EFC Presents: A Harry Halloween

One dreary December day in 1993, a soft-spoken young woman, and her infant daughter moved into a flat in Edinburgh, Scotland. Rummaging through her suitcase, the woman withdrew a short stack of coffee stained notebook pages, and sighed, half heart-broken, half relieved.

The woman’s name was Joanne Kathleen Rowling. The pages in her hands comprised the first three chapters of Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone, which the writer penned while living in Portugal the previous three years.

Now she was back in the UK, and living near her sister, Dianne. However, recent failures marred this young woman’s homecoming.JK Depressed

Her marriage to her husband, Jorge, a Portuguese television journalist, had disintegrated, leaving her to care for the couple’s only child, Jessica. In wake of this turmoil, Rowling also left her position as an English teacher.

Devoid of both career options, and romantic prospects, this single mother poured her heart into her two truest passions: her daughter, and her writing. Over the next two years, in between caring for her baby, and battling depression, Rowling would seize virtually every opportunity she could to work on her fantasy novel.

“It was hard, but I made it work,” Rowling said in an interview with Urbanette. “Every time Jessica would fall asleep in her pushchair/stroller, Iโ€™d dash to the nearest cafรฉ and write as much as I could. I wrote nearly every evening. Then, I had to type everything out myself. Sometimes, I hated the book, and all the while I still loved it.”

Elephant House.jpg
The Elephant House in Edinburgh was one of Rowling’s favorite writing spots.

Rowling finished her book in 1995. However, it would take more than a year to get it published. No less than 12 publishing companies turned her down.

Then, one early evening in August, 1996, she received a telephone call from her agent, Christoper Little, informing her that Bloomsbury, a London-based publishing house, had agreed to publish her book, after the eight-year-old daughter of Bloomsbury’s chairman apparently could not put it down she was so interested. The rest of the story is history.

To this day Rowling’s books have been translated into 68 different languages, and have sold over 450 million copies worldwide, making it one of the most popular book series of all time

Here’s to the ones who dream…JK on floor

Rowling’s 7 books were adapted into 8 films, the first of which, Philosophers’s Stone, was released in 2001.

Books 7 18 movies

For the past month I’ve been toying with possible EFC Halloween projects, none of which have come to fruition. I wanted to make a Resident Evil series music video, or a compilation video of slasher films like Halloween, Scream, and A Nightmare on Elm Street. However, I am all too aware that such projects require a high degree of mental bandwidth, which I have not possessed lately.

Here at Experience Film, I’ve settled on the Harry Potter film series as my Halloween baby this year. I know, its not exactly a horror series, but many persons and creatures associated with Halloween are featured in the HP stories: Witches, werewolves, ghosts, goblins, ghouls, spiders, snakes, gargoyles, and even vampires. So, I figure its a start.

Halloween Feast Cover Banner 1

Besides, I’m very fond of the books, and the movies. Every summer in grade school, and in high school, I would read the next book in the series.

I would go with my family to see the movies every holiday. When Philosopher’s Stone was released in 2001, I was 11 years old, the same age as Harry and his friends. I felt like I could relate intimately to Harry’s social experiences throughout, as I encountered them at roughly the same ages, i.e., his making friends, feuding with them as an adolescent, having a first kiss, and overall, feeling a bit of an outsider, despite having friends around.

The final installment, Deathly Hallows Part 2 was released in 2011. In the decade in between the first and last film, a star-studded cast of actors and filmmakers worked on the series, and most stayed for the entire duration. The core faculty of Hogwarts, and the student cast hardly changed at all. That to me, is the most remarkable aspect of the series, and is what makes it so watchable. Like the Lord of The Rings Trilogy, the Harry Potter series feels like one long continuous movie, with a few intermissions.

That isn’t to say that each film isn’t unique in its own right. As Harry and his friends mature over the course of the series, so do the themes and emotional signature of every film. Joyous enchantment typifies first two films, while fear possesses the third, Prisoner of Azkaban. Sadness arrives in the fourth film to the tune of a traumatizing loss in the arena of The Tri-Wizard Tournament.

The Anger of the Gryffindor Lion emanates from Harry in Part 5, as he leads a resistance movement against the corrupt faction of the Ministry of Magic. In the remainder of the series we discover secrets about certain characters that we never would have imagined, reminding us that it isn’t always prudent to judge a book by its cover.

