Monday, 18 February 2013

Lent for Extroverts 5: Imagination fleshed out

Leaky cauldron and other props
I spent the first Sunday of Lent at Harry Potter World. It was not immediately obvious how any of it related to Lent, except that it was all about inner and outer worlds. Everything on show had somehow originated in the inner world of JK Rowling's imagination and had been made external via the books, then the concept artists, prop makers, costume and special effects designers who made the books come to life on screen.
Wig department: Dumbledore's and Sirius Black's amongst them

Why do people say they prefer to read the book before seeing the film? Is it because the inner worlds we create as a result of reading fiction are our own and therefore unique? They lodge in the brain. We don't want to have those initial pictures replaced by someone else's casting ideas in case they don't match up. Once a film is seen, it's almost impossible to create your own pictures in place of the Director's: 'Oh I didn't imagine him like that....!' 

Letting your writing be turned into a film must take a lot of letting go. But even with the subsequent hundreds of creative people on board, there's still an intimate connection between the initial inner creativity and the visible/audible/tactile outworking of it which is now 'out there' for everyone to experience.
Arresting sculpture from The Ministry of Magic

It's a bit like a sacrament: there's something intangible at the core and something tangible which points to it, like new life and the waters of baptism. 

Somewhere on a train between Manchester and London in 1990, the idea for a boy wizard popped into JK Rowling's head, was nurtured by huge imaginative talent and hard work, and now we have 7 books books, 8 films and an entire studio tour grown from that one initial, internal idea. It's like the mustard seed growing out of all proportion to its small beginnings. There's a close tie between inner and outer worlds. In Lenten discipline nothing external changes without inner transformation. Whether introvert or extrovert, we look for harmony between the inner and the outer worlds we live in. Maybe this extrovert/introvert dichotomy can be taken too far after all.

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