Tuesday, 7 December 2010
Have you seen it yet? The film? It’s another goodie, and it gears us all up nicely for the final-ever-actual-end-last-what-will-we-do-next film in the whole Harry Potter saga.
If I was 10 now, I reckon I’d be quite unable to keep my bedroom window shut. My childhood bedroom, a place I still frequent as the same house remains Parental HQ, has a tranquil view of a hill, and on that hill lives Hagrid. It’s not his actual Hut, of course, but it is the place to which Hagrid retreats when he isn’t being Hagrid, as it were. And post-HP, the hill has acquired a new glamour, particularly at night when all is silent and I perch at the window gazing onto the moonlit landscape, wondering when Hagrid might send me an owl with an interesting message.
So far zilch, but the magic of Harry Potter does not seem far away. The tourist board here in Scotland is apparently expecting a Harry Potter-induced boost to the industry....after all, it’s not just Hagrid that is originally Scottish, (obviously I KNOW he isn’t Scottish in the film, but he is in real life....I keep seeing him driving his classic cars up the road to the village Co-op). Tourists are expected to descend upon Scotland to pay homage to various HP hotspots for themselves...Glen Nevis, Glencoe, the Glenfinnan Viaduct, and of course the cafe in Edinburgh where JK Rowling wrote the first book. These places have acquired a new fascination, a glamour tinged with magic dust that has become desperately enticing.
There are several Scots amongst the cast in these films, but it would be turgid to name them all. Frankly, any British actor who has not been in a Harry Potter movie must be feeling a mite peeved...it’s a wall-to-wall Who’s-Who of the great and good of British theatre. But I can’t resist mentioning one of my favourites. Dame Maggie Smith is of course an English actress, but there is no way in Muggle-land that Professor McGonagall could have had that wonderfully ‘refined’ Glasgow/Kelvinside/Hyndland accent if Dame Maggie’s mother hadn’t been from Glasgow. I can’t help being rather thrilled that this gem of an accent has gone global, thanks to Dame Maggie. So I’m sharpening my blackthorn clippers...Professor McGonagall is so very reminiscent of my own school teachers that I do sense, you see, I could still be summoned by the Ministry of Magic at the next flick of my black cat’s tail.
JK Rowling was apparently stopped recently by a fan who simply said, ‘You ARE my childhood.’ Can you imagine anything more heart-warming for a writer? Proof indeed that one person’s imagination can change the world. But as the films have rolled along, and rumours of Hollywood producers and animated characters were long-since crushed, I have become more and more relieved that JK stuck to her guns in insisting the films were made here in the UK. They are peculiarly, very peculiarly, British.
Thanks to overwhelming mountains of snow right now, our youngest has just finished reading her first Harry Potter. Fittingly, I may well celebrate with a swig of Sloe Gin, the concoction that has been gently distilling since I plucked the sloes from this very blackthorn hedge a few weeks ago. Having had ten years of Harry Potter playing a dominant role in the cultural appetites of this household, I think we know that HP has been a central character in many children’s lives, a source of solace and comfort, as well as adventure and humour. Thanks to JK’s flights of fancy, the joy of fiction has been discovered by thousands more children than it might have been. And now, publishers and book retailers are seeing a steady growth in the sales of children’s literature. Last year over 60 million children’s books were sold in the UK, bringing a most welcome £293 million into the book industry.
Posted by Returning Scot at 13:30