The last two weekends were spent in Hogwarts and the rest of the wizarding and muggle worlds with Harry and co., and in Paris with Remy and his rat pack. I think I’m still having withdrawal symptoms, finding it difficult to pull myself out of it and back to the “real” world.

Two Sundays ago, I entered Hogwarts for Harry’s fifth year. Watching Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix at the I-MAX theater was a treat. However, the 3D portion of the movie left me wanting for more. I wish they also made other parts of the movie in 3D as well, such as the one where Harry and some members of the Order flew from London to number 12 Grimmauld Place. That was a breathtaking scene and would have been more so in 3D. Oh well, we can’t have everything. The movie was good, but if you have read the book and are such a Potter fan, you might feel quite as disappointed as I was. I was expecting a lot of details that were never shown. This was also the movie that deviated the most from the book, especially with the Harry-Cho angle. What I also wanted to see was the Fountain of Magical Brethren coming alive but, alas, it wasn’t shown. All in all though, it’s not bad, and still very enjoyable once you stop thinking of details you wish were there.

Last Saturday was for Ratatouille. Oh man, I never knew rats could be so adorable. 😀 Then there’s the added attraction of Paris and food (albeit cartoon renditions). Is there still any doubt that I enjoyed this film? Pixar delivered once more. Two lines from the film keep floating in my head. One was when Remy said, “There’s something about humans. They don’t just survive. They discover and create.” Then there’s the one from Gusteau, “If you focus on what you left behind, you will never be able to see what lies ahead.” These are not new insights, but are good reminders for us humans. I also love the funny moments. These are not slapstick-y, laugh out loud funny scenes, but more on the witty side. Still not gonna make me want rats in my kitchen, though…unless they’re blue and look a lot like Remy, and can cook like he does. 😀

This past weekend, I also said goodbye to Harry Potter and his saga. I didn’t want to close the book after the last word…so now I’m reading it again, haha! Seriously, I’ve read every Harry Potter book two consecutive times upon first getting it. It’s like tasting a particular food and liking it so much you just have to head right back to the platter for another serving. I first got my hands on Harry Potter seven years ago. I saw this book with an attractive cover on the desk of my then officemate/college friend. He said it was required reading for his Children’s Lit class under Carla Pacis (he was taking his MA in Creative Writing). He said it was a good read and lent it to me. I wasn’t able to put it down once I started reading it, and the rest is history. I was glad when the movies came out (I have read the first 3 books by the time the first movie was shown), but nothing compared to the books.

SPOILER ALERT. The Deathly Hallows draws the story to a satisfying close, and I like how all the characters have evolved and matured. All the other mysteries and questions in the previous books were unveiled and answered, except for one, I think. What’s the story about the veil in the archway at the Deparment of Mysteries? This is the one where Sirius fell when he died. Where did his body go? Who were the voices behind the veil and where was it coming from? I actually had high hopes that Sirius was alive, that he was just trapped behind that veil. Except for that one unanswered question, I liked how J.K. Rowling came up with a tightly written story. I especially liked her characterization of Snape. Who would have thought that Snape would make me cry? Snape is probably one of the best written characters in recent years. There are so many layers to him, and you never know what to expect. J.K. Rowling was excellent in keeping us guessing yet making us want to believe deep in our hearts that Snape is still on the side of good. I’m also already looking forward to the film version where I hope they’ll include the duel between Mrs. Weasley and Bellatrix. “Not my daughter, you bitch!“, hehe! I liked the idea of the epilogue, but all those names can be quite confusing…and corny. But then again, it is only right that they name their children after those important people. And what about Harry calling Snape “probably the bravest man I ever knew“, eh? I’m also curious about what happened to Luna and who’s the new headmaster of Hogwarts? The Prisoner of Azkaban is still my favorite among the 7 books, but this last one comes in a close second.

I know this is most likely the end, but I’m still hoping that it’s not. I wish J.K. Rowling would write some more stories about this magical world, maybe about the original Order of the Phoenix, or continue where the epilogue left off, though I’m more intrigued with the first one. I’m still not ready to completely let go of the wizarding world.