Harry vs Neo

I saw Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. And with the slew of good to raving reviews that are out there, I’m not going to add to it.  Now, for you Potter fans, I’m not here to say how good or bad it is.  I love stories and always ask myself why I like certain stories in comparison to why I don’t. I liked this one, based on Harry’s sixth year at Hogwarts.

J.K. Rowling has said in many interviews that the books would get darker, and this one, with the death of a main character, is definitely dark.

One other series I’ve been obsessed with are the Matrix movies.  The first one was a sleeper hit.  Every one loved it, critics and fans.  But once the sequels hit theaters, despite its financial success, not many really liked them.

And I think I know why.

With both Potter and Matrix sequels going toward dark, why did one do and feel well, while the other just felt monotone?

Humor.

The sixth movie had enough humor to bring the laughs all the way up to the climax.  The climax was the darkest part of the whole movie, so the laughs ended.  Makes sense.

Matrix had humor and sarcasm.  There were also different types of characters. One wished they didn’t take the red pill, another would pimp out a virtual girl, then there was one guy half black, half Asian who was enthusiastic, etc.  Those characters contrasted the war that was going on.

With both the Matrix sequels, there was no humor at all, no characters with color.  That’s why to me it felt monotone.  People will say that Neo and his crew were fighting a losing war.  But Harry and crew are fighting what seems to be a losing war, too.

Laughs.

Now the question becomes why laughs are needed in a dark movie?

I was talking to a coworker who is an avid churchgoer.  We were talking about perspectives on life, and I asked him what he thought about the world.  His response was this is a fallen world.  Then I told him mine, which of course is prettyPollyanish.

He countered with, “Then why is there so much suffering in this world?”

I imagined him and his choir of religious heathens eating this fallen view of the world and answered, “Because in order to have light, you must have dark.”

I personally don’t like it but understand the philosophical side.

In story, humor is not just a good release of tension.  It also contrasts the dark, making the dark darker when the dark comes.  As the story works toward its dark climax, we feel even darker as the dark falls upon us.  Which is the exact purpose of the sixth Potter movie.

Is Your Glass Half Full?

Here's a different take on the glass being half full or empty. Several of my coworkers volunteered at a crisis center.  Their main function is a food bank.  We arrived in the early morning and watched a video about the center.  One of the staff members led two of us to the back and we packed food for distribution.  We packed cardboard boxes of food for families that ranged from one through six.  For a larger family a combination of boxes can be given.

People who arrive to collect food earn below the poverty line and have no current means of earning more.  They're also heavily affected by the economic situation.  Not that I want to use it as an excuse because I know each of us can create our own economic environment.

When I went back to work someone asked me how volunteering was.  I explained where it was, what we did, that the center provided food to those who need it.

"Isn't that sad?" she said.

I thought about it for a moment.  Is it sad?

The crisis center has provided food for those who need it for years.  When people come get food to help feed their families, they're extremely thankful.  The vibes of service that flowed through that place was very inspiring.  Inspiring enough for me to write a post.  I mean, the center feeds over five thousand families in any single month.

People are coping with their current situations.  Giving up would mean giving up on their children, their families.  Would you?

The person who thought it was sad didn't understand the good the crisis center provided.  She continued to say how lucky we were to have our jobs.  Sure.  I agree.  But her view on the crisis center indicates her view of life as half empty.  Do you?

In my story, the hero is forced to fight his opposition for good reason.  He can't give up, even though he desperately wants to. Fighting a war puts his warrior son at risk, but giving up would put hundreds of thousands of lives into severe oppression.

The worst part is that the people the hero is fighting for sees his act of war as egotistical.  They see the glass half empty because they don't fully understand the situation.  They don't know their hero is fighting for their freedom.  That is sad.