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Wow. So, what’s it been? Two and a half, nearly three years? Fairly certain my last blog post was in or around the summer of 2012. Any unfortunate soul that stumbled across, decided that they need some masochistic glorification in their life, and actually read my blog, must’ve thought that had I died; went into a witness protection programme; or just lost faith in my abilities and chose a new walk of life. Well, the latter I can confirm is true. The second point, I’m not allowed to comment more upon. And the first? I’m still working on the whole resurrection thing, but so far, no good.

So what’s happened with me, and what’s going to be happening with my blog? I’ll attempt to mount and divulge those two parts in, I suppose, two parts.

Last I was scribbling my inane ramblings, I was an English literature student in Bristol on line for scraping a pass in my degree, with an ambition for writing for a living in the employment realm of journalism. That genuinely was the plan. It didn’t turn out that way. I actually graduated with a 2:1 (for my American chums: one below the top grade). I’m still mounting enquiries into how that happened. I then started a career in writing and journalism, and sincerely got some stuff published. I worked at one or two institutions (the highlight being Front magazine: an alternative men’s lifestyle magazine in London with perks of meeting my favourite bands and gorgeous women), but it didn’t last long.

There are a couple of reasons for me ceasing my premature ambitions. The main one was, regrettably and predictably, security and money. I met practitioners in the role that I aspired to, earning nowhere near enough to sustain an existence in London and forced to working second and third jobs. There is a higher earning potential, but it involves relinquishing the love of writing, and entering more of the bureaucracy: something that I’m not interested in. Unless you’re highly gifted and get noticed, and I’m not of the view that I had that, that’s the way to survive by what I experienced.

So I needed something safer (so rock ‘n’ roll and boheme – I’m sorry Mr Kerouac! 😦 expect a lot of this post- rebellious lamentation of my succumbing to the ‘man’. It’s been a tough adjustment and I’m wholeheartedly not there yet and quietly still vehemently against it), and something that would still intellectually challenge and stimulate me and that I took enjoyment in.

Boom! Here I am, and somehow nearly a qualified lawyer. I know, right? Ridiculous. And slightly disingenuous to everything I’ve historically preached. But there we go. I had to do a three year law degree in nine months, law school, and somehow secure a two-year training contract (again, for those non-acquainted with the legal profession, an apprentice-esq position, which yields itself to around 1 in every 150 graduates) to qualify. I’m currently on the latter, in my second 6 month ‘seat’ working in Commercial Property and Corporate law, with a commute getting me in the office at 8am and leaving at 7pm. I’m not here to brag or bore anyone, I just wanted you to know how hard I’m working.

The second point is more lifestyle focussed.

I moved home (not cool) as that’s where the job is. I also lost a crazy amount of weight (36″ waist to 28″), did CrossFit, got a six-pack, and stopped CF and put half back on again. It wasn’t sustainable, or enjoyable. And now I’m working to get to a happy medium. I would think I’ll be posting about the odd health issue now and then, but be sured it’ll be anthropologically focussed rather than the generic boring waffle we’re used to across social media.

I also got engaged: mega- boom! Not even that: holy shit! As if someone agreed to put up with me for the rest of our lives? Pity the fuel, that she’ll need to progress. I hope someone gets that.

So here we are. I’ve gone from a porky, disorganised, self-sabotaging renegade (I’m not sure if that’s self-deprecating or insufferably arrogant), to a creatively tattooed, work conscious lawyer (ditto again). I suppose the point of my this post is as follows:

1. I’ve been meaning to get back on here and on track for a while. I currently do legal blog writing, but it’s not quite the same and I don’t intend to do it on here. However, I do think it helps giving me another string to my bow of ponderings.

2. I didn’t think I could just post again after such a long absence without an explanation, despite the glaring fact that I doubt many actually reading this.

3. It’s inevitable that the nature of my posts will change; my contention is that this would happen naturally (and here we are back to essentialism vs social constructivism: I told you my philosophical/English degree related posts weren’t through with – I’m still cool. HONEST!)  in a three year absence, but considering my alteration in life direction, this is even more likely. I anticipate less poems (if they ever qualified as much), and more ponderings. Sure, legal stuff may intrude: it’s my job, and has been my mind-set for nearly three years. However, this is not my ambition with this blog. I want it to continue to and nurture the facet of me that it manifested from. I intend that to continue. It’ll just be, different. And let’s face it: it couldn’t get much worse.

