Yer a wizard, ‘arry!

For Halloween this year, we had a bit of a theme going on: we all dressed as characters from Harry Potter.


From left to right: Hagrid, Norbert the Dragon, Harry Potter, Severus Snape, and Draco Malfoy

Aside from a couple of wizard’s duels, Halloween went more or less swimmingly.


Oliver was wearing the Gryffindor scarf I knit a few years ago, and Evelyn was wearing a brand new Slytherin scarf that Evelyn, Sara, and I have been working on lately. Evelyn would often knit in the car on the way to Billy Elliot practice, and then Sara or I would take over in the evenings.


Unfortunately, Norbert didn’t quite make it all the way through his first Halloween. Luckily, Hagrid knows about the Care of Magical Creatures!


He’s dangerous with a wand


Gryffindor Scarf

I was in a homemade name exchange this year. I wanted to do something nice, that anybody could enjoy if they wanted, but also something that fit my personality a little bit. In other words, something geeky. I finally settled on a Gryffindor scarf.


The scarf is knit in the round, so it is double-thick. There’s nothing particularly complicated about it, other than the fact that it is very, very long.


In retrospect, I probably should have picked something that was a little less time consuming. I started this back in about September, and since that time, I have spent most of my free time working on it. I can knit while watching tv or some other distraction, but I knit a little bit slower. I timed myself many times during the making of this scarf and discovered I could do about 5 rows an hour while distracted. Each band of color is 25 rows, and there are 19 bands. Add in the fringe, weaving in the ends, etc. and I think it’s safe to say I spent about 100 hours working on it. Luckily, I finished just in the nick of time, at about 10 p.m. the night before the name exchange.


Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone makes an excellent fringe-measuring tool!

However, I’m very pleased with how it all came out. It’s a really nice scarf. My step-father ended up winning it, so I’m glad it’s staying in the (immediate) family.


Towards the end, I kept saying, “After this, I am taking a break from knitting!” However, now that it’s done, I don’t know what to do with myself. While I was working on the scarf, I always had something to do when I had a free moment. I think I might need another project just to keep myself occupied!

On the other hand, maybe I just need to find a way to make scarves by magic…


Warwick Davis

What do all these movies have in common: Harry Potter, Star Wars, Ray, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, The Chronicles of Narnia : Prince Caspian, and Willow?

Besides the fact that they are awesome, they all star one amazing actor by the name of Warwick Davis.

It would be almost impossible to have not seen Mr. Davis in some movie. Aside from the fact that he works almost continuously (1992 was the last year he didn’t have something come out, and the only year since Star Wars Episode VI in 1983 that he didn’t have anything), but he’s also been in some of the biggest movies of all time.

Warwick Davis as Wicket the Ewok

Of course, his big role was arguably the most famous little person movie of all time, Willow,

Warwick Davis as Willow Ufgood

but for my money, his finest performances were in some movies near and dear to my heart, Leprechaun 1 – 6.

Warwick Davis as The Leprechaun

This is, of course, not to mention some rolls in movies you probably saw but didn’t recognize him in, such as a member of the goblin corps in Labyrinth, or Marvin the Robot in the Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy.

Maybe it is because I am a big fan, but I always recognize him instantly, even in makeup. I’ve learned that, for some reason, no one else seems to recognize him. For example, I don’t know how anybody could have watched the Harry Potter series without recognizing the same actor played Flitwick and Griphook:

Warwick Davis as Prof. Flitwick and Griphook the Goblin

Because he is a little person, he is not known as a hugely successful actor, but his resume matches any but the absolute biggest movie stars (I mean biggest figuratively, not literally). I was so happy to see him get some big on-screen moments as Griphook, and I thought he was fantastic. Hopefully casting directors will (continue to) take note.

Isn’t it about time for a Willow sequel?

Harry Potter and the end of an era

Over the weekend, Sara and I had to go to a movie to maintain our average of 1 movie in the theater a year since Evie was born. Just to recap, the other 3 moves were Slumdog Millionaire, Public Enemies, and Avatar. That’s right, we go to so few movies in the theater, each one is worth a blog post. Now, 2 of those movies were really good. But if you’re only going to see 1 movie a year, you can’t afford to have just an average movie in there. So this time, we didn’t want to waste it, so we saw the last of the Harry Potter movies.

I saw a lot of people being bummed about the end of the long-running series, and calling this the “end of an era”. I don’t know, I just didn’t feel any sentimentality over it. Maybe it was because I was into the books more so than the movies, so my era already ended. Certainly I was very excited to see the movie (but then again, that might just have been the fact that Sara and I were getting away from the kids for the 4th time ever), but I didn’t feel any sense of loss or absence or whatever afterwards.

The movie was really good. It was fast paced (after all, they had to wrap up an 8 movie series in just over 2 hours, which the shortest of all the movies), it was well done, it was superbly acted (especially Alan Rickman), and it did everything it needed to do, which is apparently harder in a series finale than you might guess.

Now that all is said and done, I doubt I’ll ever go back and watch the movies again. I tried watching the first one awhile ago, and man is it silly. I didn’t notice at the time, but now that we’ve seen the darker movies, it’s hard to go back to the early, goofy ones. It’s how they had to do them, however.

In fact, I’ll go on record saying that’s the single biggest reason why the Harry Potter series was successful.

The books (and consequently the movies) started out as kids books, but they didn’t stay that way. They grew with the audience. Children who read the first book at an appropriate age were 10 years older when the final book came out. If the books would have continued to be written for children, they would have ceased to be interesting to the kids who were no longer kids.

So the question is, will something like Harry Potter ever happen again? Well sure, in the sense that there will always be some sort of high-selling-cultural-phenomenon that everybody just has to go see. So in that sense, I guess Twilight is/was the new Harry Potter? There are a couple of significant differences though, and not the least of them is the fact that Twilight focused on a much narrower audience (mostly teenage girls)(and before you yell at me, I read them all, so don’t try to tell me they’re not focused on teenage girls), and Harry Potter has something for everybody.

I would certainly think that making 8 movies with virtually the same cast would be the hardest part of it. To me, that is the most amazing part, and I’m still impressed they were able to do it. Think of everything that had to go into that. You had to have actors that were able to carry on the roles that long (consider how many were unknowns, and how many started as kids and ended as adults). You have to have no scheduling conflicts or egos demanding more money (maybe that last is the hardest one). You have to have a studio that is really committed to doing everything right, with no egos on their end who demand changes or certain directors, etc. You have nobody who decides they don’t want to be typecast, or wants to move on to something new (I guess this goes back to the ego thing, but hey! This is Hollywood! Ego plays a big part.)

So that’s it I guess. I’m looking forward to someday reading the books with Evie and Oliver. That won’t be for quite some time I think.

Oh, a final note about seeing movies in 3D…I’m over it. The 3D in the movie was interesting, maybe even neat, but at the end of the day, it added nothing. It is certainly not worth paying a couple of bucks extra to see. Movie studios won’t stop doing it until we stop paying for it people. Stop them now before there are no 2D options left! (Of course, we can always go buy 2D glasses from ThinkGeek to down-convert 3D movies into 2D movies…)