Some of you may need to sit down for the revelation that I spent a large part of this afternoon sitting in an otherwise empty cinema with a large Sprite and a bag of sweet popcorn, watching Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. If you had told me a couple of years ago that I would not just voluntarily but delightedly do such a thing, I would have thought you were insane. How times have changed.
The thing is that up until an indefinable point last year, I was more than a little bit resistant to the whole Harry Potter thing. I didn’t actively hate it or anything so strenuous as that, I was just a. adamant that I wasn’t interested in fantasy or science fiction (this is true – I loathe both) b. not really into the whole ‘wizard’ thing (admit it, you can see me making little finger indents around the word ‘wizard’ – oh look, I did it again!) and c. I already have a To Read Pile that would turn most people’s hair white so why would I add a bunch of huge tomes that I’m not really all that interested in to the list?! Why would I do that to myself? Why?
I was pretty resolute this, despite the fact that one by one my friends succumbed to the lure of Hogwarts and had frenzied conversations about which house they’d be in; dire crushes on Snape/Cedric/Weasleys/Remus/Sirius and, oh, well you get the idea. In the meantime I had to put up with accusations of everything from being a pretentious literary snob (au contraire, I think you will find) to illiterate just because of not really wanting to read some books that I honestly didn’t think I would enjoy.
‘It’s not really fantasy!’ fans would wail at me as I remained cross armed and resolute about being a Potter Free Zone. ‘It’s got wizards in it!’ I replied. ‘That sounds a bit like fantasy to me!’
Those days are almost behind me now. I say ‘almost’ because I still haven’t read a single Harry Potter book but I really do love the films. According to some people this is Very Bad And Shouldn’t Be Allowed but I care not. I came to them pretty late obviously but a couple of cold Sunday afternoons spent watching the series with my children managed to do the impossible and convert me to the world of Potter and his chums and yes, the people who said it wasn’t really fantasy are right. Despite the wizards. And the werewolf, flying cars, merpeople and all the rest of it.
Which leads me to this afternoon’s adventure. After watching each film a few times over, I came to realise that The Goblet of Fire was my favourite (I know, right, I have a favourite Harry Potter film!) and felt a little pang of regret that I had not started liking Harry Potter in time to see it at the cinema. Naturally, then, when Cineworld announced that they were going to screen each film every day in the run up to the release of Deathly Hallows Part 2, I leaped at the chance to see My Favourite on a big screen and immediately booked a ticket.
Only afterwards did I reflect that perhaps I had made a mistake – I was planning to voluntarily watch a film on my own while surrounded by Harry Potter fans, possibly in costume. Surely this was a step too far? However, in the event, I rolled up this afternoon and walked into a totally empty cinema, which was both mortifying and marvellous at the same time.
In the end, I kicked off my shoes, lounged in my seat and pretended that I was at my very own private screening and it was every bit as amazing as I hoped it would be. Better in fact. I’m not sure why I love The Goblet of Fire so much but I think it’s because of the fact that it is so action packed and yet at the same time tender; tragic and also funny; dark yet also sweet. I think I love everything about it – even Robert Pattinson (oh, who am I kidding?) and Jarvis Cocker (it took me a while to realise that it is him). It even makes me cry, so I think that means that I have come full circle now and might as well just admit that I’m a Harry Potter fan after all.
I really should read the books now, shouldn’t I? I’m not sure if I’m quite ready to don a Gryffindor uniform and go and see the next one at midnight on its release date though. Or am I..?