So here I am. If any of my old discipl…ahem, followers, are still out there and read this – comment and say hi! Let’s see what happens with this. I won’t be the prolific poster I was before, thanks to the obsessive job, but I intend to use this space to exorcise my creative demons which, despite being utilised in some areas of my work, perhaps are being ignored. To our mutual benefit I suspect.

So, as the title articulates: my apologies. But, I’m back.

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Perhaps one or two of you may have read that wonderful children’s story that is Tom’s Midnight Garden by Phillipa Pearce, perhaps you have not. If the answer is the latter I urge you to read it, whether it be to your children or to yourself or your pets (heretherebespiders I’m looking to you for this one) I implore you to read it. Great fun.

There is a chapter wherein Tom, the protagonist, is eager for answers to his questions to his impatient Uncle Alan. The book is a third person narrative and the narrator and implied author side with Tom and tell it from his point of view throughout. It is therefore interesting to see how the story may shape when told as a first person narrative, and not from the protagonist’s mind. Every bit of dialogue, event and physical movement of any kind is exactly as it happens within the novel, I have however added Alan’s inner monologue and interpreted his actions within the book as I see fit. If you own a copy of the original, it is best to refer back. If not, see paragraph above.

 

It wasn’t long after I returned home from work that Tom was at it again. Asking his questions I mean. I must confess that I had started to dread these evenings with the boy. His questions had certainly started to unnerve me slightly. It wasn’t as though I could not answer them, that would imply that logic had no place in his queries, and logic can always be found. It was more that I could not understand why a boy of his age would need to know the type of things he asked. It was not as though he had any real use for the information, and this left me quite resistant to answer them.

However, I do believe that children must be instructed in the right way and I was not about to deny Tom the right of hearing the correct answers to his albeit strange questions.

“Not unless you put the clock back.” I answered absentmindedly. It had been an extremely long day and answering his confounded questions proficiently was about all I could muster.

As little as I wished to be drawn into another fruitless and frustrating debate, I was still slightly bemused to note Tom’s reluctance to question me further.  However it had struck me that the nature of his questioning had been starting to alter. Since I had collected my nephew, he was inquisitive with obscure questions that I had merely put down to an over active imagination and a lax upbringing from my sister-in-law, but recently he had become most guarded in his answers of my own inquiries. This was one of those moments. He sat there in pretence of writing another secret letter to his brother, ridiculous of course as what secrets do children truly keep from adults? But there he sat and, in this odd and meticulous manner I have mentioned, was deeply considering how best to continue his questioning without revealing his purpose.

This type of behaviour irritated me greatly. I truthfully cared for the boy a great deal, and, since the intensely distressing news a time ago that made the possibility of having my own not a possibility at all, felt more attached to him than I think I wished to accept. It was because of this, perhaps, that I could not help my getting frustrated and, perhaps, a little impatient with the boy when he behaved in such a way. But that is what the boy needed. I am sure of it. His upbringing at home was far too soft, where he was left to spend whole days with his brother in an imaginary world. That sort of thing just won’t do for a growing boy, as it will be soon that something occurs to force him to see that imaginary worlds do not exist, and that our world is the only one that he will ever know.

“What clock?” Tom said.

His sudden question roused me from my painful memories and difficult deliberations.

“What did you say Tom?” I asked, in what I hope was a calm and welcoming tone.

“You said a tree could not be lying fallen at one time, and then be standing up again as it was before it fell, unless you put the clock back. What clock?”

“Oh, no particular clock.” I said. It frustrated me that the boy was not even giving me his full attention despite my willingness to answer such queer wonderings. But there he sat, scribbling on the letter he intended to send to his brother. I kept calm and continued. “It’s just a saying Tom,” I said, and could not help but keep a note of self-satisfaction from my voice, “to put the clock back. It means, to have the Past again, and no one can have that. Time isn’t like that.”

With that I returned to my reading. This question time had actually gone better than before and I felt like Tom and I had come slightly forward from its amicable nature. Perhaps he could be reasoned with more than I had thought. I had rather hoped that he and I might spend at least some time doing something together. But I was unaware what it was boys his age enjoyed doing. Perhaps Gwen was right, and that I got annoyed with Tom because I didn’t understand him. I had hoped to teach the boy chess, a game that required not only a degree of focus and skill that I wished Tom to adopt, but also a great degree of time wherein I might learn to understand my nephew a bit better. But my optimism was shortly lived.

