turn the dark on

bounding-heart  asked:

Hi. I reblogged your post about the Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and then got an anon asking me to elaborate on the thematic complexity of the film. Given it was your post, I was wondering if you'd write a bit more on the subject? I'd love to hear your thoughts. :)

Hello! 

I’m honored that you reached out to me about this movie; it’s one of my favorite films of all time, and I could write novels about it if I could.

Now, consider this: it’s 2004 and we’re seeing Prisoner of Azkaban for the first time. We as an audience have just gone through two films that mapped out the typical hero’s journey; Voldemort’s the antagonist, and Harry’s the hero that vanquishes him. Black-and-white narratives, clear borders to who’s noble and who’s evil. However, in PoA, we realize that these borders are actually very ambiguous, and Alfonso Cuarón exploits this concept quite beautifully in this film. 

Take the title card. 

Have you noticed what’s different from its predecessors? 

The logo’s no longer golden. 

It’s silver and gray, displaying both lightness and darkness in every letter. In fact, the very location where the logo floats around emulates light in a dark environment. Out of context, we can’t figure out where it even is, whereas in the previous films, we clearly see the logo floating around in the skies. This tactic foreshadows that there’s going to be a sense of ambiguity in PoA over what is good and what is evil, instead of giving us a clear cut story of the noble hero getting introduced to a magical and mysterious world [the golden logo with a stormy background in Philosopher’s Stone] or the valiant hero defeating the malignant villain [the sun shooting through the dark clouds in Chamber of Secrets]. Some examples of moral ambiguity in PoA include Sirius Black, who gets sent to Azkaban for a crime he didn’t commit; Remus Lupin, an inherently good person, but labeled as evil by society in the end since he’s a werewolf; Pettigrew, an individual that turned to the dark side out of cowardice and fear, instead of devotion to Voldemort. 

PoA’s title card can also be taken more literally; since this is the transition film that’s going to set up much more heavier tones in the future, we’re going to be exposed to a lot more dark elements of the magical world in this movie. 

Here’s a scene where Cuarón again emphasizes lightness and darkness, but with different thematic meanings. 

We see a snowy Hogwarts, where everything is light until…

…the camera focuses on the clock and Harry behind it, who’s completely enveloped in darkness. 

In contrast, his classmates play and prank each other in the light snow while they get ready to go to Hogsmeade. 

Just from this single scene, Cuarón displays that Harry, surrounded by darkness, will always be separate from the other students at Hogwarts. No one in Hogwarts has dark forces threatening to consume them every waking moment. Everyone’s still able to enjoy the happiness and privileges of childhood innocence, while Harry’s had that innocence snatched away as a baby and grows constantly aware that a dark wizard plans on destroying him. This difference can also be seen without much cinematic analyzation; since Voldemort killed Lily and James, Harry’s had no one to sign the permission slip that allows him to go to Hogsmeade trips (Vernon and Petunia would have never signed it even though Vernon made a deal with Harry; let’s be realistic). 

Now, let’s talk about one of my favorite shots of the film. 

The camera zooms in on the dark Grim residing within the light tea cup, foreshadowing the dark forces that Harry must face. However, I also love this shot because it’s the second time we see the Grim as an evil omen—a red herring for the audience to consume. Cuarón wants his viewers to be afraid of the literal black dog and for them to associate it with evil, which fools non-readers into believing that Sirius Black is who the Grim was foreshadowing, since Sirius can turn into a literal giant black dog. However, once watchers get informed that Sirius is innocent, they finally realize that the evil force wasn’t Sirius after all; it was Pettigrew, who with his escape, finally turns the wheels in motion for Voldemort’s reemergence, and thus puts Harry in grave danger. 

Another great scene that shows many thematic layers? Our first glimpse of the Great Hall. 

The candles and the flames at the sides of the walls give the Great Hall a warm, golden atmosphere. However, we also see the tall windows behind the choir, dark with rain and lightning—a stark contrast to the rest of the Hall, implying that this comforting, light atmosphere of Hogwarts will be short lived. In addition, the choir sings an ominous song to the students, with lyrics lifted straight out of the Three Witches’ dialogue in Shakespeare’s Macbeth (”by the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes”), a famous Elizabethan play that coincidentally also analyzes moral ambiguity. 

With this discordant atmosphere, Cuarón gives us a sense of uneasiness despite the welcome and safe environment of Hogwarts we’ve grown familiar with in the previous two films. The message? There’s a greater form of darkness coming, so strap yourselves in: this ain’t your typical Columbus narrative. And he certainly delivers on this part; other factors besides Voldemort portray the darker areas of the magical world and there’s no happy or satisfactory victory to celebrate at the end of the film. 

I could go on about Prisoner of Azkaban, but I’m afraid that’ll make this post too long for anyone to read! But thank you for the ask; it was so much fun to analyze this film again.  

