Live By The Sword


Funny T-Shirts, Geeky shirts, Doctor who parody shirts, Team Edward James Olmos shirt, Groverfield Shirt, Sci-Five Star Trek Parody T-Shirt in The HijiNKS ENSUE Store

The newly relaunched HE Store is up and running over at Blind Ferret. Please go check it out and maybe buy a book or a shirt or something. Shirts will be shipping after we all get back from Comic-Con.

I saw Deathly Hallows Part 2 over the weekend with my wife. This is the first Harry Potter movie (maybe the 2nd) we’ve seen together since she finished reading the entire series. We’ve always been super compatible. We never argue, we want the same things, we like the same shows, but now… now that she’s ready Harry Potter… I feel like we finally speak the same language. We finally understand each other. [Some joking may have been involved in that last statement. Some.]

Despite the 4 year old kicking the back of my seat for nearly the entire film (SERIOUSLY?! Who brings a 4 year old to a movie with such nightmare inducing imagery and extreme violence? Way to go awesome parents!), I was completely satisfied with the ending to franchise. As the comic above shows (in stark contrast to my sentiments from this comic), Neville finally came into his own as a character. There has always been this shadow over his head of “I could have totally been the chosen one, if Voldemort had carried the 1 instead of dividing by 2.” He lived through an equally life shattering childhood tragedy and the only real difference between him and Harry was that everyone was constantly telling Harry how great he was and/or trying to kill him. Neville might have made a better chosen one than Mr. Potter had he been given the chance, but that sort of illustrates the point of the entire story, isn’t it? Harry wasn’t all that special until Voldemort made him special. Who we are and who people think we are/expect us to be are rarely the same person. Harry’s entire life was a series of terrible things happening and him somehow trying to find the will to move forward. The only way to know if Neville would have made the choices or “done it in 4 books” instead of 7, would be to go back 18 years and have Voldemort visit his house instead of Harry’s. Weird rant: over.

The thing I love so much about Harry Potter is that it makes me think about things like the previous paragraph. It makes me dwell on character motivations, strengths, flaws, etc. I think the hallmark of a great story is how many questions you ask after finishing it, not out of frustration, but out of a desire to know more about the world you were just visiting. For instance, just 2 days ago I had a conversation on twitter about why Draco is such a miserable piece of shit. Now that the movies are done I feel the same sort of diminished anticipation I did after finishing the books. A sort of “now what?” type of emptiness.

A few things about the movie itself: Every single time Raplh Fiennes opens his mouth, his presence dominates the scene. Ever line he delivers has such gravitas. The way he delivers the killing curse is so guttural and powerful. Kind of like, “AVARDAGHHH KADAAAGHGHGHGHGH!!!!” CG enyoungened Snape is not NEARLY as creepy has CG enyoungened Jeff Bridges. CG/Prosthetically beoldended Harry looked pretty decent. Ginny still looked 12. I know wizards just pretend technology doesn’t exists, but if just one of them picked up a gun I have a feeling the duels wouldn’t last nearly as long. Speaking of duels: the “clashing wands” green and red effect from these movies is one of my favorite special effects of all time. It carries so much more impact that “my light beam and your light beam are stuck together.” It’s like molten rock spilling out of the air. Just perfect. Are there wizarding public schools? These fancy Hogwarts kids only see their family’s for 2 months out of the year for 7 years. That seems insane.

I cried at least 4 times during Deathly Hallow Part 2. I’m so glad they broke this one up rather than leave a ton of essential plot elements out. It was a really fantastic end to the series.

San Diego Comic-Con is this week! I will be with Ryan and Lar and Danielle at the Blind Ferret Booth [Booth 1332] in the Webcomic area. I will have books 1 and 2, prints, sketch cards, stickers and nearly all of my shirts.

If you are going to be at the show, please come by booth 1332 and say hi. I will be the one going on 2 hours of sleep and propping my self up against Lar deSouza.

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    • Meh, you're not missing much.

      That's right – GASP – I have a dissenting opinion. The Harry Potter movies pretty much leave me with the face Eli is sporting in the second panel up there. I haven't read the books – yet – and the movies pretty much don't make any sense without them. I know all the Potterheads love them, but you shouldn't need to read the book to follow the movie. That's a huge artistic failure. (Though, clearly not a financial one. Deathly Hallows 2 should keep WB afloat until Dark Knight Rises gives them another cash injection next summer. After that… Well, they might have to come up with an original idea. Good luck with that.)

      I really enjoyed Prisoner Of Azkaban, though. Hated Goblet Of Fire, the first two are way too Chris Columbusy, and the rest get a solid MEH.