What is Time like, Uncle Alan?” asked Tom.

I felt a twitch above my left eye. This was exactly the type of question I dreaded to hear from the boy. I mean what boy of his age wants to know these things? But nonetheless I would answer him, and as I placed my book upon the table firmly I decided to get to the bottom of these pensive moments of such an obscure nature.

Gwen had obviously noticed the danger signs as she spoke before I could.

“Tom,” said Gwen, “you shouldn’t always be asking such very odd questions of your uncle. He’s tired after his day’s work.”

“No, no, Gwen.” I answered calmly. “A child’s questions should certainly be answered. All I would object to Tom’s questions is their lack of connexion, and sometimes,” I paused, but decided this was important to add for Tom’s benefit. “of seriousness, too. Look at his first question: he asked whether it would be possible to go through a door-he actually asked how it would be possible!” I ended on a note that I hoped would help Tom to realise the sheer impossibility of the notion.

“Well!” exclaimed Gwen. “Well, that seems a very sensible idea-so sensible it’s almost silly!”

I turned to look at my wife with an expression that I feel barely masked my incredulity, which is probably why she staggered on desperately.

“You know what I mean-going through a door’s such an everyday happening.”

“Not when the door is shut.” I retorted, and I saw Gwen’s mind whirring to excuse Tom’s foolery further, but I continued. “Then Tom went on to ask about the invisibility-the invisibility-of a person like himself.” I said, emphasising the word to make it poignant enough that even Gwen’s wildest clamouring could not justify it. I was however, mistaken.

“Sometimes, in fairy stories-“ Gwen started but I could not let her continue, she would not excuse Tom any further. We would have this clear. As I started to continue I saw Tom too dismiss his Aunt. He shook his head stubbornly, which only fuelled the fires that caused me to battle with him.

“Any finally,” I pressed on with controlled menace, “we have this question about a tree’s being able to lie fallen one day, and then on the next day, against all the known laws of Nature-“

“It was a dream!” Gwen cried, “just a queer dream, wasn’t it, Tom?”

“No, it wasn’t!” Tom exclaimed with vigour. “It was real!”

“Indeed!” I purred with satisfaction. “So this tree has really existed-this extraordinary incident has really happened! Tell us where, Tom, and when.” I paused for a moment to savour Tom’s frustration. “Where and when, Tom?”

I looked to him but he sat, silently scribbling on his letter. Once again, here was this queer behaviour of Tom attempting to argue yet keep his secrets, whatever these could be!

“Come, Tom!”

“It was a fairy tree!” said Gwen; in an attempt to bring the conversation back the playground of safety that she liked to live in. However, the need for her to step in amused me. It seemed that after all Tom had no secrets left.

I couldn’t help a smile from escaping as I returned to my reading. “I am inclined to think you are right, after all, Gwen.” I said, and with that I saw I had touched a nerve.

“It fell in a storm.” Tom cried painfully. “Lighting struck it.”

It’s true I felt bad about the bitter satisfaction I had received at backing Tom into a corner. But his ridiculous stories and, in particular, the way he looked up at me now with piercing daggers in his eyes spurred my sarcastic demeanour towards him. The look he gave grated me; he had to understand he could not behave in such a way.

“And now Tom mustn’t speak again until he’s finished his letter to Peter, nor be interrupted!”

I felt the annoyance that had risen inside me like champagne shaken inside a sealed bottle sink with the tone of pleading in my wife’s voice. Perhaps she was right. I did not understand Tom, was that why I would lose my temper with him?

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Discuss the relationship between Gothic conventions and theory in one or two primary texts.

 

I intend to analyse the relationship between conventions and theory in H.G. Wells’ novel The Island of Dr Moreau. Despite being acknowledged as one of the first science-fiction novels, Wells was renowned for calling his novel a Scientific Romance and it employs many typical conventions linked to the gothic novel. These conventions in turn relate to several theories that have been covered this semester: for example the convention of a corpse being linked with the theory of abjection. It is my aim to discuss these theories and explore their relationship with the conventions within The Island of Dr Moreau through a close reading of the text.

The theory I would like to comment upon initially is the abhuman, and the subject of the abhuman is complex to define or classify due to its state of being in between two or more species. Kelly Hurley states in her definition that the abhuman is a ‘not-quite-human subject, characterized by its morphic variability, continually in danger of becoming not-itself, becoming other.’ (Hurley, 66) The abhuman body is therefore not one thing or the other, never completely human, simply a shadow of a human form, and consistently on the vestige of becoming another.

