rescue his son, only to die at his hands. But most of all — and this is the tragedy that finally occurred to me — it was tragic that Mrs. Crouch sacrificed herself, believing her son to be innocent, for nothing. Because she traded places with her son, knowing full well she would die in prison, Barty Crouch, Jr. was freed to continue cursing and killing more people. Her sacrifice was wasted.

Read about Harry Potter and the Crouch Family Tragedy

Find a cosplay store online

The Cosplay Store Online That Will Surprise You

Whether you’re into cosplay or planning a one-time costume for Halloween, a cosplay store online will have all the costume pieces and props to help your character come to life.

See also: Custom Geek Gear for All Ages at Tomboy Togs

Amazon

Sexy Harley Quinn

Amazon is my favorite online store for, well, everything. Whether I need paper clips, cereal, iPhone accessories or a (gasp!) book, Amazon is always my first choice. Their website is adept at making relevant suggestions while I’m shopping. Their prices usually beat everyone. And even their app is very easy to use.

It may surprise you to find out what a great cosplay store online Amazon is.  The costume selection is wide-ranging, from TV and movie characters (Maleficent is pictured) to classic witches and devils. They offer costumes for every age and size, at very reasonable prices. As always, the suggested items are helpful, especially when you can see what other folks have bought to complete their costumes. All this help makes cosplay very easy.

 

HerUniverse.com

Doctor Who everyday cosplay

HerUniverse.com is a new online store with all kinds of cosplay-type apparel and costumes for women. You can find sci fi and fantasy garb that’s actually flattering. (Flattering fangirl apparel is difficult to find. Those traditional, boxy t-shirts are really meant for men, with no seams to allow for curves.) The website is user-friendly, with plenty of white space to keep things clear and big pictures to show you the apparel. HerUniverse.com is the vision of Ashley Eckstein (pictured in a Star Trek tunic), actress and voice of Ahsoka Tano in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and The Araca Group, a leading theatrical and brand management company. I’m sure after attending plenty of cons to promote The Clone Wars, Ashley figured out there was a market for good-looking costumes and props for cosplay, and fangirls everywhere.

DressLily.com

Cosplay Wig

One day while I was scrolling through my newsfeed on Facebook, I spotted a tiny little DressLily.com ad. The ad caught my eye because it featured girls in these fantastic wigs. See, I’ve been thinking about doing the mermaid hair thing. These wigs look just like what I want my hair to look like. So, I might end up buying a wig from this cosplay store online (which also has cool regular clothes) and save myself the hassle. Check out what they have to offer for everyday cosplay, as well as these gorgeous wigs for men and women.

SuperHeroStuff.com

Wonder Woman Boots

This website’s slogan is “where heroes shop.” They should amend that to include villains, too. You can find pretty much any cape, vest, jacket, sword, gun or shield you need to complete your cosplay costume. I love the new character hoodies. Just zip up and you’re transformed into Wolverine (complete with claws) or Loki (pictured, complete with horns), or several other characters. SuperHeroStuff.com can be confusing because the website has a lot of menus, big fonts and bright colors. Use the search box for the most efficient way of finding your costume piece. Also, they frequently send coupons to their newsletter subscribers, so sign up for discounts

Entertaiment Earth

Daredevil cowl

Entertainment Earth has been around since close to the dawn of the Internet. The company has fantastic customer service. You can find merch on their website either by the type of product, a general theme, a genre, a specific character or a specific franchise. Entertainment Earth is another cosplay store online that might surprise you. Their costume selection isn’t as broad as some of the other websites, but they have a nice selection of props or cosplay pieces, including the Groot mask pictured here.

WBShop.com

Hogwarts Robe

It may seem strange to include a studio-specific website on this list, but how could I leave it off when Warner Bros. owns some of the best franchises out there? Particularly, I visit their Harry Potter section. I love all things Harry Potter, and around Halloween, WBShop.com has deals on robes, wands, hats and other props, like the Spectrespecs that Luna wears (pictured). Merch from other franchises is for sale, including pretty much every DC property ( like Arrow), Lord of the RingsLooney Tunes and plenty of other great props and apparel from movies and TV, perfect for cosplay.

Other Sites

If you’re looking for something homemade or more specific than these websites offer, ebay and Etsy are the places to look. I’m not crafty, so Etsy is usually where I shop when I want something unique and cool. Etsy is somewhat easier on the eyes than ebay, but the latter website certainly has a reputation for offering a huge marketplace.

These online cosplay stores have everything you need for everyday cosplay or contest-worthy costumes.


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