My goal for A Harry Halloween is to give each of the eight films their own space on this blog, either with their own post, or I may group a few of the films together. I’ll only talk at length about a couple of the movies, but I wish to at least pose a question or do something to acknowledge every film. I’ll space the posts out over the days leading up to Halloween. I hope you come along for the ride. First Stop: Part 1: Harry Potter & The Philosopher’s Stone, and The Sorting Hat Ceremony. Find out which of the 4 Hogwarts houses you are in. Maybe you already know. In the next post I’ll include the test.ย 



17 thoughts on “EFC Presents: A Harry Halloween

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  1. It simply shows that there is one thing one must never do: and that is to give up hope/stop dreaming. It never fails to amaze me this story. It’s a bit like George Lucas whi at first could not find a studio to take a risk with Star Wars. I can honestly say that I am not a huge Harry Potter fan, but I am still looking forward to your posts for the movies nonetheless. And this post was already a great start ๐Ÿ˜€

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You are so right, hope is key. George Lucas is another inspiring success story. Both he and Rowling have proven themselves to be savvy business moguls, in addition to talented writers and dreamers.

      I just recently watched the Star Wars Bonus Material documentary on the making of the original trilogy. That has got to be one of the most fascinating documentaries I’ve ever seen.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I totally agree with you on that one. I thought it was a very fascinating documentary, that for a change wasn’t boring or anything, truly riveting from the very beginning to the end, presenting some facts that I never knew about. Loved it ๐Ÿ˜Š


  2. Inspirational read. Like you, I was brought up on Harry Potter and am still a kind of fan. The first four or so books I hold dear to my heart indeed. But I do think that Rowling got a bit side-tracked and confused when she wrote her last instalments, and some of the films, like the forth film was very disappointing.
    I am very much looking forward to your next posts about Harry Potter – great choice for Halloween.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi there, it is nice to hear from someone else who has read the books. I sympathize with your critique of the later books in the series; Rowling does throw in a lot of filler content in Half Blood and The Deathly Hallows, and the writing is verbose at times.

      Part 4: Goblet of Fire is my favorite book, or at least my favorite experience of reading it the first time. The movie was choppy, and disappointing overall, yes. However, I did find the ending to be quite compelling, and was saddened by the loss of Cedric.

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Very inspiring. After reading 3 or 4 books, I went to see the first Harry Potter film when I was 12 with my grandma. We both enjoyed it. I have watched several next films but then lost track, switching to more arthouse cinema (in those years I just watched so much weird stuff).
    “such projects require a high degree of mental bandwidth, which I have not possessed lately” – you are very sincere ๐Ÿ˜†

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Emphasized: “In those years I just watched so much weird stuff” Haha ๐Ÿ˜†

      Yes, in general I lack energy, and its a real pain in the ass. Full disclosure, pretty much every day my self talk goes something like this:

      Me: “Go.”
      Self: “No”
      Me: “Go or I’ll break it off”
      Self: “Nope, not happening, sorry, no sir”
      Me: GOOOOO! Goddammnit you &%&**#*&& piece of &$*$

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The Harry potter series must be one of my favourites that I shall cherish for a lifetime. Having been captivated by the very first novel, I ventured into the audiobooks at night where I would be whisked away into the world of Hogwarths, read by the splendid Stephen Fry.

    The way J.K Rowling has managed to put so much dedication into each novel, particulary all the names for individual potions and the details of the outifts, locations, really convey her strengths as a writer and her fabulous imagination.

    Not to forget the magnificent movies that managed to capture all the fine details.I’ve rarely come across that type of feeling and a rare few such as these novels seem very special to me. A splendid idea of a post I say EF.

    ” Happiness can be found even in the darknest lf times, if one remembers to turn on the light”..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That quote from Prisoner of Azkaban, Madame Vintage, is the reason I chose to write about this series here.

      I’ve never listened to the audiobooks, that must have been a great experience.

      Yes, she had to come up with so many names, and the world building had to have taken so long. Her knowledge of Latin really came in handy for the names.

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting! Cheers, fellow Harry Potter fan ๐Ÿ™‚


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