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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Harry's All About the Sexual Tension

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince came out last Wednesday and I have already seen it twice. I really liked the most recent installment. However, I have talked with some people who haven't read the books (gasp!) who didn't really care for it. I think that if you have read the books, you can better understand the pivotal points in relation to the Deathly Hollow (the 7th book and 7th and 8th movies). This movie doesn't do a great job at filling in people that have forgotten what has happened or hasn't read the books or seen the movies.

I thought that the movie was really good and pretty funny, at least more so that the other Harry Potter films. In this installment,
the main characters discover the opposite sex. Harry and Ginny Weasley start to develop feelings for each other (which I was a little disappointed that they didn't develop this further as they did in the book), Ron starts dating Lavender Brown (which is where a good amount of the comedic relief comes from, that and the love potion Ron accidentally ingests), and Hermione is all about the teen angst when she sees Ron with Lavender.

But some controversy has come up over the
sexualization of the characters. In the movie, the characters are entering their sixth year at Hogwarts, making them 16-years-old. This seems like a perfectly reasonable age to bring romantic relationships into the mix of the Harry Potter movies. But many don't think so...

An article on attacks the film for being too sexual, saying that's not what J.K. Rowling intended. Maybe the film did develop these relationships further than the book (it has been a while since I've read the book all the way through), but the book definitely had these relationships in them. The author, Jean Bentley, proclaims that, "
Despite illusions to the contrary, teenagers don't actually have adult relationships."

What? I'm pretty sure if you talk to 16-year-olds, they are capable of romantic relationships, and even want them (oh no!). But apparently, according to Bentley,
teenagers don't have relationships and don't have sex. While there is no sex in the Harry Potter movies (and I don't think there should be because it was technically started as a children's series, even though it's evolved into much more), there is definitely a lot of sexual tension and snogging (I love British lingo).

And what of the lovely actors who play the main characters. Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint are now between the ages of 19 and 21. Oh no! They've grown up! This seems to be particularly treacherous for Emma Watson, the beloved Hermione Granger. As Salon points out,
it is harder for Watson to transition into maturity and change her image from girl to woman than it was for her co-star Daniel Radcliffe, aka Harry Potter (or would be for most any male actor).

After discussing Watson's "Interview" cover, Joy Press (author of the Salon article) states...

Is this Hermione's get-out-of-child-stardom card, I wondered? Daniel Radcliffe had already plotted his escape route last year with a quick shortcut to instant adult status: full-frontal nudity. Since it was for a serious role in a serious play (Peter Shaffer's "Equus"), Radcliffe was feted for artistic credibility and bravery (especially after he talked in interviews about the shriveling effects of a live audience on the male member).
But shifting your image into a more mature gear has very different ramifications for a young woman than for a young guy. I doubt many people actually wanted to glimpse Harry Potter's wand, whereas at least one creepy Web site counting down the days till Watson's 18th birthday popped up back in 2004.

Yes, there was some controversy surrounding Radcliffe's appearance in Equus, but, like Press says, that was accepted once it was realized that it was a "serious role." But Watson's entrance into maturity is not as easily accepted because it involves her posing seductively on covers of magazines, not taking serious roles where you have to run around naked on stage. But she's 19. We only care because we still think of her as the 10-year-old from the first Harry Potter movie. And she can hold her own against the press (at least from what I've seen) and even describes herself as "a bit of a feminist."

And speaking of the movies again, can we talk about Watson's character, Hermione? She's amazing.
She's smart, sexy, and kicks ass (much like I believe Emma Watson to be). One of my favorite scenes of the series (there are many) is from Prisoner of Azkaban when she punches Malfoy for laughing at the execution of Buckbeak the Hippogriff.

Overall, I really loved the
Half-Blood Prince. I appreciated the sexual tension that was there, I thought it lightened the movie and gave some great comedic relief. And really, there wasn't a whole lot of it seeing as how the movie was still PG. But, granted, it would take a lot for me to not love the movie because I am pretty much obsessed with the series. I think people just need to get over the fact that teenagers have romantic relationships. It's really not a big deal.

Further Reading:
Half-Blood Prince Suffers From Lack of Action, Emma Watson's Hotness [Jezebel]
Our Little Wizards Are All Grown Up [RHRealityCheck]
Emma Watson Owes It To Her Public To Get Naked, Says Public [Jezebel]
Just Saw Harry Potter and... [F Bomb]


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