      • I'm with you, although I HAVE read the books. Like a bazillion times. Which may in fact be where my disappointment stems from. Books=fantasticsuperawesomebrillianttimes, movies=…movies..with (YEAH I'M GONNA SAY IT) incredibly mediocre acting and somewhat shoddy plot development. This particular rant could go on for days, but I will leave it at that for now. Without the books as background, the movies are pretty bad, WITH the books, the movies are disappointing.

        And for the record, this is 100% opinion. I would like to think that is obvious, but I've been around the internet enough to know that that won't stop people from telling me I'm wrong. I'm not saying if you like the movies you're dumb. I'm just saying *I* don't like them. More power to you if you can enjoy them.

        • I agree with you for the acting: for me, the best actors I've seen in the entire series were the people impersonating Harry, Ron and Hermione on disguise, infiltrating the Ministry of Magic, in the Deathly Hallows part 1. Oh, and Helena Bonham Carter when she impersonates Hermione on disguise in the second part. Damn, she's brilliant…

      • I felt a little that they took the easy way in terms of story. The opposite approach of Transformers 3. At every opportunity they put on a spectacle. I dunno, I just enjoy the spectacle and if Harry Potter used the 3 deathly hallows as a 'super weapon' that would have been more entertaining (and less realistic) I think.

    • I think it's that horribly gaudy decorative carpeting all movie theaters seem to have on their doors. and walls. and ceilings.

  1. I'm sad that most of my friends who are Harry Potter fans are squeamish around foul language, because that will prevent me from sharing with them the pure awesomeness that is this strip.

  2. "(SERIOUSLY?! Who brings a 4 year old to a movie with such nightmare inducing imagery and extreme violence? Way to go awesome parents!)"

    That's nothing. I made my date and I move to different seats when two people brought a child of about that age in to The Sixth Sense. And I think we had a similar experience with Red Dragon.

    WHO DOES THIS? I mean, besides stupid people.

    • I remember walking out after The Dark Knight for the first time and saw a couple of tweens toddling out w/ chaperones/parents. Now THAT was shellshock.

    • In the case of Sixth Sense, they probably think "Oh, there's a child in the leading role, so it -must- be kid friendly!"
      That's all I got. *shrugs*

      With Transformers the line is more of a blur though. All the cartoons and merchandise are marketed towards children. How are parents who weren't there themselves to know that Transformers 3 Dark Of The Moon is aimed more at the now-adult members of the first generation's fandom? I think that's part of why the films failed actually. They tried to make it appeal to both children AND adults, and in the process divided by zero.

  3. Someone brought an infant (I wasn't close enough to gauge the age) to the showing I went to. It was an IMAX theater with four hundred seats, meaning there were three hundred and ninety-eight people pissed off when it cried several times at quieter points in the movie. It's so utterly selfish to ruin things for everyone else (not to mention potentially harm to the kid, depending on film content) because you can't get a sitter or, in the case of kickers, control the kid. I can't even fathom being that kind of parent.

  4. I've always wanted to ask J.K. Rowling if Neville could have, in fact, done it in four books.
    I wonder how much his character would change if, instead of knowing his parents as two people who were driven insane, they were dead for most of his life and he had only heard stories of them as war heroes.

    I almost want an alternate universe series with him as The Boy Who Lived, but I kinda feel like that would be milking it a little too hard.

  5. I………….Everything you said.
    The great thing with Neville is that I had been rooting for him for so long without really even realizing it. He was such a pitiable little underdog in the beginning, and then he just kept popping up (and GROWING up), good old Neville. By the time the story came to it's peak and we find him leading the charge it's so gratifying. And so right.
    I only had one lament regarding the movie and that was the rather thin exposure to the last moments with Fred and George. Their fate was a Wash-style gut punch for me when reading the books and I was a little disappointed not to see them get a little more time.
    Finally, how bonkers gorgeous was that dragon?? It's effects like that that make me SO GRATEFUL they didn't make this movie even just 10 years ago. Tragic and beautiful.
    Fantastic ending. Kinda wish there didn't have to be one.

  6. Agree with Maggie on the Fred thing – while it did make me cry in the cinema it wasn't nearly as heartrending as the book version (and I don't think it would have taken *much* longer to film the book way).

    I really enjoyed it and could see why they made the changes they did – unlike some of the other films . The only thing I wish they'd done differently is the final snake scene with Neville – the torture bit gives you the impression that Neville's going to be defeated/pushed back to his previous ineffectual persona just before he gets the sword – this way it was a bit too…easy? I also loved the fact that Neville comes out and says how he feels about Luna in the film. That was lovely.

