19 July 2009

quoted for Harry Potter mania chenelyn


catching up with reposts here.

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the manila times ran a story on the popularity of harry potter in time for the film release this week. the reporter contacted me as a resource person.

sa dami ng tanong niya at sagot ko, natatawa ako kasi one-liner na lang ang ending na pull quote na ginamit from me. hahaha! buhay pull-quote indeed...

my friend jovan enjoyed more pull quotes, though, because of her membership to that hogwarts society thang hehe.

enjoy! will watch it tomorrow when the weather behaves a bit.

original post here.



Wednesday, July 15, 2009

‘Harry Potter’ casts his magic spell, again

By Angelo Cantera, Reporter

To the Filipino fans of Harry Potter, their favorite boy wizard has definitely “grown up.” From being the protagonist of author J.K. Rowling’s children’s novel about a young wizard’s road to heroism, he has definitely evolved into a cultural icon whose story was told through seven books and, so far, six film adaptations.

And as the latest of the six films, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, makes its worldwide debut, his followers say that his magic still remains enchanting as ever. Apparently, it is enough to inspire a number of them to don elaborate robes, carry broomsticks and even discuss his story in the classroom.

“The story is popular because it has a wellstructured narrative and a creative re-imagining of things already familiar to us,” a Palanca winner and literary columnist, Libay Cantor, told The Manila Times. “People are always after a good story, no matter what genre they like.”

As an educator in De La Salle University (DLSU)-Manila, Frances Sangil has been talking about Potter’s “magic” for five years. And while she doesn’t train her students to use charms or brew potions, the 34-year-old teacher has been educating them through the spell Rowling cast upon the world with this best-selling series.

“The literature department of DLSU-Manila has a very strong cultural studies and popular culture track,” Sangil told The Times. “We’ve been offering electives such as speculative fiction, fantasy, crime fiction and gothic fiction, among others. We want students to talk about the things that matter to them and problematize contemporary literature. An elective on [Rowling] was then inevitable.”

Handling about 40 enrollees every time the class is offered, Sangil’s methods involve incorporating practices done in the books. Like the students of Potter’s magic school, Hogwarts, she sorts her students in different “houses”—a procedure of grouping learners based on their characteristics—and she also administers exams that she affectionately calls “OWL,” a term based on the “ordinary wizarding level” exams that were given to Potter and his school mates.

“I don’t teach them how to curse people or make potions,” Sangil said. “I merely discuss the importance of a very popular series that happens to be about magic.”

Saying that the series is “probably the literary saga of this generation,” she also tells her class to discuss what she thinks is Rowling’s greatest contribution to an era where children spend most of their time in front of the computer to surf the Internet and play online games.

“Through him [Harry Potter], she [Rowling] got an entire generation of kids into reading again,” Sangil said.

The ‘Pinoy’ Harry Potter

Sangil is also a member of Hogwarts Philippines—a community of Filipino Harry Potter fans that was established in 2001. As an online group, it is a venue that allows the series’ aficionados to meet and share their love for the magical world created by Rowling. And while most of the interactions among members happen online, they also do offline activities like launch parties where they welcome Harry Potter books and films, by donning costumes popularized by the novels and outreach activities like book drives that benefit orphans.

Currently, the group has more than 1,000 members all over the Philippines and around the world. And despite the preconceived notion that Harry Potter was written for children, the group also has a broad age bracket with members being as young as 13 and as old as 45.

“I’ve always been a fan of the series,” 34-year-old freelance artist and Hogwarts Philippines member Jovan de Ocampo told The Times.

“I’ve always been a fan of the book since I was in Grade 7. But I only became an active member of Hogwarts Philippines after I enrolled in the class of Miss Sangil.” 23-year-old Kitkat Torres, also told The Times.

Accused of practicing witchcraft

Sangil and the other members of Hogwarts Philippines, however, admit that despite all the mild mannered enjoyment they’ve been having through the series, they have encountered opposition and criticism. According to them, the cliché of judging a book by its cover remains present, with some people berating them for their taste in literature. Some even accuse them of practicing witchcraft.

“In preparation for the film release of Prisoner of Azkaban [the third Harry Potter book,] we had a story telling session for kids.” Sangil said. “Suddenly, there was this guy who said in a very condescending tone ‘So, that’s what you teach kids nowadays.’ I already knew what he meant when he said that, so I asked him if he has read the book and he said, ‘I don’t have to read the book. Look at you, you’re dressed in robes telling children about witchcraft.’ So I replied, ‘Sir, look at the kids, they’re having fun, they’re reading books, is that such a bad thing?’”

“I get the impression that sometimes, people think we get together to brew potions and cast spells. We don’t do that,” 22-year-old Rona Angeles said. “When we get together, sometimes, we rarely even talk about Harry Potter.”

“What’s unfair is that whenever most people judge Harry Potter, they would see a hundred page book and only see the cover,” 22-year-old Francis Romero also told The Times.

Romero said that critics of Harry Potter books don’t look beyond the magic of the boy wizard. In the process, these people don’t see the positive values Potter’s books impart to its readers.

The magic continues

As the sixth film adaptation of the Harry Potter makes its world debut in theaters today and in the Philippines Thursday, the fans of the boy wizard cannot help but share their excitement even though most of them have already read all seven books of the series.

Angeles said that somewhere along the line, Harry Potter stopped becoming a children’s movie and the characters became more human.

Now that the Harry Potter’s destiny has been decided with the publishing of the seventh book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and the film franchise is set to end in 2011, the boy wizard’s fans cannot help but accept that reality. But still they remain optimistic that the series can become a classic.

“Star Wars survived, right? It survived decades. Harry Potter can do that too. I’m not sure if it’s going to be something like Lord of The Rings but I definitely think that it will have a long shelf life,” de Ocampo said.

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