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The Last (ok, 2nd Last) Harry Potter

September 25, 2010

Well, the trailer for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part I) has been out for a few days, but I’ve finally gotten around to watching it. (You can see it for yourself here) My response? Chills, and a certain, cautious optimism.

I know Harry Potter isn’t everyone’s favourite. However, I’m in that generational sweet spot. Whenever a new book came out, I was always a year or two younger than Harry. J.K. Rowling’s no Dickens, but she’s crafted a full, rich world  which I have no shame in adoring.

Now, Potter-defence out of the way, let’s move on to the trailer itself.

I’ll admit I was pessimistic about this penultimate Potter film. To my mind, it was going to be Part 1: wandering through the woods. Part 2: the climactic battle everyone waited for. And while I’m not entirely convinced that won’t be the case, the trailer cheered me a great deal. Lots of evocative music, sinister whisperings of cryptic words, a general feeling of darkness and desperation.

But what really struck me was how old the characters look now. Obviously, they’ve grown up. What’s more, they’ve grown up alongside me, and the people my age. I think that’s what makes the ending of the Harry Potter series so poignant for us. Potter-mania shaped our childhoods hugely. I remember sitting on the porch every time a new book came out, waiting for the mail truck with all my Potter paraphernalia spread around me. The fact that it’s over, the fact that Harry is no longer a boy-wizard, but a young man, reflects the truth that our childhoods are over, too.

I didn’t even enjoy the seventh book as much as the others. The pacing was off, too many new rules and backstories were added at the last minute. That doesn’t mean I didn’t read it all in one day, cry throughout, and cry harder when I finished it. Disappointing it may have been, but it was nevertheless an emotional experience to realize I’d closed a new Harry Potter for the last time.

The final films will be another “last time.” Just like the book, they have a lot riding on them for that very reason. When those credits roll at the end, that will finally, truly, be the end of the last chapter. It’s a hard thing, particularly for those of us who grew up with Harry.

There’s a certain poetic justice in the way the end of Harry’s adventures coincides so nicely with our entry into the adult world. Call that suave marketing if you will, but there’s no denying that this story brought a lot more magic into our childhoods. I only hope the final conclusion is a fitting one.

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus,

Arvik

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3 comments

  1. My only complaint with the series . . .

    Dumbledore dying rather than just being into a simulated death spell.

    I wanted real MAGIC at the end. A reunion of all the souls that He Who Must Not Be Named had killed. Harry’s parents, his godfather, and Dumbledore. Back on their feet front and center.

    I like the first film the best, because it helped me to see JKR’s words better in the remaining volumes.


    • Agreed that the first film was best… though it’s strange watching it now. They were so small!

      I’m not sure about Dumbledore’s death, though. As sad as it was, it raised the stakes so much for the final book. I just wonder whether it would’ve felt like a cop-out to have him suddenly alive again. That’s just me, though.

      That being said, I too would have liked a reunion of the dead. One of souls would’ve worked for me- perhaps when Harry was in King’s Cross station? Now that I think about it, it would have been a nice way to get some closure, preferable to just naming everyone in the “second generation” after those who had died.


  2. I’m a Potter fan a generation older. To me, “Goblet of Fire” is the high point (both book and film), because it has the perfect balance of levity and darkness, humor and danger, teenage angst and adult scheming. There are so many subplots, and they all tie up nicely in the tri-wizard tournament. There’s just so much going on for a middle book!



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