I don't think I'm the only one who fell into a slight funk at a few minutes past 2 a.m. last Friday morning. Along with the 4,800 other people who'd crammed into a sold-out multiplex, I'd just experienced Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.
The last Harry Potter movie represents the end of an era for the now-adults who grew up with Harry, Ron and Hermione. Countless newspaper articles have addressed these Harry Potter twins, like this recent piece in the New York Times, which tells the story of a girl whose self-imposed deadline to get a job after graduating from college was July 15, 2011--the day of the movie release.
As far as a critique of the film, I'll just say that I loved it--of course. The Battle of Hogwarts was just as thrilling as I'd imagined it would be; in my theater, Mrs. Weasley's revenge on Bellatrix Lestrange got the applause it deserved. The pace of the story was so fast that my hands were sore from being clenched by the end of it all. There were audible (and multiple) gasps--and tears--in the audience.
Since Harry Potter is on the mind of so many book lovers this week, I thought it might be fun for readers to share their Harry Potter stories. When did you discover the series? What is your favorite book? Favorite movie?
Or are you one of those people (who-shall-not-be-named) who don't get what the fuss is about?
I'll go first. My mother saw J.K. Rowling appear on a talk show (Rosie O'Donnell, I believe) sometime after Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone came out, and before I went off to summer camp in July 1999, she bought me the first two books in the series.
I was 12, and I knew it was love from the beginning (after devouring the books, I started thinking in a British accent and I wanted to be Hermione so bad). From that moment on, I went to every midnight book release party--with the exception of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which came out while I was a camp counselor. Everyone had the novel delivered--the most mail camp had gotten in a single day. The entire camp nearly shut down as countless girls skipped activities to read about Harry, and counselors and campers alike sneaked out of their cabins at night to have secret book meetings. We made t-shirts that said, "I solemnly swear I am up to no good."
I could go on, but instead I'll let you share: Why do you love Harry Potter?
I'm a veteran of HP midnight screenings, and last night's activities did not disappoint. Wand-carrying, cape-wearing, lightning-bolt-sporting fans were out in large numbers to pack the several theaters showing the movie after midnight.
As usual, the crowd cheered the second John Williams' iconic theme started playing . . . and then the action kicked off and didn't slow down for two and a half hours.
If you're going to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I, you probably know where the plot is heading—although I won't write any spoilers. Suffice it to say that Harry, Ron and Hermione's quest seems bleaker and lonelier than ever as they search for the mysterious horcruxes, away from Hogwarts for the duration of the movie, constantly on the run from Death Eaters. I saw the movie with BookPage Web Editor Trisha along with contributors Stephenie Harrison and Tony Kuehn, and everyone agreed that the suspense in this movie was constant and effective. In this final (well, final—part I) chapter of the Harry Potter saga, Harry and his friends are almost completely self-reliant as they seek to destroy Voldemort. Although there's very little of the charming, happy scenes of wizarding life that I loved from the previous books and movies (scenes at the Burrow or in the classroom, for example), there are moments of humor, if not lightness—although I can't imagine a young child watching this scary adaptation.
I was always skeptical of how the two-part movie would split, but director David Yates (also the director of Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince) chose a natural spot. It's a cliff-hanger, but I don't think viewers will walk away unsatisfied.
Part II of the finale will not be released until July, which gives everyone plenty of time to re-read the entire series before the on-screen farewell. Did anyone brave the midnight showing? What'd you think?
Also on The Book Case: Watch a trailer for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
Scholastic • $34.99 • Originally published July 21, 2007
It feels like yesterday that I was waiting in line at a bookstore in New York City—at midnight—about to explode with excitement over the publication of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. (It seems like I can track my childhood in terms of where I was when I bought the Harry Potter books. Like, the time when I had one overnighted to rural Tennessee so I could read it at summer camp. Or the time I made my parents pull over to a Books-a-Million in Hattiesburg, MS, so I could read the latest Harry Potter en route to Florida on a family vacation.)
If you don't know what Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is about, then you probably have no interest in the series at all, because there's no way you could read earlier books and not make it to #7, in which Harry continues on his quest to find the final horcruxes and destroy Lord Voldemort once and for all.
I'm always shocked when I meet people who didn't read Harry Potter when it was coming out (especially people who are now in their '20s or '30s—wasn't everybody you knew reading it?). The Harry Potter series is fantastic. Even if you have never liked fantasy or children's/YA books, I'd encourage any person of any age to start the series. Forget about reading them because they're popular, or because the movie is coming out this week (woo-hoo!). Read them because J.K. Rowling's world building and character development is so detailed and alive that these stories will truly stick with you forever.
Here's a short excerpt from Deathly Hallows:
I had proven, as a very young man, that power was my weakness and my temptation. It is a curious thing, Harry, but perhaps those who are best suited to power are those who have never sought it. Those who, like you, have leadership thrust upon them, and take up the mantle because they must, and find to their own surprise that they wear it well.
In case you missed it yesterday–a second trailer for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I has been released. The movies just keep getting better; does this new glimpse have you looking forward to November 19?
A new trailer for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is now available:
Not gonna lie, it gave me goosebumps. (And made me think that it's time to start dusting off that Gryffindor scarf I got for Christmas a few years ago.) What about you? The trailer also raises some questions. Certain scenes (the face-off between Harry and Voldemort) will logically appear in Part II of Deathly Hallows. So this trailer is for both parts of the movie? The entire movie (Parts I and II) were filmed back-to-back, but I can't think of a natural separation point in the book. What do you think? Are you concerned that Part I will end at an awkward point?
Finally, what are your thoughts on watching a Harry Potter movie in 3D? I will tentatively say that I'm not crazy about the idea; I'm afraid that the effect will distract from the story and the characters, plus I like for the movies to be somewhat cohesive.
By the way, anyone had a chance to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter?
One for Eclipse (June 30), featuring a dramatic showdown between Edward & Jacob (and a remarkably assertive Bella).
And one for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I (November 19), which looks completely magical -- I have enjoyed all the David Yates-helmed installments.
You'll find me in the theater for both of these. Even though Eclipse was a major miss for me, so far the films have made the love triangle much less of a farce than it was in the books (did anyone ever doubt she'd choose Edward?). Plus, I am hoping to sit next to someone as crazy as the desperately sobbing woman who was in the theatre for my showing of New Moon.
The only part of Hallows that I found tiresome -- the prolonged camping scenes -- look like they've been transformed into something compelling, and hopefully shorter, here. I do wonder what they'll do about that epilogue, but that's a problem for Part II. How about you?