Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Goblet of Fire, but No S.P.E.W.

As a certified sci-fi/fantasy geek, I have to admit that I'm excited for the upcoming release of the new Harry Potter film (rated PG-13, they're getting darker folks!). However, in a defeat for social justice, Entertainment Weekly reports that not even Hermione will be championing elvish welfare in the film, as she does in the book. I'm kind of bummed because ethically this is one of the most interesting subplots in the Harry Potter books--the house elves, Hermione discovers, are being oppressed and enslaved, even at Hogwarts. Yet, she can't get Harry, Ron, or even the house elves themselves to care. Nevertheless, she carries on with her grass roots organization, the Society for the Protection of Elvish Welfare, a.k.a. S.P.E.W. Since this also is connected with a significant event in The Order of the Phoenix, the next installment, this is an unfortunate omission which robs the series of one aspect of its growing complexity and maturity. Given the thickness of the book, I understand they had to cut things out, but for me this will be a glaring omission.


Blogger Susan Rose, CSJP said...

That is too bad, but not unexpected. For one thing it was a huge book. For another, this is a perfect example (albeit a fictional one) of how the complex issues are not addressed in the popular media.

The plight of the elves is a controversial one in HP land. Nobody wants to talk about it. And so as you say, Hermione plods along working for her cause alone.

In the later books, Hermione learns a lot about the difference between charity and working for social change through her SPEW work. And I think Harry and Ron are starting to get it too.

But if a church with as rich a tradition of Social Justice as the Catholic Church struggles with spreading that message, why should I be suprised if Warner brothers decided to cut it out of a kids film.

Just realized I wrote "SPEW" in this overly wordy comment not "S.P.E.W." Sorry Hermione!!!!

Now, must go back to knititng my wooly hats.

1:52 AM  
Anonymous Beth said...

Aww. That makes me slightly angry, although the book is a longer one, the movie could have been longer as well, to go along with it. S.P.E.W was and interesting sub-plot, to say the least, and the movie will be obviously lacking something without it.

Poor house elves, don't get cool, "S.P.E.W" buttons...

4:33 PM  

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