I've just finished reading this
. It appears that JK Rowling has announced that Dumbledore was gay all along. There's been this odd spectrum of responses - ranging from 'go JK! That's so great', to 'now I'm creeped out by all the time Dumbledore spent with Harry', to 'this is a cop out. She writes one gay character who lives his life in celibacy and never even admits it in the books'.
Personally, I think it would be nice if it had been mentioned in the books, but I'm glad it has been mentioned now. Essentially, I'd rather have JK Rowling mention afterwards that Dumbledore was gay all along (although I did have my suspicions when reading the Deathly Hallows book) than never say it, and let Hogwarts be (very much as my school was) Conformity High.
I was also strangely cheered to discover that Neville does get married and winds up living above the Leaky Cauldron. For various odd reasons Neville was always my favourite Harry Potter character - he was just so sweet, and I so desperately wanted him to live, to do well. I'm ridiculously happy that it all worked out for him in the end.
In other news, I had a wonderful night at the cinema last night. I went to see Stardust, with an assortment of people, and adored it. It made me feel as if I had been filled to the brim with stars and magic. I wasn't expecting to like it - Stardust is one of the Neil Gaiman books I've never been able to read.
As many of you will know, I have this love/hate relationship with Gaiman. He's the first comic writer I ever read. A lot of his stories are wonderful. Then every now and then I'll go through a phase of being massively irritated by him. I get irritated by his self consciousness (I find you never forget you're being told a story by Neil Gaiman. You never lose yourself in his world. He's always there). I get annoyed by the tweeness of parts of his stories, and sometimes I just feel like he's horribly overrated. Stardust triggered all my 'Argh! Gaiman!' buttons. I tried to read it as a novel and couldn't get past the first three chapters - it didn't feel like a real world. It felt like Neil Gaiman telling me about how he - Neil Gaiman - had this lovely lyrical fairy story to write. And did I know that this was all about Neil Gaiman and how imaginative he was?
The film swept away all of that. It was exciting, beautiful, sweet natured, innocent, and incredibly hopeful. I even forgave Clare Danes for having been beautiful and having become peroxide'd and stretched thin. I just loved it, and I want to be a lightning catcher, sailing up in the skies.
One thing that did trigger a bit of a discussion on the way home was which other films are comparable to it. The obvious comparison was the Princess Bride, with ksirafai
commenting that the main difference was that the Princess Bride was original, whereas Stardust is now (mostly coz Princess got there first) a bit on the derivative side. I vaguely disagreed, because I'm sure the Princess Bride wasn't completely an original. There must have been slightly tongue in cheek fairy stories put to film before.
I suggested Star Wars, which to my mind is a fairy tale romp, that just happens to have been set in space. pierot
disagreed and said that Star Wars was space opera, which was different. I also suggested Labyrinth, but I think others felt that that was different.
Am I wrong?
What other films would you put into the same broad category of 'rollicking fairy story' that Stardust and Princess Bride fit into? Is it a category, or are there only a few films which ever fill that niche?