One of the big upsides of living in The Netherlands: we’re among one of the first countries to screen the Harry Potter films. It was no different with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, which I saw at the midnight premiere in The Hague Tuesday night. Curious about what it was like? Just click through. (Spoiler free – for the movie, that is, not the books and plot – I promise)
Every Harry Potter fan has a story about how they came to read and love the books. For me, it took a while. I went to the first film with my mother and (then) 11-year old sister in 2001 and after that, read the first three books. It wasn’t until the summer of 2003 that I picked up the series again, this time reading the fourth and fifth book. I was hooked. I spent that summer with my nose in Order of the Phoenix pretty much continually. When I moved to Australia in 2004 for a 6-month internship, I was grasping for something familiar in that strange environment, and I turned to the Harry Potter books. When I had to fly back home unexpectedly because my mother fell ill, I got to take my mind off things with the newly released Prisoner of Azkaban film. When my mother turned out to be all right and I went back to Australia, I got to experience the PoA premiere for a second time – this time in Brisbane. And when I was on holiday in the U.S. during the launch of Half Blood Prince, I made sure to locate the nearest book store so that I could get my hands on it as soon as possible. I’m using a lot of words to say that in Lost terminology, Harry Potter is my constant (apologies for the Gobbledegeek). I could write a whole essay on the ways in which the series has kept me tethered to my sanity. But that’s not the point of this post. The point of this post is that it’s all come to an end.
So far, the reviews I’ve read say that the new film is a worthy ending to the series. They recap the story so far, and the part of the plot the movie covers (to a degree). And they tell real fans absolutely nothing worth knowing. I’ll try to do better.
How do you feel about the movie?
I loved it. I still love it. It’s actually hard to put into words how very, ridiculously positive I feel about this movie. After seeing it last night, I was lost for words. That is how much I love it.
How will Harry Potter purists feel about it?
Pretty good, I think. There are some minor changes to the plot, but nothing that I found offensive. I definitely feel like this one followed the book more closely than Order of the Phoenix or Half-Blood Prince, for instance.
What about the Snape story line?
It’s amazing. The death scene is great (and please don’t worry about the story of it taking place in a “glass house” that has been making the rounds), and the scene with his memories has a high likelihood of making you cry. Rickman’s acting is superb and the music is beautiful. One memory was added (which is to say, is not in the book), and it is beyond heartbreaking. Keep your tissues at hand.
Will I really cry?
All signs point to yes, unless (like me) you’re someone who doesn’t really cry easily at movies (especially in public). I welled up a little at a scene with McGonagall (especially upon remembering that Dame Maggie Smith was going through chemotherapy when this was filmed), at Snape’s memories, when Harry goes to the Forbidden Forest to face Voldemort, and towards the end. You could hear sniffles and noses being blown throughout the movie and when everyone was filing out of the theater after the movie eyes were being dabbed all around and friends were hugged.
And the epilogue?
For a while, I was one of those people who pretended the epilogue didn’t exist, but I did manage to see its charm eventually. The movie epilogue, like the rest of the movie, I loved. The characters look about the right age. Poor Ginny was given a terrible hairdo, but then wizards and witches aren’t supposed to be known for their sense of style anyway. It was actually quite lovely to see them “grown up” and happy.
Be still my fandom heart
Slash pairings will not be canonified, but a certain group of fans is thrown a big bone in the shape of a very special pairing which is not book canon. I actually squeed out loud when this particular ship was suddenly and gloriously promoted to the status of movie canon.
To Hermione as Bellatrix Lestrange; to Luna; to Steve Kloves (yes, really) for what he does with the Trio in this film; to Minerva McGonagall; to Snape; to Seamus (BOOM); to Neville (YOU AND WHAT ARMY?); to Scabior and his creepy attractiveness; to the score, which is practically perfect in every way; and to Lavender Brown.
I don’t know, I’m still worried
Don’t be. It truly is great, and I pretty much guarantee that you will love it – pinky promise, cross my heart and hope to die. I got completely lost in the storytelling, which has never before happened to me with me movies. I was always busy wondering why they changed this, cut that, added such and such scene. Or I was giggling at the sometimes awkward action. None of that happened this time. I was sucked into the magic of the story, the thrill of the battle, the sadness of everything coming to an end, and I savored every minute of it.
This sounds rather cool. Can I watch it if I haven’t seen the other films?
If you’ve read all the books, yes. Otherwise, no. You need to have watched at least all the other films. Even just watching Deathly Hallows, Part 1, probably wouldn’t be enough to make you fully appreciate it. If you’re accompanying a Harry Potter fan friend without much background knowledge, just take in the spectacle of it all and let your friend squee at you or cry on your shoulder (probably both).
If you’re still waiting to see it for the first time – if, like me, you’re counting the hours to the moment you’ll lay your eyes on that Harry Potter logo zooming towards you on the big screen – savor your anticipation. And rest assured in the knowledge that all will be well and that, in the words of J. K. Rowling, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.