Voyage of the Dawn Treader Film Thoughts: The “Voyage” is Bumpy, but the Destination Delivers

After my serious qualms with a few issues in the film version of Prince Caspian, it was with some trepidation that I sailed off to the theater to see the just-released Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader. For one thing, I knew PC had to be seriously re-worked to function as a film because of its narrative structure, and it’s not my favorite of the Chronicles anyway. VDT, on the other hand, has a big place in my heart, great journey structure, with plenty of fascinating stops along the way, and some fantastic moments of transcendence, including the heartwrenching scene in which Aslan tells Lucy she and Edmund will not return to Narnia. So I was concerned to see how the characters, plot, and most of all, the spiritual payoff survived the transition to the screen. There were some serious liberties taken, but, in the end, the Deeper Magic shines through. Follow me after the jump through the picture frame to get the whole story….

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The Voice of Harry Interviewed: Jim Dale on NPR

Recently, Charlotte Talks, which hosted our own beloved headmaster in October, featured the delightful Jim Dale, known to many of us as the voice of the Harry Potter audiobooks. In addition to creating beautiful voices for our friends at Hogwarts, Dale is an award-winning songwriter, singer, and actor, with several successful careers before he began reading Harry’s adventures to us. (Did you know he wrote “Georgie Girl” ? I certainly didn’t!)

 These were actually his first audiobooks, so  he sort of made up the process as he went, and a fascinating process it is. In this broadcast, in addition to talking about his amusing and exciting performance history, Dale reveals some of his techniques, such as “capturing” the voice for each character. Some of the books have a dizzying number of voices, and Dale makes each distinct, memorable, and appropriate. Thos of us who have read the books with our children know how hard it is to read a chapter in which we have to voice Snape, Voldemort, and Bellatrix in rapid succession! If you love Dale’s readings and want to know more, or if you’ve never experienced his captivating voice, check out this fun interview!

Movie Thoughts: Harry and the Deathly Hallows – Is it the Beginning of the Beginning of the End?

When I held my copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows for the first time, I felt about it much as I always do about the last piece of candy in the big box. Like Edmund and the Turkish Delight, I could eat those things until it kills me, but I always reach the end; the last piece, the piece I want but don’t want because it means the end of the box, is a bittersweet delight (regardless of what kind of sweetie flavor it is). With the film of Deathly Hallows in two bits, we’ve still one piece left in that big box, but this one is next to last, and has that same degree of joy and sadness. Considering the content of this, the first half of the last installment of our generational Shared Text’s cinematic interpretations, the sadness is certainly in force. Follow after the jump for detailed thoughts on the film, and my two galleons worth.

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A Peck of Owls: Beautiful Birds Endangered by and in Support of Harry Potter Global Fandom

According to a recent foxnews article, owls in India are being endangered by obsessive HP fans who want them as pets (though it seems that the real danger to the birds lies in their valuable body parts which are sold by Slughorn types to make a buck). In stark contrast to this odd situation, our very own headmaster’s excellent presentation at Lees-McRae College last week had special owl guest stars. The college hosts a wonderful wildlife rehab center, and some of its “stars” are beautiful owls who cannot be released back into the wild.  The kind folks at the college cleverly decided to bring along a few of the owls to the program (which drew a large number of humans, too). Nob, in particular, was a big hit, as he is Pigwidgeon size. Follow the jump to see some great pictures (thanks Sarah Jane!) [Read more…]

Shared Text Alert: Terrorists Love Hogwarts Saga?

According to a recent AP article, former child soldier and Al-Qaeda militant Omar Khadr is something of a Harry Potter fan.  Khadr, described in several articles as a rage-filled, cold-blooded killer, apparently enjoys reading the books, which begs the question: Does someone who so clearly exhibits only intolerance for anyone who does not share his beliefs really “get it” if he considers himself a fan? Does he not see that the Order of the Phoenix members would all fall under the category of personae non gratia in his worldview? Or does he see those who disagree with him as the evil Ministry of Magic?  What seems really interesting, though, is the way the media keeps tossing out Khadr’s reading of HP. On one level, the references are probably just meant to emphasize the irony of the situation: terrorist who reads the popular, epitome-of-Western-Culture books loved by millions, isn’t that bizarre? [Read more…]