The End of a Ten-Year Journey

I will miss you, Harry Potter.

*NO SPOILERS*

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.”

Meh.

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.

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13 comments on “The End of a Ten-Year Journey

  1. Texanne says:

    Yes, it’s been quite a decade. I bought the first Harry Potter book because people were trying to ban it, so naturally I had to see this thing. K, who now has a driver’s license, was my first audience for the reads. C was a toddler, and Z hadn’t been born yet!

    Even though you know going into the theater what the story is, evidently it is still hard to watch the tragedies unfold. JKR wows me. That first book, I kept going, “Well, that’s an awkward sentence.” But the characters! And the conflict! And the long arc! Wow, JKR, just wow.

    George Lucas should study her work, you know? :)TX

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  2. ekcarmel says:

    Lol – yeah, George Lucas forgot a few things with the newest Star Wars trilogy!

    I find it amazing people still try to ban books. Did we learn nothing from WWII?

    JKR certainly did get better as a writer as she went along. I suppose now it’s a bit of a Catch-22. When she writes anything else, it’ll always be compared to her first books. My daughter just discovered a new website that JKR is working on involving the Harry Potter universe. Should be interesting to see what happens.

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  3. Hopefully you both know about HPANA – the first fan site JK ever visited (she said so on her site). I’ve been a member there for years and it really helps during these times when it feels like we’re losing Harry. Check it out if you haven’t at http://www.hpana.com. (It’s been my homepage since 2004.) There’s news but the community is what I love.

    My daughter and I went to the 10:10am showing of DH: Part II and the theater was packed! It was my second favorite movie of the series, Chamber of Secrets being my first (hers, too). Goblet of Fire is my favorite BOOK of the series so I won’t even talk about the movie LOL.

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    • ekcarmel says:

      Hi, Leah – it’s so good to see you! I see you have a new post on your blog too, so I’ll have to pop over there.

      HPANA.com is a new one to us, but looks interesting and the teenager said she’d check it out more. Thanks! We’ve been excited by something new called Pottermore.com that JKR is involved in and will be available in Oct (or earlier, if you submit your email address).

      Packed at the early showing too – wow! We went at night and expected it to be, and it was. You know, I’ve loved every book and it’s hard to choose a favorite. I read books 3, 4, and 5 so fast I’ve forgotten the wonderful details which make the books a delight. I might just have to go back and reread soon!

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      • Yeah I’ve been a lurker the past few months because of my work schedule. But remember: just ’cause you don’t see me doesn’t mean I’m not around and reading your posts 😉

        There was a big hoopla over Pottermore especially leading up to its reveal. But I’m keeping my fingers crossed JK will release an encyclopedia in print for those of us who can’t spend hours online to read up on all the goodies she plans to share on the new site. (I already spend a minimum of 8 hours a day reading the computer screen for work, then there’s my writing and my blog reading…my poor eyes LOL.)

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        • ekcarmel says:

          How did I miss your reply? So sorry.

          Yes, I thought maybe you were around but weren’t able to participate. 😉 You lurker, you!

          A print encylopedia would be great. Hmm, maybe in time for Christmas? Oh, woops. That’s probably when they intend to offer the entire movie series together. Which I’m leaning toward. We never bought any of the DVDs this whole time. Decisions, decisions…

          Since you are someone I know and whose opinion I value and who happens to spend so much time at a computer screen, I have a blog-formatting question. Is the dark background really that difficult to read? Several social media-gurus have mentioned the dark background is hard to read, as well as unprofessional looking. Maybe it’s the former art student in me, but I like the graphic look of it. But I’d consider changing it if it would make it easier for people to read my blog. What’s your opinion?

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  4. I’ll be forever grateful to J.K. Rowling because she got my youngest daughter, who had learning disabilities, to start reading. This past year I finally had the time to sit down and read the books myself. I loved them, they were a good deal more complex than I expected. J.K. Rowling’s growth as a writer is evident in every book.

    I don’t think this next part is a spoiler but just in case: *Maybe Spoiler*

    Snape has always been an intriguing character to me (besides the fact Alan Rickman brilliantly portrays him). The ending of the series reveals an
    amazing, multi layered character that makes you want to go back and read it again to see what you missed the first time around.

