Harry Potter, Live in Concert!

From the SnitchSeeker press release:

The Harry Potter Film Concert Series returns to the New Jersey Performing Arts Center with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 in Concert, the second to last film in the Harry Potter series. On May 30 at 7:30 pm, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra will perform Alexandre Desplat’s incredible score live from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 while the entire film plays in high-definition on a 40-foot screen.

In 2016, CineConcerts and Warner Bros. Consumer Products announced the Harry Potter Film Concert Series, a global concert tour celebrating the Harry Potter films. Since the world premiere of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in Concert in June 2016, more than 2 million fans have enjoyed this magical experience from J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World, which is scheduled to include over 1,000 performances across more than 48 countries worldwide through 2019.

Talk about retro! Watching a film with live music being played… Has anyone seen one of these concerts? How did it differ with the usual metroplex viewing experience?

Will Leta Return in Fantastic Beasts 3?

If you had to choose the single biggest problem with Crimes of Grindelwald, the one thing that caused movie-goers to leave the theater saying “What just happened?” in frustration rather than curiosity, I think a good choice among too many options would be the Leta Lestrange story as told in the second Fantastic Beasts film. Go back and read the firstCrimes of Grindelwald: Deleted Scenespost here at HogwartsProfessor. In that post you get Kelly Loomis’ initial look at the scenes we had been shown before the movie’s release that didn’t make the final cut, i.e., the shooting script elements that were edited out of the released film. As I wrote at the time:

Leta Lestrange is the Star of the Shooting Script: Go ahead and count the scenes about Leta’s character that don’t make it into the final cut.

  • There’s the dance scene filmed in the same blue light as the Ampitheater finale (I assume where she meets Theseus or makes contact with Grindelwald’s gang, a parallel that explains Gellert’s conversation with her before she blasts his skull-hookah).
  • And the pub scene with Newt and Theseus, in which I guess Theseus asks him to be his best man and they touch on their shared love for the same woman.
  • And the Dumbledore conversation with Minerva McGonagall, in which I’m guessing they talk about Leta’s time at Hogwarts.
  • Leta and Theseus have a good talk at Hogwarts, too, but we miss out on that which empties their French Ministry exchange of context.
  • And the battle scene with the Ministry cats.
  • And her full flashback scene in the Mausoleum.

As it is, Leta’s story is truncated and her telling, “I love you” to both Newt and Theseus in the climactic battle leaves viewers saying, “Huh?” Her tale of the Corvus Lestrange death on the ship seems to come out of nowhere even with the boggart set-up — and we get hardly a clue about her supposed “wickedness” or relationship with Dumbledore or Grindelwald before she disappears in the Amphitheater flames (my guess is that she is the character to whom Rowling is referring when she says what you think you thought you saw ain’t what happened). Leta was robbed and we all suffered for her fate in the editing of the shooting script’s film.

Leta Lestrange, in brief, was robbed and every person who bought a ticket to see Crimes of Grindelwald was only given a part of the major back story of the film. If we had been given the Leta story in full, the Corvus-Credence-Aurelius mystery would be inviting rather than a senseless jumble.
Rowling told us in 2018 that “Whatever you think you know at the end of the movie might not be the case [you think].” The movie as edited was such a mash-up, it’s a toss-up about what she might have meant. Queenie the traitor? Credence a Dumbledore? Or was it that Leta Lestrange dies that is the event we think happens that didn’t really happen?

Frankly, I hope so and there are two or three encouraging signs in this regard. First, it looks like Zoe Kravitz may have been signed to film new scenes in Beasts 3: Zoe Kravitz Rumored to be Returning. That could, of course, just be for flashback scenes akin to the memories of Hogwarts we got in Crimes of Grindelwald. It could, though, mean that she didn’t die and the two David’s will have another shot at giving us Rowling’s story as written rather than “fitting the woman to the dress,” the corset of Warner Brothers blockbuster formula and time restrictions.

When Kravitz was first signed for the movies, she said she expected to be in more than one film:

 Have they told you how much more you’ll get to be in?
KRAVITZ:  I think there’s a few [movies] ahead. The relationship between Leta and Newt Scamander is a complex relationship, so I think there will be a lot of time for that to grow and develop, which will be fun.

Andrew Sims at Hypable thinks that Leta didn’t die and cites this exchange Kravitz had with Dan Fogler at his inane podcast interview with her:

Dan Fogler: Spoilers.. you get fuckin’ toasted by… you get Blue Fire Toasted.
Zoe Kravitz: Leta Go Bye Bye.
Fogler: Leta Go Bye Bye. Did they give you any idea you’d come back as a ghost or something?
Kravitz: It seems very unclear.
Fogler: I want you to haunt Jacob or something. Like you’ve got something to tell from beyond the grave.
Kravitz: I’d love to do that. A little haunting action would be cool. I don’t know. It was, I think it was a kind of a last minute change that she gets toasted.
Fogler: They’re going to have to bring you back somehow. I think they’re gonna have to.
Kravitz: It’d be cool if they did, but if they don’t, that’s fine.
Fogler: They brought Credence back! The Obscurus helped him. Maybe some kind of Lestrange thing where you reincarnate, like Gandalf.
Kravitz: I’m open to all possibilities.
Fogler: I’m gonna… Well who knows what’s gonna happen, but I’m gonna float that out there. I really want you to come back.

