The Harry Potter Movie

July 23, 2009

I know that others have already weighed in on the new (6th) Harry Potter movie, but I thought I would throw in my $.02 and see if it generates any discussion.  

I saw the movie with my daughters (14 and 10) and a friend of my older daughter (also 14).  The kids loved it.  I didn’t like it very much.  This was actually the second time my older daughter had seen it.  She went with a big group to the Midnight premier last week — several kids her age and two adults.  The kids all loved it.  The two adults didn’t like it very much.  I wonder if this is a pattern that others have noticed.

So, what didn’t I like about it?  For one thing, like the fifth movie, I felt that the movie had no discernible plot.  I’d read the book (I’ve read all the books, and enjoyed them very much, particularly the later ones), so I knew what was happening.  But if I hadn’t known the book, I think I would have been utterly lost.  I felt like I was watching the Sportscenter highlight reel from the book.  All the big events were covered, but there was no narrative thread tying them all together.  As I say, I felt this same way about the fifth movie, but the fifth movie ends with that magical battle in the Ministry of Magic, and it was so stunningly spectacular on the screen, that I was able to forgive a lot that came before.  I didn’t feel that this 6th movie had an effective ending to offset earlier flaws.  There is that one very cool battle scene earlier in the movie. (I won’t say more so as not to give it away to those who haven’t seen the movie yet, except to say that this battle isn’t in the book, so you will be surprised.)  But I would have preferred that they skip that battle and have the final fight at Hogwarts.  It was an effective climax for the book, and would have been for the movie as well.

There were other liberties taken with the book as it was translated to the screen, and while I’m usually fine with that (the changes Peter Jackson made to LOTR never bothered me), I felt that these changes detracted from the story.  Most of the changes I refer to revolved around the development of Harry and Ginny’s relationship.  I won’t say more.

The acting was no worse than it was in earlier films.  Alan Rickman is always good and Emma Watson remains the best actor of the three leads.  Daniel Radcliffe might have been less wooden this time around; Rupert Grint didn’t have much to work with in this movie, and didn’t do very much with what he had.

If I had to rate the movie on a 1 to 5 star system, I’d give it 2 and a half.  It had enough to entertain, but was, in my opinion, pretty mediocre.

Other opinions?

Is this the Other Shoe?

July 21, 2009

For those of us waiting for the other shoe to drop in the Sarah Palin “I’m-Taking-My-Toys-And-Going-Home” saga, it might have happened today.

In a suitably ironic twist, it seems that Sarah!’s legal defense fund might not have been so legal after all.  What a shocker….

Today’s post, “My Current Project,” can be found at the Magical Words website.  Magical Words is the blog on the craft and business of writing that I share with fellow fantasy writers Faith Hunter, Misty Massey, and C. E. Murphy.  I hope you’ll visit the site and enjoy the post.

My good friend Stuart Jaffe, the author of many short stories and co-host (with his wife, Glory) of the Eclectic Review, is guest-blogging today at Magical Words.  Visit the site and check out Stuart’s post.

Two Posts Today

July 13, 2009

I have two posts up this Monday, at different sites.  The first post, “Developing Your Internal Editor,” an be found at Magical Words, the blog on the craft and business of writing that I maintain with fellow fantasy authors, Faith Hunter, Misty Massey, and C.E. Murphy.  The second, “When Did You Know…?”, can be found at, another collaborative blog that I share with a group of approximately 100 fantasy and science fiction authors.  I hope you’ll visit both sites and enjoy today’s posts.

Weekend Ephemera

July 11, 2009

First things first:  There’s a new contest up on my website and you should definitely check it out.  You don’t need to be familiar with my books to enter — all you need to do is read a story I recently posted there and tell me who should play the lead roles if it’s ever made into a movie.  Easy, right?  And if I choose your response as the winner, you’ll receive an autographed, hardcover edition of The Sorcerers’ Plague, book I of Blood of the Southlands.  So visit the site and check it out!

Remember the owl who showed up at our place a few nights ago and sat on the swing set?   Well, he came back last night, and he brought his brother.  The two of them were sitting together on the play set, looking around, making their little rasping call, waiting for Mama to bring them something to eat.  They hung around the house all night, actually, calling to each other, and fluttering from perch to perch.  They’re newly fledged and not very accomplished flyers.  One of them flew off the swing set last night without first deciding where he was going to land next.  He wheeled and turned and finally tried to grasp the trunk of a tree.  That didn’t work for long and eventually he had no choice but to drop to the ground in a most undignified manner.  He was fine and a moment later he flew back into the woods.  But he and his brother were back a short time later, ready to try it all again.  They’re very cool.

And now it’s the weekend.  Nancy is taking my older daughter and some of her friends out camping tonight.  So my younger daughter and I are having what we call a Daddy-Daughter-Day.  Not sure yet what we’re going to do.  A water park if these clouds clear and the temperature rises; otherwise a movie and sushi dinner (we’re both nuts for sushi).  Should be fun.

Hope all of you are enjoying your weekend.

Today, I present an interview with someone who has become one of my favorite writers, and one of my favorite people, in speculative fiction:  Faith Hunter.  Faith and I first met a couple of years ago at a writers’ conference.  We were both instructors at the conference, and we were introduced to each other by our agent.  It was like meeting a long-lost twin.  Not that we look alike — she’s much cuter than I am — but we just clicked in every way.  Our friendship grew quickly, and before long we had joined forces with fellow fantasy writers Misty Massey and C.E. Murphy to create the Magical Words website, a group blog dedicated to discussions of the craft and business of writing.  Between conventions, Magical Words, and an active email correspondence, we have continued to build upon our friendship and our mutual respect for each other’s creativity.

Today, July 8th, marks the release of SKINWALKER, the first volume in Faith’s Jane Yellowrock series.  I have heard Faith read from the book at a convention — if the first chapter is any indication, this book is fantastic.  I hope you’ll go out and buy a copy; mine’s already on its way.  And I also hope you’ll join me in welcoming her to my blog.

Read the rest of this entry »

Twilight Visitor

July 7, 2009

Last night, just around dusk, Nancy called us all into the family room that looks out on our backyard so we could see the young Barred Owl that sat perched on the edge of the swing set.  The bird remained there for quite a while, looking around, allowing itself to be checked out by a hummingbird that buzzed around it for several moments, and a pair of nesting Carolina Wrens that emerged from the forest to scold it loudly for coming near their home.  Occasionally the owl made a small screeching noise — kind of a rising, raspy whistle, which sounded nothing like the clear hooting call of adult Barred Owls (“Who cooks for you?!  Who cooks for you, all?!”)  Finally, it flew to the edge of the wood, where it was joined by one of its siblings.  Moments later, they retreated deeper into the forest.  A nice reminder that this was home to birds and deer and all sorts of other creatures before we built our house.  We’ll be looking for the birds again tonight.

Today’s post, “Binding Character and Narrative:  Point of View Revisited,” can be found at the Magical Words site, a blog on the craft and business of writing that I maintain with fellow fantasy writers Faith Hunter, Misty Massey, and C. E. Murphy.  I hope you’ll visit the site and enjoy today’s post.

Like so many of my LJ friends, I’m puzzled by the news out of Alaska today.  Sarah Palin’s resignation is, as political strategery goes, pretty bizarre.  And her rambling, self-aggrandizing speech justifying the move was one of the worst I’ve ever heard by a Presidential contender.  At this point I think that the GOP field has been winnowed to Newt-Man, Romney, Huckabee, and my dark-horse pick, Haley Barbour.  They should all be sending Mark Sanford thank you notes….