So I was at the Quidditch World Cup last weekend, and I was planning to blog about it. We already had that great discussion about it in class, but I thought I’d share some thoughts about it anyway. I also went to see the new Harry Potter movie at the Midd Marquis at midnight on opening night. I don’t really have a solid through-line for all these thoughts, so I’m just going to write them down and see what happens.
I would say that my relationship with both Quidditch and the Harry Potter movies is the perfect example of my generation’s relationship with “millenial media” (of which Harry Potter might be the quintessential example). I am not particularly interested or invested in the propagation of Quidditch as a sport, but I always have fun at the World Cup and I’ve remained friends with a lot of the people involved (not to mention a lot of people on our team), so I’ve stayed involved in one way or another over the past couple of years, and thought it would be fun to get down to New York. Plus, I enjoy that nostalgic aspect of the game; you get to see hundreds of people running around and acting (mostly) like children, and it hearkens back to my memories of reading Harry Potter as a child. In my understand of millenial media as we’ve discussed it so far, this combination of distancing and aspiration perfectly exemplifies the way millenials relate to the media that targets them.
The same goes for the movies. I’ve felt pretty indifferent towards almost every Harry Potter movie — I tend to leave them feeling like “Well, that was…..a Harry Potter movie,” and not see them again — without diminishing the special place the books have in my heart. I went to the midnight showing of Harry Potter and the Series of Cool-Looking Locations to Be Emo at the Middlebury Marquis because it seemed like a fine thing to do on a Thursday night and I knew I wanted to see the movie eventually, but I figured if I didn’t see it right away I would just keep procrastinating and maybe never get around to it. It was fun, even though the Midd Marquis is a horrible theater, I was sitting in the front row, and the speakers had a buzz that was unbearable in all the quiet scenes. (Plus the owner was being SUPER strict about cell phone usage, so I couldn’t live Tweet the thing, which I REALLY wanted to do.) I was a little tipsy, so that probably helped, because it’s a pretty poorly paced movie (then again, the middle sections of the 7th book were probably the most draggy of the entire series) and seemed sort of visually schizophrenic a lot of the time. Anyway, I’m not trying to write a review of the film. What I want to say is that the crowd was totally the best part of the screening, and I guess that’s why one goes to midnight showings. The crowd was almost exclusively college students, which I thought was interesting. I suppose this is a college town, and it was midnight, and the seventh book has the most “mature themes” and violence, so it makes sense. But the crowd’s age didn’t prevent them from being very engaged and vocal. People gasped at the snake, applauded small victories, and let out a huge “AWWWWWWWW” almost every time Ron Weasley appeared on screen. The issue of “aspiration” has always been interesting with Harry Potter because of the relationship of the books with time, each one representing a year. The current senior class was just about the same age as Harry when the 7th book came out and are now 4 or 5 years older, but some freshmen aren’t so far past that age now. So there might be some nostalgia for the end-of-high-school-age-type-situations (emotionally, not in terms of battling powerful evil wizards) that Harry and his friends are going through. And I’m sure some of us are reminded of how we were dealing with similar things when we were that age — when this story first came out, in book form. In any case, I’m glad I got to see it with such an enthusiastic crowd, and I didn’t anticipate how relevant it would be to this class.