    As a family we’ve seen all the movies. I hesitate to see this last film because when it’s done, it’s done. I both dread and look forward to it. I agree there will never be another series like it. Long live Harry Potter!

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    • ekcarmel says:

      I’ve heard that the HP books inspired many kids who didn’t like to read or who had trouble reading. Kudos to your daughter!

      Snape always seemed like such an archetype that I never thought much about him, except as an antagonist. It was quite a revelation to discover his depths in the last novel. When I reread the novels, I’ll definitely pay more attention!

      Well, if not for my daughters, I probably would have waited as well. When ever you see the movie, though, I’m certain you’ll like it.

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  5. Oh I’m sure that’s when they’ll release DVDs. I have the first six but am making myself wait until I see how they’ll package the seventh before I buy it. Sure wish they’d treated the Harry Potter DVDs like the Lord of the Rings and released “special extended” versions. Man, those LotR DVDs were probably the best “extended” versions I’ve ever bought. Anywho, back on track…

    Aesthetically, black backgrounds with white or light text are pleasing to the eye. So I’m in total agreement from the graphics design perspective. But from a reader’s perspective it is hard on the eyes, mine anyway. The white text glows against the black and after about an hour my eyes start to hurt.

    I know there’s a big debate about this topic around the blogosphere. And I can’t tell you how many themes I’ve l-o-v-e-d but didn’t use because they were dark backgrounds with light text. My current theme is even a little too bright overall (for me), and I plan to experiment (in the child theme I’m working on) with a slightly darker background behind the text to make it easier to read.

    I think with blogs it’s best to stick to whatever format is going to be easiest to read: that means colors, fonts, and minimal clutter (have you SEEN some people’s sidebars?!) Websites with minimal copy can get away with using the fancy graphics and flashy color schemes and so on because people aren’t reading large chunks all at once. Plus,consumers do like their bright, shiny objects so most sites (and their designers) feed into their affinity for glitz and glam. 🙂

    In the end, it’s YOUR blog and, just like your house, you can decorate it however you like. It’s all about how comfortable you want guests to be when they arrive and how long you want them to stay. I, for one, would love to drape fake cobwebs over everything, dangle fuzzy spiders everywhere, light the house with orange bulbs and play ominous music nonstop, but then I’d probably scare most people away, and my kid would probably develop a complex. Or turn into Wednesday Addams. At the very least she’d develop eye troubles from reading in orange light so often. Point is, go with your gut – if you love your theme and don’t think it’s an issue for the majority, then ignore the gurus.

    Okay that was probably way more of a response than you wanted LOL. Feel free to e-mail me by the way. I’m off to watch Red Riding Hood (2011) on DVD. It’s my favorite-ist “fairy tale” EVER so I hope the film isn’t totally Twilight-esque 😉 Have a lovely weekend!

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    • ekcarmel says:

      Ooo! Ooo! I’ve got the same extended LotR DVDs and absolutely love them! I vote for something like that for Harry. Wonder if anyone is listening?

      That’s why I asked you for your opinion on blog backgrounds. I wanted the whole scoop! Thank you. I’m going to mull it over for a while. Honestly, I start getting itchy to “rearrange the furniture” after a while. Btw, I really dig your fantasy home decorating theme. I only get to indulge in it for about a month – but it’s comin’ up soon!!!

      Thanks, I shall just have to e-mail once in a while. Take care.

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  6. […] with movie constraints. I also liked The Deathly Hallows – Part 2, for the reasons I noted in a previous post. But the rest? I can take them or leave […]

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  7. Lola says:

    I don't think it's Chrome. I think it's Google and/or some cooperative anirlma-wate consortium. I just got a big scary warning page when I tried to visit that site using Firefox.If you're owner of that site, there are steps you can take. Details upon request.

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  8. Milly says:

    Whitney, thanks for including us! Plus, good news: It’s 4 out of 6 now at NabeWise! We just hired a 4th and we hired another woman. Not detarebilely, it’s just what happened.

    Like

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