This, from what I can understand, is where the contention starts re the Harry Potter movies. I personally love the changed tone and general feel of the movie – Dementors couldn’t exist in the bright, happy world of the first two movies. I think nearly everyone can agree that the darker tone was needed for the movies to go forward.
I used to love the Aunt Marge scene – finally, Harry getting some revenge on his horrible relatives! But now…I’m not sure. It felt horribly fat-shamey and I almost couldn’t make myself watch. Seeing that this particular narrative has such an emphasis on seeing the amusing and ridiculous side of scary people and things…? Aunt Marge = fat = funny. I know there are other fat characters, such as Neville, but this particular scene rubbed me the wrong way.
Right, onto the Dementors. Everyone knows that Dementors = depression. And I’m probably not going to say anything new, but I thought I’d address them all the same. I love that it is made clear that their effect on Harry is not his fault. This is a hugely sensitive approach that, in the 90s, would have been huge. I’ve always been impressed by JK and her approach to the Dementors. The one problem that springs to mind is that there’s no returning from the Kiss – but maybe that’s a representation of the feeling of hopelessness that comes with depression – the feeling that you are indeed, as good as dead. That is scarily apt, to me.
Finally, Lupin. My darling, lovely werewolf. I have told everyone I know about the theory that being a werewolf = being gay, and in particular, with AIDS. (An interpretation helped by the fact that David Thewlis, the actor who plays Lupin, played him as gay). Need to be convinced?:
- General lack of information about and stigma of the condition(s)
- Automatic assumption that those with the conditions will attack/infect
- Lupin’s fear of passing it onto others, including his son, Teddy
- The fact that Lupin is forced to leave after Snape makes his lycanthropy known – it is not seen as acceptable for a teacher in particular to be ‘infected’
- And JK says it on Pottermore, so that’s got to mean something
I love Lupin. I love the movie interpretation of him, and I just wish his queerness could have been made explicit. (Because as much as I love Tonks? Their relationship does not work for me.) His character could have been a great step in representation and diversity, and unlike Dumbledore, you don’t even have to squint. I had wondered why I sometimes prefer the movie Lupin to the book one – and this is probably the reason.
Well, that’s Prisoner of Azkaban done. Next up, Goblet of Fire. No idea what i’ll be talking about, but I’ll try to make it good!