It is simple therefore, to see how certain elements and conventions within The Island of Dr Moreau adhere with the theory of the abhuman. A convention I wish to look closer at, in relation to the abhuman, is degeneration and its presence and effects throughout the text. Degeneration had stemmed from a lot of anxieties within Victorian society after the wide spread theories of Darwinism. Fears arose within society that whilst those within the human species could evolve, there was also a strong possibility that they could also devolve. Criminologists such as Cesare Lombroso began to study criminals to see signs of degeneration whilst social critics such as Max Nordau attacked western culture for becoming degenerate in its art and literature. Degeneration theories caused mass anxiety and uncertainty about human dignity and the human status and this sense of dethronement and of men losing their sense of mastery over nature, can be identified throughout the text and links closely with the theory of the abhuman.

One example of the abhuman, relating to degeneration within the text, would be the degeneration within the beast men living upon the island. A clear identification of the convention can be witnessed in the chase of the Leopard Man through the forest: ‘The thing was still clothed, and, at a distance, its face still seemed human, but the carriage of its four limbs was feline, and the furtive droop of its shoulder was distinctly that of a hunted animal.’ (Wells, 92) One can plainly recognize the shifting state and degeneration of the Leopard Man from human to animal. It is not merely the physical degeneration that is witnessed in this section, as the Leopard Man is being tried for his criminal actions that go against the law that Moreau has brainwashed his creations with. It is clear therefore that the creature has devolved and reverted back to his animalistic and uncivilised tendencies. Hurley mentions this type of degeneration as she describes Moreau’s inability to hone his skill; ‘his creatures approach humanness but inevitably revert, returning to the more compelling animal histories inscribed within their bodies.’ (Hurley, 68)

The convention of degeneration is also apparent in the human characters of the text; and in fact one can identify this degeneration at the very beginning of the text wherein Prendick is stranded on the lifeboat:

‘The lot fell upon the sailor, but he was the strongest of us and would not abide by it, and attacked Helmar with his hands…and the two fell upon the gunwale and rolled overboard together…I remember laughing at that and wondering why I laughed. The laugh caught me suddenly like a thing from without.’ (Wells, 8-9)

In this excerpt the men in the boat are reverting back to their animal instincts and considering cannibalism; it is also here where Prendick notices his own animalistic qualities that shift between his human instincts. This mark of the beast that Prendick notices on the abhuman creatures on the island he then becomes to recognise upon himself, feeling the sense of dethronement and status and allowing him to identify the initial and uncanny terror he feels when confronted with them.

‘Suddenly, as I watched their grotesque and unaccountable gestures, I perceived clearly for the first time what it was that had offended me…The three creatures engaged in this mysterious rite were human in shape, and yet human beings with the strangest air about them of some familiar animal.’ (Wells, 42)

This point aids my progression onto the theory of the uncanny that relates closely with the conventions within the text that correlate to the abhuman. The uncanny describes the sense that is felt when one encounters something unknown in the realm of something they know: a feeling of familiarity in the face of uncertainty. It is a state of fluctuating dwelling that resides in between the realms of that which is known and that which is unknown. The uncanny is widely prominent within Gothic novels and an example of this could be the convention of the corpse, as it resembles a living person but not the person it was in life and therefore is uncannily terrifying to those who behold it. Numerous conventions within The Island of Dr Moreau embody the uncanny, as I had noted with Prendick’s uncanny sense when encountering the beast men and his recognition of the mark of the beast on himself. It is this sense that I wish to continually draw upon as a convention within the novel: the sense and convention of terror.

It has been suggested that terror is a convention widely associated with female Gothic writers as opposed to horror, as it is usually credited to male authors. It is an interesting identification then, to witness Wells’ novel displaying numerous applications of terror throughout the text. As opposed to horror, terror is the fear that is manifested and dealt with in the mind instead of the fear of external gore and threat. One of the examples within the text displaying this convention and its relationship with the uncanny is Prendick’s reaction to the beast people and his terror of seeing a reflection of himself within them. Another prominent example of both the convention of terror and its relation to the theory of the uncanny is Prendick’s initial encounter with the Leopard Man. Not only does Wells communicate the protagonist’s overwhelming fear within his mind, but he also indicates the reasoning as being due to his feeling of the uncanny.

