Midnight @ The Theater With 'The Harry Potter Teens'

Harry Potter And The Half-Blood PrinceLast night my husband and I made our way to the midnight opening of the sixth Harry Potter installment: “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.” While I’ve read all of the books (the last one, twice) and seen all of the movies multiple times, my husband has mostly just seen the movies (with me) and complains about how Dumbledore always shows up at the end with some kind of cheesy lesson for Harry. I think he was happy with last night’s ending though I was quite teary-eyed.

At 37, apart from the sprinkling of parents accompanying their teens, I think we may have been the oldest people in the theater. My husband seemed proud that he stayed awake while the pierced, teen guy sitting next to him crashed midway through the movie. I would say the average age of the audience was 16-17—“Harry Potter teens”—who have, like the stars of the films, grown up reading the books and watching the movies. There were a few capes and wands but more Urban Outfitter versions of “Hogwarts-style” school uniforms, short plaid skirts with thigh high stockings and a couple of guys with “the scar” drawn on their foreheads.

In a way I was jealous of these teens for having such a beloved series of books and being able to experience them on so many platforms—the movies, online fan communities and next year, the amusement park. Even though I read fantasy as a teen (A Wrinkle In Time, The Hobbit), there was no well-oiled multi-media/multi-platform machine in place to create a universe on the scale of Harry Potter.

My husband mused about how dark the series gets and wondered about the 8 or 9 year olds who are just starting the books now and whether parents let them read the whole series or wait for the later books with darker themes or wait to watch the later films on DVD. I have a feeling my YA librarian readers have lots of opinions on this one, but what struck me most about the audience last night was that they had grown up with the character of Harry Potter—and could now relate to all of the 16-17 year-old awkwardness around teen romance that offers most of the comic relief in “Half Blood Prince.”

Sorta Related:

Help! My Ten-Year-Old Wants to Read Twilight (School Library Journal)

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