Here’s hoping that Rowling gets a “second bite at the apple” in Beasts 3 to tell the Leta Lestrange story with all its implications for the Newt-Theseus relationship and whether we can trust Dumbledore or not vis a vis Grindelwald. Let me know your thoughts on the subject by clicking on ‘Leave a Comment’ up by the post title.
Hat tip to Kelly Loomis, the HogPro Beasts authority, for all these links and ideas!

Dark Arts Themed Cursed Child Trailer

That’s right — a trailer for a live theater experience. If you wondered what, if anything, the opening of a Harry Potter and the Cursed Child production in california might mean, you have the beginning of your answer.

Requiescat in Pace, Harold Bloom

Photo by Wood

Harold Bloom, perhaps the most well-known and prodigiously published literary critic of the 20th century, died last week at age 89 in New Haven, Connecticut. A Sterling Professor of Humanities at Yale University since 1983, Bloom will be remembered for his books Anxiety of Influence, The Western Canon, and Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human. He had a near-to-eidetic memory which when combined with his decades of reading and study means we are unlikely to see his type again; Bloom’s memorized knowledge of Shakespeare, Spenser, and Blake and his championing of the Greats of literature in a world grown hostile to the lettered legacy of dead white men are beyond the imagining of academics today. The hundreds of critical essay anthologies he edited for Chelsea House alone guarantee his work appears in the bibliographies of most every postgraduate paper written in the US and UK.

For a sense of the greatness of the man and of his foibles, consult the obituaries printed in The Guardian, The New York Timesand The New Yorker.

Three notes at Bloom’s passing after the jump: [Read more…]

Whence Rowling’s Twitter Silence?

J. K. Rowling has the largest twitter following of any author, steady at 14.7 million, but she has — with one brief marketing note last month and two re-tweets in March — been silent on this mega social media platform since January 2019. In May I posted three reasons I thought credible as explanations for this silence: personal problems, a court ordered injunction, and, hope driving argument, a decision to write novels and screenplays (or novels instead of screenplays!) rather than waste her energies on ephemeral politics. She was, after all, becoming a popular target for the social justice cognoscenti to berate for her insufficient woke-ness.

The thought occurs this week in light of the PotterMore rebranding as WizardingWorld.com and the advent of the Harry Potter Fan Club and its $75 Gold Membership subscriber’s fee that the more obvious reason of monetary gain may explain Rowling’s departure from the platform as well as any other. Yes, this is post hoc propter hoc reasoning, a logical fallacy, but just because something happens after something else does not mean that the first might not be the reason for what follows.

The theory is simply this: the bean counters employed by Rowling to maximize her income from her various interests and copyright material advise her to consolidate her property under one umbrella, ‘Wizarding World,’ and to monetize the PotterMore website. They urge her to desist from her posting on twitter because her acerbic and fiercely partisan political posts simultaneously offended millions who do not share her “progressive” views and gave away access to her writing and thinking to those who didn’t mind the bad language and uncharitable posturing.

Ceasing to post on twitter, in other words, would create scarcity for those hanging on her every word while at the same time allowing those on her political right and left the time necessary to forget their differences with her and return to thinking of her as “just the Harry Potter lady” with all the fun memories of the reading and film experiences they enjoyed. All these groups, be they the unquestioning fans, the super-vigilant police of the Politically Correct, or those who voted (egad!) for Brexit or Trump, would be more likely to buy Gold Memberships if she would just shut up for, say, ten months, if not the indefinite future.

Considering the blows being delivered to her brand via over-exposure late last year, her commitment to her legacy charities, and the lack of any effectiveness of her tweets in moving those not already convinced to share her position, I doubt Rowling, if this ‘follow the money’ explanation of her departure from twitter has any relationship with reality, would have wept at the cost to her of following the advice. She gets her life as a writer back, her critics are effectively silenced for lack of new material, and there is the promise of a huge payday by the holidays.

Say 1% of her twitter followers become Gold Members of the new Harry Potter Fan Club at WizardingWorld.com. That would be 147,000 people who pay $75 each year for the foreseeable future to get worthless pins and inducements to purchase or visit other products and properties or just over $11 million annually. Now go ahead and use more realistic figures, say 5% or 10%, and do the math. Volant Charities and Lumos will be funded in perpetuity and Rowling’s remarkable goals of finding a cure for Multiple Sclerosis and of placing institutionalized children into homes with families have that much more chance of becoming reality.

And perhaps this is the best way to think about all this for those of us who find the $75 cost of access to Rowling’s Potter material more than a little galling, which is to say, make it a contribution to her charities rather than to Rowling, Inc.

What are your thoughts? Does this ‘twitter silence due to maximizing monetization’ theory pass the smell test? Will you be paying the $75 fee? Do you think Rowling will ever return to daily tweeting?