Tony Bacigalupi isn't afraid to admit he's a Potter fanatic, and you might run into him and other super fans tonight at a midnight screening of "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince."
How big a fan is Tony? While backpacking through Europe he stopped at locations where the Potter movies were filmed. In the picture here, Tony's standing inside Gloucester Cathedral at, as he noted, a "hiding spot used by Harry when listening in on Draco's and Snape's conversation regarding Draco's mission in "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince."
ASIDE: You had me at hello, Tony, but lost me at Draco. Why? I don't read about wizards; I am a wizard. ... Don't believe me? My middle name is Gandalf. I ain't kidding, folks: Alexandyr Gandalf Kent.
I sent Tony a few questions about his trip. Below are his answers.
GANDALF: When you went in search of Harry Potter in Europe, what was the coolest location you visited and why?
TONY: That would have to be Gloucester Cathedral in Gloucester, England. Not only is it one of the most beautiful places in the world but it is also where a lot of important scenes were filmed. A lot of the Chamber of Secrets was filmed in the cloisters such as when they discover the petrified students and the writing on the walls threatening "mudbloods." I had a photo taken of myself at the spot where Harry listens in on an important conversation between Snape and Draco Malfoy which I thought was really cool for a Potter geek like me. lol
GANDALF: What stays with you the most, the books or the movies? Why? And where do you rank "Half-Blood Prince" (the book) within the series?
TONY: This sounds cliche but the books stay with me the most, of course. J.K. Rowling writes in a way where almost EVERY detail is important which, unfortunately, the filmmakers have a hard time keeping everything in. It's hard ranking the last four books because they're all so great and a vital part of the continuity so it changes a lot. However, "Half-Blood Prince" is probably the most mysterious of all the books because they are searching through Voldemort's past that STILL leaves them with questions and it's also the "calm before the storm" that is "The Deathly Hallows."
GANDALF: I'm going to go ahead and call you a rabid fan of the franchise. Really, what is it about the wiz kid that keeps you interested?
TONY: The thing I love about Harry Potter is that he goes through this journey as if it's his job and he does it without arrogance and selfishness. He doesn't do it for the glory. Not only Harry Potter himself but all of the other characters and the magical world within the books that J.K. Rowling created really caught my attention and I even saw traces of it when I went to England.
GANDALF: Since Harry Potter's fate is known to his fans – who populate the entirety of Planet Muggle, one assumes – what remains compelling about these movies? In other words, if you know where they’re headed, why do you stay on for the ride?
TONY: The Harry Potter series is the first set of books where I REFUSED to see the movies first before reading because the books are so amazing that I don't want the experience of reading them tarnished. I see the films as my imagination of the books manifested. It's kind of like seeing the result of someone delving into my mind and translating what they see onto screen and that has always interested me.