TISINGER: Give Potter a chance

Sarah Tisinger

My second confession this semester: I am a huge Harry Potter fan. Don’t worry, I’m not the type to dress up and wait in line at midnight book releases. Well, all right, I only did that once.

The decision to release the movie “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” next year created a major disappointment among loyal fans. Mid-August, Warner Bros. decided to push back the release from Nov. 21 of this year until  next July 17. Alan Horn, president and chief operating officer for Warner Bros., claims the switch is to help the success of the movie.

“We know the summer season is an ideal window for a family tent pole release, as proven by the success of our last ‘Harry Potter’ film, which is the second highest-grossing film in the franchise, behind only the first installment,” Horn says. “Additionally, like every other studio, we are still feeling the repercussions of the writers’ strike, which impacted the readiness of scripts for other films — changing the competitive landscape for 2009 and offering new windows of opportunity that we wanted to take advantage of.”

It is noticeable that Warner Bros. has not mentioned any threat from the soon-to-be-released “Twilight.” The movie is based off the best-seller book  “Twilight,” written by Stephenie Meyer, and is the first in the four-book series that has captured readers with stories of a gorgeous and mysterious vampire.

“Not since Harry Potter has a book-to-film journey inspired so much enthusiasm — or so much anxiety,” claimed Entertainment Weekly. The movie has been considered one of the most anticipated movies of the year.

The two series not only share fans, but an actor as well. Robert Pattinson, also known as the attractive Cedric Diggory of the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire movie, plays the lead male in Twilight. However, not all agree that Twilight should be much of a threat to the popularity of Harry Potter.

“’Twilight’ is sort of like the ‘Hannah Montana’ of literature,” Alex Carpenter, guitarist for the popular band The Remus Lupins, explained to MTV News. “If you’re outside the 14 to 16-year-old age range, you might listen to it, and it might get stuck in your head, but it’s not good literature. It’s not really enriching your life the way ‘Harry Potter’ might.”

As a reader of both, I have to agree. Twilight is definitely a fast read with interesting plots and characters. Readers can’t help but wonder whether the relationship between Bella and her undead boyfriend— whose will to not bite her neck is shaky— will work. However intriguing the books are, they cannot compare to the seven book series of Harry Potter.

As cheesy as it sounds, I am able to say, in the nerdiest way possible, that the Harry Potter series improved my life. I can never forget my childhood years and how I felt like the slowest reader in my first and second grade classes. I’d skip lines or words and was constantly self-conscious reading aloud in class to the point where, in fifth grade, I still refused to read a book longer than 100 pages.

I remember the vacation over which my mother, an assistant librarian, forced me to read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. At first I refused stubbornly, but finally succumbed at the prospect of a multiple hours in a car with nothing else to do. By the time the first few chapters were behind me, I was irreversibly hooked.

A few days later, I started the second book. By the time I got home, I was already waiting for the third, and only a short few weeks later, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire arrived at our doorstep, having been pre-ordered. I convinced my mother that I should get to read it first and was done within a week.

After that, I realized I’d read a book that was longer than 700 pages and was very proud of myself. I started to read everything I could get my hands on. The seventh book was released between my senior year of high school and my freshman year of college. I had grown up close to the same age as the characters and had developed a huge crush on Rupert Grint, but after that summer I was definitely ready to face college. Others my age feel the same.

“I started reading Harry Potter in the fifth grade and I’ve been reading them ever since,” says Heather VanDeWostine, sophomore in animal science. “Whenever the books would come out I’d order them ahead of time, and once I got them they were done within 24 hours.”

The books are written with a brilliance that can only be truly appreciated in retrospect. The severe amount of planning and foreshadowing was crucial to the series and pulled the books together in the end. The characters were lovable (or hated), and who can forget the witty comic relief? Now I read Jane Austen, Shakespeare and Thoreau and have found a passion for both reading and writing. I owe a lot to those books, and my mother, and hope that some of you skeptics can realize that we Harry Potter fans may be nerds, but we recognize great literature.

 — Sarah Tisinger is a sophomore in pre-journalism and mass communication from Bettendorf.