‘So nervous was I that I controlled an impulse to headlong flight with the utmost difficulty…What on earth was he-man or animal? What did he want with me? I had no weapon, not even a stick. Flight would be madness…I was anxious not to show the fear that seemed chilling my backbone.’ (Wells, 43)

This uncontrollable fear that Prendick feels mentally is not from the stimulation of blood or other horrific conventions but is due to the sensation he feels when looking at the creature. It is one of recognition without full comprehension and outlines the key principles of the uncanny.

Prendick’s terror grows further as he begins to feel himself devolving and the uncanny fear he experiences as he is presented with the likeness between humans and the beast people. He also experiences the uncanny terror of realising that the mark of the beast is not solely within the beast people he has encountered. Prendick’s animal nature and similarity with the beast people is clearly referenced to when he and Montgomery address the Ape Man and the Satyr:

“Was he not made?” said the Ape Man. “He said-he said he was made.”

The Satyr Man looked curiously at me. “The Third with the whip, he that walks into the sea, has a thin white face.”

“He has a long thin whip,” said Montgomery.

“Yesterday he bled and wept,” said the Satyr. “You never bleed nor weep. The Master does not bleed nor weep.”

“He says nothing,” said the Satyr. “Men have voices.”

“Yesterday he asked me of things to eat,” said the Ape Man. “He did not know.” (Wells, 86)

It is here that one can see Prendick’s animalistic qualities being directly addressed by the beast people. It is clear that Prendick’s fears are due to the similarities he is witnessing between himself and the beast people. Hurley comments upon this in her work by stating that ‘Prendick’s symptoms of nausea and uncanniness…draw him into a relation of likeness with the beast people. The beast people are uncanny because they remind Prendick…of himself.’ (Hurley, 69) This shows the blending of both human and beast, a further reference to both the abhuman and the uncanny, and a strong example of the convention’s relationship with these theories.

The terror of Prendick’s sense of uncanny follows him back to London and the end of the novel provides evidential support to the link between terror and the uncanny. Prendick returns to London, but is haunted by the memories of his terror that befell him upon Moreau’s island. The terror he feels is once again due to his experience of the uncanny:

‘Though I do not expect the terror of that island will ever altogether leave me…I look about at my fellow men. And I go in fear. I see faces keen and bright…others unsteady…I feel as though the animal was surging up around them; that presently the degradation of the Islanders will be played over again…’ (Wells, 130)

Here Prendick fears the same degeneration, as he sees glimpses of the beast people within the people of London. It is this same feeling of terror when confronted with the unfamiliar amongst the familiar. One could also argue that this also relates to Freud’s theory of the unconscious, as Prendick feels the terror of realising there is a part of the human mind that cannot be accessed and that is uncontrollable which consequently unsettles his identity. The convention of terror therefore, is a fear that takes place within the individual’s head, as opposed to its counterpart, horror where the fear is physical.

The convention of horror that features consistently throughout the text is linked to the theory of the abject which is the last theory I will discuss. The abject is, at least in relation to the convention, matter that used to be in ones body and now is not. It is therefore not serving its original purpose and now remains devoid of purpose. For example, when blood ceases to reside in the body, it loses its original purpose and becomes the abject. Horror is the key convention within The Island of Dr Moreau and the descriptions of the vivisection of the animals and beast men provide an effective display of abjection. An useful example of this would be the description of Moreau’s laboratory when Prendick forces entry into it: ‘There was blood, I saw, in the sink, brown and some scarlet, and I smelled the peculiar smell of carbolic acid…I saw something bound painfully upon a framework, scarred, red and bandaged.’ (Wells, 50) This graphic and grotesque description of the senses of sight and smell, in addition to the blood, is a prevalent convention within Gothic literature and one that accurately outlines the abject.

The scene of the laboratory ties in with my last point and convention that highlights the abject, this is the convention of the mad scientist and the novel both conforms to and challenges the abject. Dr Moreau certainly appears, at first, to fit the requirements of the mad scientist: he is obsessed with his work, he lives in his laboratory, he has been expelled from society for his vivisection and additionally possesses a malicious and cruel nature. However, Wells’ picture of Moreau is ambiguous and through this he further highlights the anxieties of his society. There is definite evidence to support the theory that he is not altogether insane, for example he bans the majority of people from his laboratory and this indicates that he is aware of societies negative view of his work and in addition to this he is highly scientific. It is here that Wells draws upon societies fears as there were heated debates at the time of the text’s publication concerning vivisection and the fears that the secrecy of science was leading to a detrimental effect on the moral implications of the work carried out: the laboratory had become an institution and society could no longer understand or be a part of their work. However, the graphic descriptions of Moreau’s sadistic and seemingly insane experiments not only support the convention of the mad scientist, but also continually employ the theory of abjection.

