I will miss you, Harry Potter.
Over the weekend, my family and I went to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2.
I’m pleased to say, we were all happy and satisfied with this final movie based on J.K. Rowling’s wonderful novels. This hasn’t always been the case. I don’t think I’ve really liked a HP movie since The Goblet of Fire.
First, I’d like to say, I think it was a very good idea to split the last book into two movies. After watching Part 1, I thought they chopped things up too much. After watching Part 2, however, I see what they did. They wanted to finish the story properly for the fans. And I believe they accomplished that.
Now, my husband hasn’t read the books but he’s watched all the movies with us and really liked this one. There were a couple of spots he didn’t understand and it’s not surprising. They had to compress a lot of the important background information and I gave my husband the whole run-down later. However, it didn’t seem to take away from his enjoyment of the film overall.
We did not see the 3D version. After suffering through several 3D films over the years, my husband and I put our feet down. I wanted to enjoy this one without a headache. Despite that, the special effects were still very good. The fire serpent and attack on Hogwarts was visually stunning. All the other effects we’ve come to expect, such as the pensieve, magical duels, etc., were stepped up a notch. My daughters didn’t appear to be deprived from not seeing it in 3D.
But the most important part of this movie, at least for me, was the human story, the emotional story. The race against time searching for the Horcruxes and figuring out the Deathly Hallows. Love amidst chaos. The end of innocence. Apathy in the face of tyranny. The terrible loss of life in the necessary fight against evil. The special effects were cool, but the story is about people, the characters that seem as real to us as any made of flesh and blood.
Leaving the movie theater, my teenager said, over and over: “Ten years of my life! I can’t believe it! It’s all over! Done! There’s never going to be anything this good.”
The fact of the matter is that my girls, the teenager in particular, have grown up with Harry Potter. I first read The Sorcerer’s Stone to them because I wanted to read it. It was three years after it was originally published in the U.S. and I’d heard such wonderful things, I felt I was missing out on something spectacular. My oldest was five years old at the time and the youngest was a toddler (who was probably too young to remember it). I’ve read to my children from a young age, but it was different this time. We bonded over Harry. I like to think I’m responsible for my children’s love of fantasy.
We read The Chamber of Secrets together, too, but after that, the oldest read them on her own and the youngest wasn’t as interested. We finally saw the movies later, once they were on DVD. Then, the enthusiasm fired up again. We’ve watched every movie as a family, discussed them afterward, compared them to the books.
When the last novel was released, we purchased it that night. Our local indie bookstore had a wonderful program. The kids dressed up as Hogwarts students and went from class to class: planted herbs in Herbology, transfigured modeling clay into fantastical creatures, mixed up potions, etc. When the magical hour arrived, we bought our copies. Afterward, we listened to a reading of the last chapter of the previous book, so we could remember where the story ended and be ready to delve into our new novels. It was a lovely experience.
The next day, my girls and I began reading the novel, together. Something we hadn’t done in years. The main thing I remember about it was trying hard as hell not to cry when each beloved character died. I thought I did ok until the climax. Then we all sobbed. (For the movie, we made sure to bring plenty of tissues, but it wasn’t too bad. Those sections were over so quickly and I only needed two tissues.)
I was so very, very pleased with the ending Jo Rowling wrote. And the film hit just the right note to complete this immense and amazing film series.
But I think I have to agree with my daughter on one thing: I don’t think we’ll see anything quite like Harry Potter again.
I will miss you, Harry.