Sunday, 29 July 2007

Watching movies and stars

Yesterday evening, we went to see Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I know, we were slow getting there, but as the movie was launched the day after I had my surgery we decided to wait until we were all able to go together. We went with two adult friends who have read all of the books and seen all the movies and wanted to watch this movie with our kids.

The general opinion was that we all enjoyed it but it was over too soon! The Harry Potter books are so long, convoluted and detailed that there's no way they could include everything, but we wished that we could have seen the swamp that Fred and George created at Hogwarts when they decided to leave (although their fireworks were great). The confrontation between the Death Eaters and Harry and his friends was shortened considerably and as that was the high point of the film we thought it should have been longer. A couple of small things were changed, which was a little irritating...though not as irritating as having to listen to the person behind me crunch their popcorn (one downside of having to sit in a theatre is .... the other people)! If only I had the whole place to myself!

Afterwards, we drove to our friends' house and had the opportunity to spend a couple of hours looking at the night sky. The moon was full, which cuts down on what you can see with the naked eye, but with N's 18 inch Dobsonian telescope (picture of similar here) we could see plenty. It took a while to set up the telescope, which is about 6 feet long, but it was worth it. We saw stars (Vega, Polaris, Arcturus), a close up of the surface of the full moon (and very dazzled we were by it), Jupiter and its moons, constellations (Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Cassiopeia), globular clusters (which look like wisps of smoke), open clusters, the Andromeda galaxy.

The more observant of you may have noticed that I mentioned a couple of names in there which appear in the Harry Potter books. In fact, before we went out to look at the sky, N was telling the boys which astronomical bodies appear in JK Rowling's writing - Sirius (which of course is in the Canis Major constellation - it's no coincidence that in the books, Sirius turns into a dog), Sirius' brother's name is Regulus Arcturus, Draco (the dragon) is a constellation, Andromeda is Narcissa and Bellatrix' sister and Tonks' mother, Vela is a constellation (Fleur is a Veela) as is Lupus (the wolf) after whom Lupin was named.

I am amazed by the amount of thought that has gone into the Harry Potter books, whether it is in naming the characters, the meaning of the names of spells, or the plot.

We headed home at about 1am, and even though we were tired we had some toast and tea before going to bed at around 2am! Just as well we didn't have to go anywhere Sunday morning.

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