To conclude, I have discussed in relevant detail a selection of the theories surrounding H.G. Wells’ The Island of Dr Moreau, including the abhuman, the uncanny and the abject. I have additionally explored a number of Gothic conventions applied within the text and commented upon their relationships with the former theories. Through this I have identified that the views of society within the time that the novel was written have a strong effect on the novels conventions and content, and I have noted how Wells has used relevant theory to expand upon these fears and anxieties.

 

Bibliography

Bennett, Andrew & Royle, Nicholas. An Introduction to Literature and Theory. Pearson: Harlow. 2009.

 

Freud, Sigmund. “The Uncanny”, Gothic Literature Module Reader (Bristol: Department of English, Writing and Drama, UWE, 2011) 45-55

Hurley, Kelly. “The Gothic Body”, Gothic Literature Module Reader (Bristol: Department of English, Writing and Drama, UWE, 2011) 66-69.

Wells, H.G. The Island of Dr Moreau. Penguin: London. 2005.

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So this isn’t particularly the way I would want to write this review, I’d like to do it with a bit more opinion and a bit more attitude (a.k.a: vulgarity) but it was for Uni so I had to stick to their rubric rigidly!

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two

To produce an effective review of a film adapted from a book there are certain aspects to consider. Two of the central points are the degree to which the film stays loyal to the book and how this affects the outcome of the end product and its quality as a film. It is my opinion that the final instalment of the blockbuster “Harry Potter” series, directed by David Yates and based on the books by J.K. Rowling, is a poor display of both aspects despite its general success and positive reception from fans and critics alike.

A key factor to consider when discussing the adaptation of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two is the fidelity of said adaptation, and the reasons behind the choices made that deviate from the original novel. The alterations within this adaptation may be split into certain categories and possible reasons behind the choices made I can account for, yet, I feel they are still to the film’s detriment.

The first reason for the film’s lack of fidelity is the transition of medium from book to film. This has never proven to be a simple journey and one that rarely is successful which is proven in this adaptation. The foremost reason for this is that when concerning films, one is presented with the issue of running time, which is quite a crucial limit that is absolutely devoid from literature. Therefore it is not only understandable but imperative to edit sections of the original book and either alter or eradicate the sections that are least instrumental in the direction of the film. This is however in my opinion, poorly advised in the film and certainly acts as one of its major downfalls. Examples of this such as the characterisation and plot deviations within the film undoubtedly are due to this. However, the issue that I present here is that they present a direct threat to the quality of the film and are unwisely chosen to be removed compared to more visually entertaining or crowd-pleasing scenes. An accurate example of this is at the beginning of the narrative. Harry is talking to Griphook the goblin and discussing the favour he requires from him. Griphook inquires where Harry procured the sword of Godric Gryffindor to which Harry shrugs the question off, eliminating any explanation that could be needed for viewers unfamiliar with the story or previous films. This is echoed in Phillip French’s review in The Observer:

“How did you come by the sword?”, referring to the Excalibur-like weapon retrieved from the bottom of a lake in The Deathly Hallows: Part 1. “It’s complicated,” replies a desperately tired, unwashed Harry, who rapidly dispenses with anything that might be described as a synopsis of preceding events, leaving people who don’t know their Horcruxes from their Dementors to muggle through. (French)

The characterisation is as severely altercated as the plot and is ultimately due to the medium and its restraints. Poorly adapted characters can be seen in the form of Harry himself, Voldemort, Dumbledore, Hagrid and a long list of others. Key attributes of their personalities are either poorly translated or ignored completely within the film, supposedly due to the restraints of running time. In particular is the character of Hagrid. As a main and integral character, it is strange to me that he is absent from the majority of the film, when the book features him predominantly. The vitality of characterisation is so the audience may identify with the characters and build up an understanding of their actions and behaviour. This is nearly irrevocably lost in the film and severely damages its quality. Without a strong bond between character and viewer there is no concern for the character’s safety and in a type of storyline, like the one in question, this is vital. The lack of characterisation causes there to be a lack of emotive response from the viewer. An example of this is the many deaths that occur within the narrative that pass without an excessive amount of grief from its viewer. This is the opposite reaction to the book, where instead of feeling as if someone close to them had been killed, one is left with the feeling of indifference. This is something which I for one am certain was not the intended response.

