Picture this: me a high school student prepping for college, being schooled by a twelve year old: You’ve never read Harry Potter? Call me old and uncultured, but I hadn’t. Yet. In response, I picked up Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I read it in a couple of hours, and proceeded right into Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Stints in Azkaban, the Triwizard Tournament the Ministry of Magic and six films later . I am now a twenty-seven year old grown woman, anxiously awaiting the final Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Come November 19, I will be amongst eager readers and viewers everywhere beginning the final chapter. The suspense, drama and wizardry await, and they can’t come soon enough. Why so excited? Plenty of reasons.
Have you read The Deathly Hallows? The dark undertones that precede it in The Half Blood Prince only add to it here. Forget Dolores Umbridge, she’s old news. The threats she caused have nothing on the big bad Voldemort! Yes, I can say his name. I’m no wizard. Dark undertones can be a great lead in for any film, especially one you’ve been waiting on for a number of years now. By the time The Deathly Hallows was released in 2007, five Harry Potter films had been released, and the excitement only brewed more for what is sure to be an exciting and dramatic final film.
No fan of the Harry Potter series is not waiting for the final showdown between Harry and the dark Lord. Bound to be the centerpiece of the second half of the Deathly Hallows films, this is what we’ve been waiting for. While they have met before of course, there’s nothing like that final, fatal encounter. As intense it is in the book, it’s bound to be more so onscreen. The tension between the two of them is classic cinema good versus evil. Too bad we will have to wait until next year to see that but who cares? We all know it’s coming any anything that can get us there is worth noting. This time, however, his presence will be more felt as we won’t have to wait until the end of the movie to see him. Ralph Fiennes is an excellent actor who deserves more screen time, and here he finally gets it.
For all of those not into the Twilight series, how nice will it be to see Harry Potter and company take back the spotlight again? A far superior series in both book and film, Harry Potter offers a more thought-provoking drama about good and evil rooted in the young getting in on the fight. Hermione is much cooler than Bella Swan. From what non-Twihards have seen, Swan is a morose teen ready to hide in the background; Hermione on the other hand, is a ready and able girl throwing herself into the chaos. What a better heroine for young girls, one both brainy and tough, emotional and strong, ready and able to fight. Score one for Muggles everywhere, this girl is a force, one that shows itself throughout the Harry Potter series.
Finally, Ron and Hermione get together! The coupling has only been hinted about for six movies now, and as they’ve grown up and experience much together we all have known they’d end up together. Remember Hermione bringing Viktor Krum to the Yule Ball in the Goblet of Fire? What a classic teenage drama, the two never admitting feelings for so long, always jealous of the other’s romantic pursuits? It culminates starting now, and it is very well worth the wait. We also get to see the Ron’s acceptance of Harry and Ginny as a couple, an emotional growth for Ron that is characteristic of the series.
The Harry Potter series is realistic in the emotions of teenagedom, high school cliques, failed romances and jealousy. There’s character development. How often is it that we see a lead character acting out badly after his life being threatened so many times? Harry’s anger is justified, yet uncharacteristic because such a reaction is not often seen. Our heroes are classically brave, stoic and unyielding. Admitting that non-stop threats to your life are bothering you? Never! Until now. It’s uplifting in its reality that we see these characters for who they really are, fleshed out in their emotional growth, warts and all. The emotionality grows with each film, leaving these last two to be very profound.
Another thing we don’t see so often in stories involving young heroes is the parents getting in on the fight. No stranger to the cause, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley are heroes in their own right, fighting alongside their children against the Dark Lord. To all of you who haven’t read the books, never, ever count a Weasley out. We get to see The Order of the Phoenix in full force this time around. Powers used in battle are much more explosive, much more feral and brutal. We get to see what seasoned veterans can do, rather than just a bunch of scrappy young upstarts.
Of course, we can’t forget the magic. This is fantasy, after all. A good one at that. Flashes of light, spells that kill and horcruxes that can help defeat evil abound; there’s a whole new vocabulary Harry Potter fans learn, making it that much more fun. As much as there is story and character, there is this fantastical aspect that doesn’t become novelty or left out. Instead, it’s as much a part of the story as anything else. Voldemort is such a strong, powerful adversary that he needs magic stronger than him to defeat him, and it is evident here. Ready to be blown away by the good guys’ magical capabilities? I can’t wait.
Of course, this being the first of the last two films, we get the ultimate reward of all. Culmination and resolution to what is a great story. This is the battle of good and evil for a new era, with magic and emotion and a realistic, sometimes gritty story. It’s just not simplistic fantasy; it’s the idea that what if magic was really a part of our lives? What we would do if we had ability over others; would we abuse our powers? Would we study those not like us, would we protect them from harm? How could we as magical beings, find delight in anything when we could give ourselves everything? This is a great thought-provoking study in humanity, addressed in such a fascinating fashion. We can still turn to literature to explore ourselves without it being boring. Yes, there’s wizards and wands and werewolves, but there’s also humanity and compassion. This is not a simple tall tale. Newbies can still get something out of it, even if they’re no that particularly interested. And why not make it fun? This is entertainment that lasts, and it shows.
Come November 19, we’ll all be waiting for the start of what sure will be an excellent dramatic finish. From the dramatic tension to the romantic, from the young and old in battle, from the culmination of Harry and Voldemort finally facing off in one final, fatal battle to female empowerment to the empowerment of all this is going to be pretty good. Don’t just sit and wait, run to see this movie. It’s going to be in Imax and 3-D too! After waiting several years for this, we all deserve it. To all of you ready to see Harry Potter and company fight the final battle for good, I’ll see you at the movies.