For more info, Nerdwriter1 has this beautiful video of this film and I think this user has a simply amazing analysis

  • Nuzleaf: This is it, Hero. Prepare for you demise!
  • [Nuzleaf launches a ball of dark energy at Hero, but it’s swatted aside]
  • Nuzleaf: What? How can your mere skin protect against the power of Dark Matter?
  • *Hero raises their arm, which has turned to stone*
  • Hero: It can’t
  • Nuzleaf: ...
  • [Hero starts hitting Nuzleaf with their stone arm]

I think one of the reasons the Harry Potter Epilogue was so poorly received was because the audience was primarily made up of the Millennial generation.

We’ve walked with Harry, Ron and Hermione, through a world that we thought was great but slowly revealed itself to be the opposite. We unpeeled the layers of corruption within the government, we saw cruelty against minorities grow in the past decades, and had media attack us and had teachers tell us that we ‘must not tell lies’. We got angry and frustrated and, like Harry, Ron and Hermione, had to think of a way to fight back. And them winning? That would have been enough to give us hope and leave us satisfied.

But instead. There was skip scene. And suddenly they were all over 30 and happy with their 2.5 children.

And the Millennials were left flailing in the dust.

Because while we recognised and empathised with everything up to that point. But seeing the Golden Trio financially stable and content and married? That was not something our generation could recognise. Because we have no idea if we’re ever going to be able to reach that stage. Not with the world we’re living in right now.

Having Harry, Ron and Hermione stare off into the distance after the battle and wonder about what the future might be would have stuck with us. Hell, have them move into a shitty flat together and try and sort out their lives would have. Have them with screaming nightmares and failed relationships and trying to get jobs in a society that’s falling apart would have. Have them still trying to fix things in that society would have. Because we known Voldemort was just a symptom of the disease of prejudice the Wizarding World.

But don’t push us off with an 'all was well’. In a world about magic, JK Rowling finally broke our suspension of disbelief by having them all hit middle-class and middle-age contentment and expecting a fanbase of teenagers to accept it.

Also. Since when was 'don’t worry kids, you’re going to turn out just like your parents’ ever a happy ending? Does our generation even recognise marriage and money and jobs as the fulfillment of life anymore? Does our generation even recognise the Epilogue’s Golden Trio anymore?

@doddleoddle and @thatsthat24 singing New York, New York 🎶 

that video was amazing and just ahhh they’re just so great 💕
this was drawn for dedim which I am doing on instagram at mtnartwork

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Kamuirequested by @allenswalkers​ 

“I pay my respects with a smile when killing. Regardless of how their life was, it’s appropriate to send them off with a smile, so they can die soundly. You could even say that, I intend to kill when I’m smiling.“ 

Kaz Brekker: hunger games au
  • Kaz is fifteen when he’s reaped, but he’s been training for six years, ever since he saw his brother being murdered on screen by a teenager, ever since Jordie’s lifless body was sent back in a box 
  • he will never forget staring at his brother’s corpse, that moment when what hope remained finally left and something inside him stirred, insisting that someone must pay for this, that his family wouldn’t be hurt like this again
  • while Kaz waits in the Justice Building, the only person that comes to say goodbye is Jesper, and as they share a quick hug Kaz furiously claims that this is not their last meeting
  • he rarely speaks at the Training Centre, and when his stylist tries to dress him up in the most ridiculous garb, he calmly tells her he will not be the laughing stock among the rest of the tributes and to whip up something decent, for Christ’s sake
  • Kaz wonders what a miracle it must be, that his drunken mentor’s liver can still handle that amount of liquor each day
  • thoughts of his dead brother haunt him every night because this is where Jordie slept and ate and dressed and was prepared for slaughter
  • he trains with the other tributes, observing his opponents, deciding which ones are threats and must be put out first
  • once in the arena, Kaz starts taking down the tributes one by one          
  • numerous parachutes fly down bearing gifts when the sponsors realise Kaz is ruthless and didn’t come here to die
  • the residents of the Capitol wait eagerly for the cameras to show Kaz because there’s never a dull moment with him; everyone is talking about Kaz Brekker, the excitement they felt as he bashed a boy’s skull in, how they clung to the edge of their seats during a particularly intense fight
  • meanwhile, the people at home can’t bear to watch: there’s a monstrous gleam in Kaz’s eyes, and with every tribute he kills they know the last Brekker is slipping away even further 
  • he injures his leg during a fight with the colossal girl from Two, and during the times when his leg isn’t almost numb with pain Kaz tracks down what’s left of the tributes
  • every slit throat and snapped neck means he is one step closer to home
  • after he’s won and he’s back home in district 10, the horrors of the arena keep him awake in the strange new bed, and during the few hours of fitful sleep, his brain brings back grotesque memories of when he murdered innocent children 
  • he can’t stop thinking about the families that are mourning because of him, can’t help but think of the siblings that are broken beyond repair just like he was after seeing Jordie being drowned on television
  • Kaz can’t look the Ghafas in the eye because he was the one that killed their daughter, felt her warm blood on his hands and patiently waited for the cannon to sound her death