On the other hand, film as a medium does have its advantages against the book in some ways. Worth mentioning is the fact that it is one hundred percent visual as it can employ techniques such Computer Generated Images (CGI) to bring the magic, quite literally in this case, to life. When compared to literature one can identify that Rowling, who is limited to using her command of language to illustrate the vision for the reader, did not have this benefit. However in a film wherein the special effects and CGI have the budget and a real opportunity to flourish and rescue the film it does not seem to quite manage that either. A scene that is most memorable for this would be the part where Harry, Ron and Hermione are racing for their lives on broomsticks away from the ‘FiendFyre’; a fire created by dark magic that resembles fiery, mythological beasts and that destroys everything in its path. Once again viewers were disappointed, as the CGI employed in this scene did not only quite plainly resemble CGI but CGI that was being used seven years ago.

A second explanation for the choices concerning the films fidelity is that of its target audience. Despite the books being thoroughly enjoyed by all ages it is predominantly a children’s novel and this could not be truer in respect for the film. Being a children’s film, there are certain scenes that to depict visually and explicitly would incur the BBFC rating of the film to rise, allowing only an audience of mid-teenagers and above to view it. As a children’s film this is not possible, and despite the fact that the film would have, in my opinion, been far deeper, hard-hitting and emotionally successful, it would have excluded its target audience. An example where this factor could have been in mind when making directive selections could be the scene in Gringotts bank, where the treasure in the vault merely duplicates rather than additionally becoming blistering and smouldering as it is in the book. The viewing of three teenagers drowning and suffocating under scorching hot metal by children is clearly one that could distress. It is interesting to note, conversely, that on the children’s edition of the book the front cover actually depicts them in the burning metal, with clear signs of scorching on their skin. There seems to be a constant attempt throughout the film to create a dark and raw adventure film balanced with a light-hearted children’s film that is not succeeded. By making a decisive move in one direction the film would have been much more of success in either category. However, that would have cut down on its wide appeal and, ergo, cut down on its profit.

Another example of the film’s unfaithfulness to the novel can be witnessed through the sligthly cheapening moments throughout the film. Numerous examples are seen at the final phase of the film, for example certain lines from characters such as Professor McGonagall played by renowned actress Maggie Smith. After a well-delivered line from the book and surrounding a very nicely shot scene, the characteristically strict and severe teacher admits a girl-like giggle and proclaims that; ‘I’ve always wanted to use that spell!’ This choice of basic humour not only destroys the character of McGonagall but also destroys the desperately sought after foreboding and thrilling tone that the film so badly requires yet, so frequently, relinquishes. This one of several examples of the unbecoming tone and cheapening of the movie, yet it is it is not the acting that causes these issues. The film is rich in acting with only minor disappointments; it is the adaptation that causes these moments to appear so cheap and lifeless.

A further display of infidelity that undermines the film’s quality is the display of poor continuity that must surely be down to differing judgement. The prolonged fight between Voldemort and Harry for example, which has previously been declared in the film and books as impossible. Snape’s death scene being needlessly in a completely different location also certainly falls into this category. They display lack of continuity and alterations to the original plot for the mere sake of doing so. Something that I feel is worth noting for continuity failure is that in the final phase of the film, the character Gregory Goyle is now both a totally different actor and race to the previous films. Choices like this are amongst many that leave one confused to say the least.

Perhaps more understandable deviations from the original novel applied in the adaptation, are that of the movements away from a considerable amount of the themes and symbolism within the book. Critics and fans have often been heard to identify religious symbolism within the series, most commonly associated with Christianity and the New Testament of the Bible. It is perhaps understandable therefore why the direction of the film is to remain more neutral on this topic to, once again, remain appealing to a wider audience and eliminate the risk of offence. This could then explain the hasty progression through the scene where, in the book, Harry theoretically rises from the death of a martyr.

In conclusion, it is due to the varied reasons that I have stated in this review that as an adaptation, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two fails to be wholly accurate and that its infidelity is to its detriment, not just in its quality as an adaptation, but as a film also.

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