7/22/2009
The problem with Emma Watson growing up

I was at the bookstore after lunch - killing time as usual, for I only had one thing to write and four hours to go - and, while flipping through Time, I was reminded of how far back the Harry Potter films were.

My sister was a fan of the books, and I remember when the first film was released. Daniel Radcliffe was a strange name, and he was this slightly gawky kid who had to wear those round glasses. I think I was just eleven back then. She collected all photos of him that she could grab, in a failed attempt to create a fan site. Those photos, I think, disappeared when our hard drive finally conked out nine years later.

But back then they looked so young. Daniel was a kid suddenly thrust into the spotlight partly because he looks like the kids in front of all those books. I haven't read the series, so I can only connect Rupert Grint and Emma Watson so far. Tom Felton just looked annoying, like he was supposed to. I guess my innocent head didn't grasp the idea that we'd see them grow up, much like the way I didn't notice our own young actors grow up right before us. For some reason, they had to remain the way they are when we first saw them. Stuck in our heads, that.

Nine years later, the sixth film's showing in theaters, and they've all grown up, and it suddenly hits you. I should've known, at least somehow. I'm six months older than Daniel - he's turning two decades tomorrow, last time I checked - and my sister's as old as Emma. Yet, we think of them as those kids, never mind their attempts to further their acting careers.

I'm still seated in front of the computer, although I'm now writing articles for work rather than giving my sister a bad FrontPage tutorial. Clicking through Emma's photos, you realize she has grown - no longer the precocious Hermoine Granger. She is a lady, so they say. And there I was, a twenty year old finding some semblance of attraction. "It's the skin," as Harry said in the film. Easily shaken off, sure, wasn't exactly as enchanting as my other celebrity crushes, but you get the idea.

I remember a conversation that Jayvee and I had on Twitter. It was a short one, but we were talking about how Emma has grown, and how suddenly the young untouchable kid became someone you'd actually have a crush on. (Fine, whatever this suggests, whatever.) I can't recall what he exactly said, but it's somewhere along the lines of "she's perfect men's magazine material". Well, British people are either perverts or glams, as their magazines suggest; she's going the way of the fashion magazine.

Or, as Jan would say later, "can I just give .5's to [Emma and Bonnie]?"

Still unreachable.

I'm not really delusional. I honestly can't find my way out of this metaphor, but there's an idea somewhere. Something about the people you thought you were in the same league with, somehow, turning out to be so far away from you. And me, someone who's stuck in a time warp, can't find anything to associate with. I'm twenty and surrounded by older people, or younger people, and it seems they all have their same interests, and nothing to share with you. It's an odd feeling, really, when I'm having lunch and I see a pretty college student walk by, and I snap out of it realizing that she's definitely younger than me.

And the people you thought you'd associate with, even through the most shallow of means, well, they get ahead and you're stuck right there. I call that my terrible insecurities, or, someone that's, say, five months younger than me is more comfortable with being smug and snobbish than I am. And you feel eternally left behind.

The problem with Emma Watson growing up is, she just becomes like everybody else. You follow slavishly, while they rule the earth. And I have lost the metaphor entirely.

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