…in which we dream about future remakes of the Harry Potter movies, because the current versions tend to be bland, saccharine and/or overstuffed with cheesy dialogue (“Don’t worry, I will be.” Anyone who recognizes that line—we feel your pain).
Jen: Ever since the first HP movie came out, my interest in the films has never come close to my enthusiasm for the books. Perhaps it was the slavish, aesthetically gorgeous but post-Dementer’s Kiss style adaptations, the pompous storytelling atmosphere, or my Snape-level loathing for the titular character, but the movies weren’t my cup of tea. Movies offer audiences a vastly different type of storytelling than the third-person, for the most part in Harry’s head narrator that JK Rowling used for the series. I had hoped the directors would have taken advantage of this difference. Instead, we stalk Harry non-stop on screen. This might be my Snape-level loathing for Mr. Potter talking, but these things get remade every so often (Jane Eyre probably holds the record), so here’s hoping to the future:
A Harry Potter-esque TV series. It would be nice to experience Hogwarts and the events of books 1-7 through the eyes of different students. Of course, the TV show should allude to what Harry and Co are up to, as well as the important moments of the books, but Hogwarts is a big place and it would be fun to get varied perspectives: the staffroom conversations (more McGonagall vs Snape, Lockheart, Trelawney, Umbrage dialogue!), interactions between students from different Houses, what it’s like to have parents with various political alignments, etc. Besides, I read HP not because I’m interested in Harry, but because I like the world Rowling’s created. And that’s what I’d like more of.
In that vein, I’m really curious what happened at Hogwarts while Harry was hunting Horcruxes and Snape was Headmaster. I’d like to see how the teachers and students cope with their turncoat colleague/professor, as well as the inter-house dynamics now that Voldemort’s live and kicking. Oh, and Dean Thomas! What was he doing with the goblins?
There are lots of stories left to tell. Voldemort’s first rise to power could flesh out a lot of Rowling’s memorable but mysterious secondary characters from both camps. Another option is Voldie’s Hogwarts years; the under-aged Dark Lord probably had a host of ministry officials and Hogwarts professors as classmates. Heck, even the Founders would be interesting, especially when set in the Middle Ages. And TV affords installment story-telling, so there enough time to linger on quiet, substantial moments as well as push the season arc of Epic Proportions along.
Lisa: I like Harry just fine as a main character, but I completely agree that these films have squandered the opportunity to escape Harry’s headspace. Why didn’t they show more of Dumbledore’s Army during the 7th films? Surely, if anything can remind us of the creepiness of Voldemort’s world order, then it’s Hogwarts under Carrows/Snape. Other missing scenes from the book that would work well on screen:
- turmoil between books 4 and 5—Percy’s fight with his family, Dumbledore gathering the Order of the Phoenix, housecleaning at 12 Grimmauld Place
- Hagrid and Madame Maxime attempting to recruit giants. That alone is worth a few TV episodes, and might be a vast improvement on the corresponding exposition-heavy book chapter
- whatever Dumbledore’s doing after he’s “expelled” from Hogwarts in book 5, because I assume he’s up to more than getting drunk at the Hog’s Head or wandering around Muggle London buying lemon drops
And then there’s the plethora of scenes that never made it onto the screen, such as Neville and his gran at St. Mungo’s, Dudley exploring his “feelings” during Deathly Hallows, McGonagall’s wonderful treatment of Umbridge during the High Inquisitor classroom inspections, and “it unscrews the other way”—or anything with McGonagall, really. In any case, movies get remade all the time, so in 20 or 30 years, let’s hope they take the opportunity to improve on the current crop.