RUTHEA VAN HEERDEN

Once in a while, two words are whispered – they race across continents; unstoppable and relentless. Just two words, two magic words… Harry Potter. There are those in the world who ignore crazes such as Harry Potter.

I mean those who say, “Really, who wants to watch people on broomsticks, with pointy hats, waving their wands and saying ABRA CADABRA or some such nonsense!” They look down their noses at those who have the nerve to dress up in long cloaks, put on silly hats and paint scars on their foreheads…. “Come on! Grow up! It’s stupid, r-i-d-i-c-u-l-o-u-s!!”

The battle lines are drawn — the normal people point at those lunatics and cry “Harry Potter is a Snotter!” The fanatics shout back laughing, as if barking mad, and cry “P-L-E-A-S-E! What do you MUGGLES know anyway?!” War erupted when a great witch decided to put quill to parchment and write Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. JK Rowling’s story of a normal boy becoming a wizard is legendary.

Not only has Harry been immortalised on paper, he has also been magicked alive on screen – with the help of Daniel Radcliffe, of course. With the series complete on parchment, the fi lms are the last to be fi nished. The latest instalment in the Harry Potter series is Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

The film has been delayed a year by a Bat, or rather The Dark Knight, which was such a success that Warner Brothers feared that Potter may not stand a chance against Bruce Wayne. The sixth book (and fi lm) in the series sees Harry and Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) trying to discover He-who-must-not-be-named’s history, in order to defeat him.

This search leads Harry and Dumbledore to startling discoveries and danger. Love also comes along and Harry and his friends Ron (Rupert Grint), Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ginny (Bonny Wright) struggle with hormones and the green-eyed monster.

Harry’s nemeses Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton) and Professor Snape (Alan Rickman) also have bigger roles. The fi lm differs from the book in several ways; important issues and events are omitted and although the fi lm is not entirely as action-packed as the book, there are some spectacular scenes. But for the fanatics the film does not entirely satisfy, too much has been left out, and even scenes with Dumbledore have been trivialised.

Muggles will always wonder why Potter has become such a phenomenon. Perhaps it is sorcery – once you pick up a Potter-book you are addicted. It will, however, be better for newcomers to see the previous fi lms, as this one relies heavily on background information. Perhaps this fi lm is not the best in the series, but the fi nal book Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is being filmed in two parts and is certain to ensnare more Muggles and turn them into witches and wizards. Besides, you have to see this instalment because Harry Potter is, after all, magic!