Howl’s Moving Castle.
One of the greatest books I have ever read. It was written by British author Diana Wynne Jones, who died earlier this year from cancer. When I found out, I was devastated – I actually think a little piece of my soul died that day. She was one of those authors who could write a novel on two levels – adults would fall in love with her storytelling (she had a very distinct and whisical writer’s voice) and children would fall in love with the sense of adventure. She created worlds that were rich a magical, her ideas were beyond imagination, and her characters were ones you could fall in love with.
He sat atop a giant stone,
sighing as he looked down
at the world below, wondering
if he could ever find someone
to call his own. He was lonely,
he was, for no one would dare
to venture by his giant rock.
“It all ends.”
That single sentence packs a significant and heavy punch when the realization that there will be no more Harry Potter films, a series that has been around for 10 years, sets in. To say it is finished is difficult, because, for a time, it seemed like we would always have another Harry Potter movie to look forward to (regardless if they were good or not). An icon of our generation, a multi-billion dollar franchise, everyone knows who Harry Potter is; but we knew it couldn’t last.
As the saying goes, all things must come to an end.
And what an end it was.
I think, out of all the types of novels, movies, tv shows, and stories in general, I enjoy prequels the most. Stories that tell you the way things came about, the way established characters came to be the ones we hold dearest (or loathe vehemently). To me there’s nothing more fascinating than to see the innerworkings of a story, all the different cogs and gears that set it in motion; it’s absolutely fascinating.
Now, granted, I realize that some prequels are travesties *glares at The Phantom Menace*, but others can add a fantastic new layer to a story, and they can impact the series in ways that couldn’t have been done had the prequel been told first. There’s something about reading a story, and then finding out why the story happened the way it did. To a lot of people, prequels are just “filler”; inconsequential fluff that adds nothing to the overall progression and continuation of the story. But, in my opinion, the history and the origins of characters and stories are vitally important. Take Batman Begins, for instance. It is an origins story done right, because it takes an established character that the world knows and loves, and then really fleshes him out by telling us how he became The Dark Knight and why he chose to fight crime. Now, are those facts *truly* critical to future stories? Some would say no. But without a beginning, there would be no story.
Currently I’m reading The Crystal Cave, a novel by Mary Stewart, and book one of her Arthurian Saga. It tells the story of how Merlin became the wizard of legend, and it is absolutely fascinating. It’s narrated from his perspective, and it really shows a side of the character that I’ve never seen. And that’s why I believ prequels and origin stories are essential. They show us the past, so that we can understand the present, and better predict the future.
Those are my two cents anyway.