We hired movers this time, a sure sign of advancing age and heavier stacks of what the Buddha might call the shackles that bind me to illusion. I own some dumb stuff, such as a garden hose and a lawnmover that are of limited utility to an apartment dweller. In any case, the movers took last of my worldly goods out of the house and over to the new apartment quickly and efficiently. The heavy lifting up and down stairs worked out fine. It's good to have, oh, couches and tables and a proper bed.
My favorite moving moment was when I offered to buy coffee for the movers. It being Seattle, I got requests for a double Americano, shade-grown drip coffee, and (without pause or hesitation from the mover) a White Chocolate Peppermint Mocha. Yes, quite possibly the most frou-frou drink I've ever ordered from a barista. That mover is a man secure in his masculinity.
To celebrate the day, we left the boxes behind and went to see Harry Potter IV. It's my favorite by far, because it was more immersive than the prior installments and doesn't waste my time explaining what a wand is or the like. The visiting schools riff allowed for some fun "Bring It On"-style strutting (and let's face it, teenage wizards really ought to strut).
I enjoyed Hagrid's romance with the ridiculously tall Frenchwoman, which seemed so in tune with a certain type of British fantasy. I'm not sure I can define it, but it's the fantasy of "funny-shaped people and talking animals." You know what this is: CS Lewis, Wind in the Willows, George MacDonald, Brian Froud. Call it Twee Fantasy. The fun of twee fantasy is that it's cheerful and playful and bright — look! ogres and hedgehogs and munchkins and fauns and red-hatted gnomes! The downside is that it doesn't take itself terribly seriously. Ever. Despite the whole Mithraic subtext of the Narnia books, they're fairly self-conscious about being fairy tales. That's fine for entertainment, but it robs them of depth.
That tone is quite at odds with the Tolkien tradition of Gravitas Fantasy that takes itself Very Seriously Indeed, with subcreation, lunar calendars, elaborate genealogies, and such. Both are quite unfairly lumped together as fantasy, though I imagine Prof. Lewis, Prof. Tolkien, and other Inklings exchanged words on which was the better approach.
Oh, I digress. Right, Potter and the schoolboy story. The villains have improved from obstacles who chew the scenery to actual (though still floppy and one-dimensional) characters. This makes the villains worth taking more seriously; the Death Eaters were somewhat scary. They're still mainly a plot point to anyone who hasn't read the books.
The whole film did build on the strengths of part III. The problems I had with it were the excess of Teen Angst, the gratuitous insertion of Harry's parents for about 10 seconds of screen time, and some acting issues with Michael Gambon's slipping accent, but really, a good bit of fannish fantasy fluff. Twee fantasy at its finest.
Now if only they'd make the Westeros movie.
I'm still not reading the Potter books, mind you. Too many other things to read, such as The Historian, A Feast for Crows (signed by George RR!), The Devil's Broker, City of Falling Angels, Confessions of a Pagan Nun, and Captain Alatriste.