Early in October, my daughter came home from a sleepover with a stuffed owl and a homemade wand. She and the other girls had had a Harry Potter-themed treasure hunt. All the while, the hostess wore her Hogwarts robe. She was going to be Hermione at Halloween. Needless to say, my daughter came home with questions.
We tested the waters by sitting down to watch Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone. I wasn't going to commit to reading all those pages, if she didn't fall in love. Of couse, I should never have doubted...
Four months later, we're reading the fourth book. This will be our last Harry Potter book, until she is a little older. (Spoiler alert!) This is the first book in which a character dies at the end -- and my sensitive daughter is going to cry over that. Until then, we have 300 more pages to go.
For the first two books, I let her watch the movies first, figuring that if anything was scary, it would be easier to cope with it in a two-hour span. That backfired when she decided the voice hissing in the walls was scarier than anything that actually happens in the books -- and the memory of it kept her awake at night. The book Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets turned out to be much less frightening that its movie.
We made her listen to the whole third book before she could watch that movie. In consequence, that may be the movie she's watched most. I think it's my favorite of the adaptions, striking the best balance between the teenage silliness of the maturing characters and the deep loss at the heart of the story.
I got ahead of her and previewed the next movie. In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Professor Moody's use of the unforgivable curses in the classroom is really terrifying, mostly thanks to the talents of the actors. Watching their reactions is much more visceral than Rowling's descriptions in the book. On the other hand, when Moody turns Malfoy into a ferret, he's very cruel in the book, actually bouncing the boy hard enough against the floor and ceiling that he needs to go see the nurse. It's much gentler in the movie.
Rowling has said, "I am not writing to make anyone's children feel safe." I believe that is the parents' job. In doing my job, I've forbidden watching the next three movies for now. We're not going to read any more of the books yet either.
It's going to be a wrench. We've lived and breathed Harry Potter's world for the last four months. Still, as much as Rowlings' world is about children, it doesn't neccessarily have their best interests in mind. To protect my daughter, we're going to have to take a break.
Causes Loren Rhoads Supports