Friday, July 17, 2009

The Blue Screen of Death and Harry Potter

Yesterday I saw two things I had never seen before: the Blue Screen of Death and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Two very different things, both new and both startling in their own way. They might seem like two unrelated things, but yesterday for me, they were connected.

I woke up yesterday morning expecting it to be a normal day. My alarm went off, playing the song "Holding Out for a Hero" from Footloose the Musical, which put several of the songs from Footloose in my head. I got up, took a shower, and gathered my belongings for the day. My sister was also getting ready, since we would be carpooling to work that day. I ate breakfast and read a few pages in Pandora's Star. Then as I was brushing my teeth my sister exclaimed, "Bittersweet! Come here quick!"

I spit out my toothbrush, and I went to my sister's room, expecting to see a large spider she wanted me to kill. I was not wearing shoes at the time so I was glancing about her room for a nearby shoe. However, I looked at my sister and she was not staring horrified at a large arachnid. Rather, she was staring at her computer screen.

"What?" I asked, a little annoyed that she called me away from my routine for what seemed like nothing.

"Something is wrong with my computer," she responded. I frowned and stepped over to where she was sitting. I glanced down at the computer screen and froze.

Blue dominated her screen, blue only interrupted by white lettering.

I don't know a lot about computers. When my computer has a problem I find my CS friends and make them fix it. When I needed to by a new computer, I made my ECE friend pick it out for me. My knowledge of how computers function is very limited, but even someone with as little knowledge as me knew what that screen meant.

It was the Blue Screen of Death.

Never in my life had I seen this screen that generally means your computer is having some sort of massive failure. My old laptop had many problems, but never the Blue Screen. My new laptop is new and functioning perfectly, so no Blue Screen. My parents' computer has gotten viruses, suffered insane hits, and yet has never had a Blue Screen. I have no idea what my sister did to get this elusive and dangerous screen, but there it was, staring at me.

"That's the Blue Screen of Death!" I exclaimed, though I probably should not have. It immediately sent my sister into a panic. I calmed her down by saying not all Blue Screens were the same. It did not necessarily mean a catastrophic failure. I read the white words and told her to follow what it said. Turn it on. Turn it off.

My sister turned it off, but we did not have time to turn it back on before heading to work. I drove us out to the center, I got out at headquarters where I work, and then my sister headed over to the cape. I went to work, thinking all would be well. It did not seem like a particularly dire Blue Screen, and surely my little sister had everything backed up on the flash drive she had recently purchased. All would be right with the world.

I had been working extra long every day that week in order for us to get out early on Friday. Working a half an hour extra every day means getting out two hours early on Friday, which is more than enough time to drive to Orlando to see Harry Potter. I was excited about the prospect of seeing the movie, and my friend's facebook comments about it simply made the anticipation worse. I could not wait.

Then at about 8:30 I got a call from my sister: "My computer dumped all of my stuff. My thesis proposal is gone. We can't go see Harry Potter."

Woah! Woah! Slow down! My mind screamed. Not see Harry Potter? What?

"Surely your thesis proposal is on your flashdrive," I responded reasonably.

"No it's not. It's gone," she answered.

"What have you been putting on your flashdrive?" I demanded, flabbergasted that she would have something so important, due in so few days, in only one place.

"Data," she answered. "I'm going to have to spend all weekend putting this back together. No Harry Potter."

"Well, I'm going to see Harry Potter," I responded stubbornly. "It's two and a half hours. It's not going to make or break your computer."

"You go see it. I'm not. Love you bye bye." She hung up on me before I even had a chance to really think about her problem. But that's my little sister. She gets frustrated, angry, and hangs up, not allowing me a moment to collect my thoughts.

You see the Blue Screen of Death is not necessarily the end of the world. My sister's computer was working. That was a very good sign. Her stuff was just missing. It had to be on her computer somewhere. It could easily be recoverable. So I did research, calling Geek Squad and the UCF PC services. They all assured me it might be recoverable. So I came up with a new plan.

We would take my sister's computer to Orlando to get fixed. They would undoubtedly have to keep the computer overnight, so my sister would be unable to do work. So instead of doing work, we would see Harry Potter.

I called my sister, told her this, and then all was right with the world.

Several hours later she called me and told me that she found her paper in her TEMP folder in her computer. She did not need it fixed. I was disappointed, for it meant no Harry Potter and a 8.5 hour work day. However, that is life and I was ok.

However, then my sister got off work at one o clock. She suggested I leave early anyway, and we go see Harry Potter. Though I did want to see Harry Potter, I did not really want to have to stay late on Friday, which is what leaving early on Thursday means. However, she mentioned that on Friday she would not be able to get off work until three o'clock, so no leaving early anyway. Thus I left early from work on Thursday and we made it to a 5:10 showing of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince in Oviedo.

Now, you may ask, what did I think of the movie?

One word: phenomenal.

It may be my favorite Harry Potter movie (though not my favorite book). I thought they did an amazing job. The comedy of the sixth book was clearly there. The discovering of Voldemort's past was not as in depth as it was in the book, but it's a movie, so it never is. I felt Hermione's pain and wanted to beat up Ron for her. I thought they picked a very good Slughorn. I loved the portrayal of Harry on Liquid Luck. And I loved Malfoy. He did an amazing job. I felt his pain, his frustration, his fear. The actor managed to convince me that here is a boy who is fearing for his life. He has been thrown into a grown up world, a world he's not ready for, a dark world. He has no choice but to succeed or he and his mother will be killed by the most evil of wizards. What choice does he have? He has to live up to his family's dark history whether he wants to or not. I felt that from the actor. When he brandished his wand on Dumbledore, I saw a scared boy who knew what he was supposed to do but did not really want to do it. Phenomenal. I applaud you Malfoy. You've grown up into a superb actor.

I could have asked for more anger from Harry after Snape completed his dark deed. My sister put it well. "I wanted more of a Luke Skywalker 'NOOOOOOO!' after he discovers Darth Vader is his father." I agree. I could have used more from Harry. But I felt that Snape did an excellent job. Granted in the movie I feel its way easier to see that he's good. My mom has always been convinced Snape was good, because she has never read the books. In the books we get Harry's extreme bias. The movie was not able to portray that Snape killing Dumbledore was the fulfillment of everything Harry ever suspected about Snape. Of course, it's hard to be inside someone's head in a movie like you are in the book.

The scene where Dumbledore and Harry go to get the locket? Exactly like I imagined it. It was purely amazing.

All in all, I felt it was amazing. It was exactly what it is, the lull before the storm, the set up movie. It gave us the comedic relief we need after Sirius's death and before the seventh book blood bath. Some people probably wanted more action, but if you read the sixth book there was not a whole lot of action. Yes, the Death Eaters attacking the Weasley home was not in the book, but I forgive that. There had to be some sort of tension in the Weasley home since the character of Bill Weasley has been cut out of the storyline. Though it does make me wonder what's going to happen in the seventh movie. Harry, Ron, and Hermione are supposed to spend some time with Bill and Fluer. Well, I'll just have to wait until it comes out.

When I see the seventh and eighth movie I'm bringing a box of tissues. Because when everyone dies, I'm going to cry. And when Snape dies, I might just break down. I can only hope they do Snape's death justice.


  1. I saw the first couple of movies and read the first few books...then my interest waned. I liked the development of that fascinating world but action adventure really isn't my thing and it became more about that.

  2. Harry Potter isn't everyone's cup of tea. The sixth movie however has development and less action if that's what you're looking for.