Harry Potter and the Importance of Comic Relief

Thursday, October 6, 2011

JK Rowling's inspiration?
Photo by CharNewcomb via Flickr

I recently went to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and unsurprisingly I loved it.

I mean, I’ve been a fan of Harry Potter since we read Sorcerer's Stone in class in grade 6 and have been reading the books ever since, practically growing up alongside Harry and watching all the movies and everything. Not quite dressing up and going to the midnight book releases, but still a fan. When someone talks about Harry Potter, I feel like they’re talking about an old friend, not just a fictional character. (Wow, it felt wrong to write Harry Potter and fictional character in the same sentence. Oh no, I just wrote it again.)

After my long and roundabout intro of my love for Harry Potter, I want to get to the point of this post—comic relief. Because that was one of the biggest things that struck me when I watched this last movie. I tend to watch a lot of comedies, so there are jokes here and there, and generally all the time. Harry Potter, of course, is far from a comedy so the few funny situations really stood out to me and made me think.

Since this was the last movie and the second half of the last book in the series, it was very, very tense all the time, nearly-death situations everywhere, getting-away-at-the-nick-of-time type of thing, and frankly, if it hadn’t been for the few comic situations dispersed throughout the movie, I would have totally burned out. But I didn’t and I totally account it on that. Those moments provided an opportunity for the tension to drop so that it could start building up again. And that’s something we need to consider in our novels. Varying the level of tension and being aware of it.

What about you? Do you pay attention to this in your writing? Any tips?


Tere Kirkland said...

That's why I love Ron so much, he made the whole thing so much more bearable with his amazing comic timing. ;)

I try to keep things snappy, but in my current novel, there's not a lot of room for comedy beyond a few quips to ease the tension.

My wip, however, has a lot more room for comic relief.

Great post!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Our comic relief during the movie came in the form of an idiot who fell asleep and started snoring. Loudly.

That wasn't the funny part. The funny part came when a teenager starting hurling her M&M's at him during the quiet "white scene". Most of the audience saw that and cracked up. Meanwhile, my kids were watching the movie and had no idea what the teen was doing. Needless to say, they were confused what was so funny about the scene.

Abby Annis said...

I think humor is important in any story, even if it's only a small amount. I try to put funny parts in my writing, but I think most people only get about half of my jokes, if even that many. Apparently, I'm not as funny as I think I am. At least I can laugh at myself, right? ;)

Jennifer Shirk said...

Yes, you're right.
I love humor in a serious movie--those spinkled in moments really can pack a punch. :-)

Lynda R Young said...

Yes, absolutely. Comic relief is so important. It's not always easy to do though.

CherylAnne Ham said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog today. :D Nice to "meet" you.

You're right. It is definitely needed. I like to have small spots of funny in my writing, but when I try too hard it usually comes out more awkward, less funny.

Usually it just slips in there by itself and occasionally I recognize it and go "Hey. That's kinda funny. What else can I do with that?"