  7. the way it was written in the book and shown in the movie, Neville clearly was the go to man while Harry was shell shocked. Besides everyone knew Ginny was all "I'm Harry's woman" so Neville had the rest of the school to score from with kick ass pick up lines. Damn, Matthew Lewis should have dressed like a pimp to the last premire

  8. How's this for being lost: My friends took me to see it and I've never read the books, only seen bits and pieces of the other movies, and never even saw Part 1.

    While I enjoyed all of the effects and loved Ralph Fines' and Alan Rickman's performances, I thought the plot was near incomprehensible. All of the plot devices seemed like ass-pulls (or hat-pulls). I know they all make sense in context; a car full of Potter fans already explained why things didn't happen for no reason, but it shouldn't take four people an hour to tell you why a sword came out of a hat or why someone would take the only thing keeping them alive into the middle of a fight.

    So, here's my question: Is it fair to judge a movie like this based on its stand-alone merits, or is it fair to say that a movie that requires you to read seven books and watch seven movies is asking too much?

    • I don't think that requiring you to have read the books or seen the other movies is too much in this case. Not at all. It's the EIGHTH movie, for heaven's sake. Who's going to start watching now?

      Basically, to make it more understandable for non-fans would require them to remove a huge amount of content, thereby ruining it for the fans, and sticking in exposition and descriptions which would be quite useless for most of the audience. The fans are the largest part of the audience, the fans are the ones who will buy the special editions and such if/when they make them, the fans are the ones buying the shoddy merchandise, and the fans are the ones who are more likely to pay to see it properly. The fans are the ones they need to be pandering to in this series.

      But really, there simply are not that many people who are going to go see the eighth movie in a series without some foreknowledge of the world in which it's placed. I don't think that is wrong. Anyone who expected it to be easy to follow was being ridiculous, quite honestly.

      • I have to be honest…I tried to read the first HP book at the urging of an ex, and I just *couldn't* get into it. And I've read so many Trek novels I can argue canon v. non-canon over the past 30 years between the serieses/movies and novels…and I've read so much cruddy pulp sci-fi (and some fantasy) that I've lost track as well, and some of those have been turned into really bad movies I'm embarassed to have seen.

        That being said, I really enjoyed the HP movies, and I've seen them all, but I do think you need to watch them, or know a general synopsis, to know what's going on. If you don't have a general idea of who's who, what's what, you wind up with something like Transformers 3: The Dark Side of Michael Bay's Retirement Plan.

        I think it's fair to yourself, both in terms of your time, money and general enjoyment, to do a smidgen of reading on that thar intarwebzes thing the kids use to learn about a complicated series-ending movie you're going to see…why limit your enjoyment or understanding of it?

    • Considering it was the 8th film wrapping up one long continuous and complicated story, I don't believe it's unfair of it to require that you have some prior knowledge before going into it. I think in this particular case, with this story, it's almost impossible for that movie to be separated from it's predecessors, regardless of the books. It was never intended to stand on it's own, so it can't really be judged on it's own for story content.
      I would say the most that you could fairly judge it on would be the performances (which you mention) and the effects/music/etc.
      I'm surprised you decided to watch it with so little exposure beforehand. Do you think you'll be interested now in going back to fill in the gaps? Or was this viewing experience so off kilter that it kind of killed it for you?

      • If I don't read them, it won't be for lack of availability. I've already had numerous offers from friends to lend me their collections. However, I just finished one 14 book series, in the middle of a 7 book series, and already have plans to start another 6 book series after I finish. The movies didn't turn me off to the books, but they're just lower priority now that I know what happens at the end.

    • Without wanting to jump all over you and/or join in any 'bashing' you might be feeling, even if this wasn't the 8th film in the series, it is Part 2 of a two part story. Even without the previous 6 movies you should have at least watched Part 1 of a two-part series.

      And you didn't need to watch the series AND read the books you could have done either.

    • No matter how you cut it apart it's really not a standalone story. If you're looking for a self contained narrative there simply must be better options.

  9. I really don't feel that you're "required" to have read all the books to follow the movies. I have a hell of a time blocking out enough time to read an entire novel these days, so I've read only "Sorcerer's Stone." Once. Ten years ago. And of the films, I've seen only "Sorcerer's Stone" and "Deathly Hallows Pt. 1."
    Now, granted, I do read "Entertainment Weekly" and "Time" and "Rolling Stone" and I'm on the Internet, so I've got a pretty good idea of all the key plot points (the same thing happened with "Lost," where I watched the pilot and half the second episode and still felt like I could have jumped in anytime during the series).

  10. I'd disagree with the statement about Neville coming into his own. I'd argue (and it's clearer here:… that he got cheated when he confronted Voldemort. Instead of giving an awesome speech and the whipping the sword out to kill the snake like a bad ass, Harry comes back to life in front of everyone and Neville get's blasted back into the castle. Sure, he eventually kills the snake, but it would have been much more awesome the way it was done in the book.

