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November 17, 2001: Give me some of that old time religion. Hail Zeus!

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All day yesterday I pinged all over the office, pestering Richard on Instant Messenger with hourly countdowns til the showing of Harry Potter (we got advance tickets for the last show of the night).

I had only him to pester, see, because - strange as it may seem - the rest of my department wasn't the slightest bit interested. Most of them haven't even read the books and don't seem to have any intention of going to see the movie. If that weren't strange enough, they probably aren't even going to go see Lord of the Rings either. I'm in a different world now - a world made up of people who might have studied things like English in college, and have very little interest in the inner workings of the back end of the database they're documenting. I know, I keep saying this, but it's still taking a lot to get used to.

We headed off to the theater extra-early, not sure if there'd be lines to get in for our show. Luckily, since it was the absolute last show of the night, the theater was only half full. And the film was wonderful. I'll admit to disappointment that some plot threads were shortened or removed entirely, but I do understand the difficulty of transforming a book into a movie, and realize that they simply didn't have the time to put everything in there. I'm sure there are already screen writers tearing their hair out over the sheer length of the fourth book, and my greatest sympathies go out to those who have taken on Lord of the Rings for the same reason.

The movie was definitely worth the hype, but my enjoyment of it was improved just that much more by the presence of the little cluster of protestors we saw driving into the parking lot. The local fundamentalist church apparently decided to attempt a last-ditch effort to save the souls of those of us who were being so wanton as to go see a movie where there would be portrayal of such things as - *gasp* - magic, and wizards, and witches, and other things too horrible to mention. And so there they were - a handful of them waving signs and shouting to the cars that passed them. Repent! God hates witchcraft!

One has to wonder why it is that these same people are also not merrily protesting every single Disney cartoon that comes out on the big screen, considering that most of them include talking animals and a fair majority of them also involve some form of magic. Apparently Disney's magic is the type that doesn't condemn you to eternal damnation. Harry Potter's magic, on the other hand, is sure to reserve you one of those extra-hot suites in the fiery depths of below. After all, it's turned an entire generation of children into people who actually think reading is enjoyable. Hmm. Perhaps that's it. Encouraging the imagination and ability to think for one's self does seem to be a rather big no-no for those of the fundamentalist religious faiths - a trait which isn't reserved for any one faith in particular.

Perhaps I shouldn't be poking quite so much fun. After all, one has to admire their sheer determination to stand there on the street corner waving their little signs and taking abuse from people driving by. But I feel rather sorry for them. I'd be willing to bet large sums of money that not a one of those people who were so concerned for my soul have even cracked the cover of a Harry Potter book to see what all the fuss is about. But then, as I already mentioned, the fundamentalist side of any cause - religious or otherwise -is fairly well defined by a rather nasty tendency to discourage people from thinking for one's self. So I suppose I should expect nothing less. After all, if people are so willing to be blind sheep, well, that's their problem. Besides, considering I lived with my fiancé before we were wed, and live in a house overrun with dragons and gargoyles, I'm sure that in their eyes I'm already condemned. Going to see the Harry Potter movie - even owning and reading all the Harry Potter books - just merely moves me closer to earning that penthouse suite in someplace extra warm.

So if you haven't already seen it, and you're feeling like tempting the wrath of the deities, well, get thee to a theater. I figure Hell has to be a pretty big place. After all, it's going to have to hold an awful lot of people, considering that Harry Potter opened as the largest grossing movie of all time. So don't worry. There's plenty of room for all of us.

Just ask the protestors. I have a feeling they'd agree.

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