I know I’m just one among millions who has grown up with Harry Potter and has spent the past few weeks reminiscing about the series in anticipation of the final movie’s release July 15, so I’ll just be one more person who has recently shared their experience with J.K. Rowling’s books and the films they inspired. I began reading about Harry, Hermione and Ron back in middle school. My younger sister actually acquired the books first, and I don’t remember how, but they piqued my interest. Needless to say, (probably much to her consternation and amusement), I started trying to inconspicuously steal the books from my sister and read them myself. I was hooked after the first, immersed in a world that made the unbelievable believable. It was just the beginning of many pre-orders, Books-A-Million waits and midnight showings to come. I feel similarly to everyone else who says that this last film is a sort of symbolization of the end of their childhood. How true. The first book was published over a decade ago, and while there was a certain amount of nostalgia after the publication of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, it was slightly assauged by the knowledge that there were still two films to follow.
The night of July 14, however, my sister and I were both acutely aware that the release of HPDHP2 signified the last of the midnight showings we would go to. But if the series had to end, then at least this is the way that it did. Director David Yates outdid himself in the second installment of the Deathly Hallows. The film embodied both the emotion and the action of the book, doing a wonderful job in its depictions of all the relationships. Although I usually always read reviews before I go see movies, I made it a point not to read any that were already written before I went to the midnight screening because I knew they wouldn’t matter anyway. That’s me speaking purely as an avid fan. Even if this last film wouldn’t have been created as exceptionally as it was, it would have still been a touching experience to watch. I did read the critics’ views afterwards, and I was glad to see that both Roger Ebert and Peter Travers gave it 3 1/2 out of 4 stars. It deserved them.
The visuals were dramatic and beautiful, and we had decided to see it in 2D, not 3D because I didn’t think it would add all that much. This turned out to be a good decision, as I heard later that the 3D version had dimmer color. But anyways, not that I by any means disliked part 1 of the Deathly Hallows, but I far preferred this one. I think a main reason for this is that part 2 brings back so many characters who are absent in the first. People like Professor McGonagall, Neville Longbottom and Dumbledore all reappear for the conclusion, and everything comes together. All the loose ends are tied up the way they should be. I mentioned earlier the balance between the action and emotion. The dialogue among the characters also finds ways to add humor to an otherwise grave situation, and romance is interspersed with violence, especially during the final battle sequences at Hogwarts, and I very much appreciated this. The moments that needed to be serious though, were so. Case in point, Snape (who has always been my all time favorite character in the series). His death and Harry’s subsequent journey into his memories were the most heartbreaking part of the book for me, and I had hoped that the movie would do it justice. It did. The scene was infused with genuine feeling that was felt by what seemed like the entire audience.
The film stayed mostly in line with Rowling’s novel, including significant quotes that I think everyone wanted to hear. It did have a few minor differences, but only one of them truly bothered me, and I can still live with it. If you haven’t seen the film yet and don’t want to know details, it might be advisable to skip just this one paragraph. Consider yourself warned. So in the book, the final battle between Harry and Voldemort takes place in the great hall, in front of all the professors, students and the rest of the Order. In this scene, Harry tells Voldemort who Snape’s true allegiance belonged to and he also details Snape’s love of Lily, revealing the truth to everyone. In the movie, however, this battle occurs in the courtyard, and there is no one around. Harry mentiones Snape in connection to the Elder Wand, but doesn’t bring up Snape’s love of his mother, or his allegiance to Dumbledore. I wish this would have played out the way it did in the book instead. I guess it can be implied that everyone still finds out the truth about Snape, which is why it’s not a colossal issue, but I would have still liked to see it actually happen. Something that I did like that the movie did though, was show Ron and Hermione go to the Chamber of Secrets to get rid of the horcrux. I think that added to the chaotic action, with the two of them working on destroying one horcrux while Harry ran off trying to locate another, all in the midst of Voldemort’s attack on the castle.
Okay, now that I briefly mentioned that, I’m finished with any spoilers. I can’t substantially express how much I loved this series and its concluding movie. It’s too easy for me to become long-winded about it, but it’s simply because it’s been a major aspect of my literary and cinematic life for such a long time. How can you run out of things to say when the story makes you feel like you’re a part of it? And not only a part of the story, but also a part of a fan base that spans continents? The atmosphere within the theater added to the film’s dramatic effect, with spontaneous applause at the right times. There’s just something about knowing that everyone is in one place at one time for the exact same reason. Dumbledore asked Snape about the duration of his love for Lily in his office. “Even after all this time?” he asked. And Snape replied, “Always.” This is one of my favorite quotes from the book. As Snape always remembered Lily, I, for one, will always remember the series that began in 1997, sparked a cultural phenomenon and to this day provides an escape from the mundane.