  11. You make me want to go see the movie, and I haven't made an effort to see an HP movie since Goblet of Fire.

  12. We had a mother who brought several young children to the theatre. They appeared to range from ages 10, 5, 3, and a 6 months. For the last 1/2 of the movie, she was watching the movie from the rampway with the youngest 2 and you could hear the baby babbling away. That was special.
    I will admit that I read only the first book and have seen all of the movies. I've been able to follow the movies ok without reading the books. I was a little confused at this last movie about some details, but my daughter was happy to straighten me out.

  13. I got a print and a signed copy of fancy bastards today at comicon and i would just like to say Joel is a nice guy, and his deep voice and sexy beard was the highlight of my day.

  14. "I know wizards just pretend technology doesn’t exists, but if just one of them picked up a gun I have a feeling the duels wouldn’t last nearly as long."

    That just gave me a vivid mental image, of a wizard waving a wand around and chanting, while Harrison Ford watches, pulls out a gun, shots them and walks away.

    Harry Potter/Indiana Jones mashup= unexpected awesome.

  15. Wait, you can spoil the Harry Potter movie? How does that work? The books been out for five years and was a cultural sensation. Within two days of its' release the events were common knowledge. You could literally stop someone at a gas station, ask him what he thought of the events surrounding Dobby in that book, and he would have an opinion that he'd be eager to share.

    I had to lock down all the communications tech and physically shut myself away from friends and family in the time period surrounding that release in order to maintain ignorance. You couldn't take five steps outside the hourse without overhearing a conversation about it.

    How are there still people who don't know what happens in this movie?

  16. the "only seeing their parents for two months a year for seven years" is actually pretty common for British Boarding Schools

  17. "Now that the movies are done I feel the same sort of diminished anticipation I did after finishing the books. A sort of “now what?” type of emptiness."

    If you haven't checked out A Very Potter Musical… I'd recommend it to anyone with a case of Post-Potter Depression. It has a slow start, but give it a chance. If your not laughing by the time Voldemort and Quirrell sing their duet, go ahead and stop watching.

    • Post-Potter Depression

      Potterheads with this condition suffer despondency, tearfulness, feelings of inadequacy, guilt, anxiety, irritability and fatigue. Physical symptoms include headaches, numbness, chest pain and hyperventilation. A Potterhead with PostPotter depression may regard the Potter Franchise with ambivalence, negativity or disinterest. An adverse effect on the bonding between the Potterhead and the Potter Franchise may result. Because this syndrome is still poorly defined and under studied, it tends to be under reported. Estimates of its occurrence range from 3% to 20% of movie goers and book readers. The depression can begin at any time between the last episode and 6 months post-viewing, and may last up to several months or even a year.

      Post Potter psychosis is a relatively rare disorder. The symptoms include extreme confusion, fatigue, agitation, alterations in mood, feelings of hopelessness and shame, hallucinations and rapid speech or mania. Studies indicate that it affects only one in 1000 exposed to either the books or the movies.

    • Another thing you can do is check out Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality. Yes, it's a fanfic; yes, it's not finished yet; yes, it's now longer than the first four books put together and they're in spring of the first year. It is, however, filled with crack and awesome. See, Petunia didn't marry that Dursely fellow; instead, she married an Oxford biochemist and Harry grew up surrounded by books and SCIENCE and love…

      If you had any questions to yourself at all about "WHY didn't they go into this bit further" or "Why does everyone just _accept_ that transport takes place via fireplaces and you can't escape from Azkaban" or "Shouldn't someone have tried doing science to all this magic stuff at some point?", then this is the story for you. (Note: everyone, not just Harry, gets an intelligence upgrade, and a slightly different set of characters is focussed on. You'll like it anyway.)
      (also: most-reviewed Potter fanfic on the Internet by a good bit. Read the reviews too…)


  18. I was pissed at the movie. I love Neville. I felt he got shafted in the movie. That sappy speech was nowhere near as awesome as how he said "SUCK IT" to Voldemort in the book. The movie just kept denying Neville his due. I got into more detail about it in my review,…. Between Neville and the way Fred's death was handled, I was not happy. I totally expected to be all emotional and crying, instead I was angry.

    That said, I love this strip. I would have loved to have seen Neville be a total pimp at the end.

  19. I totally stole that "hallmark of a great story" for one of my "favorite quotes" on FB. 🙂

    and I agree with wysefyre, that movie!Neville got shafted compared to book!Neville – he was an accidental comic hero instead of a mature true hero.

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