Tag Archives: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

The End of an Era: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

Ten years of being Spellbound by some of the most memorable characters in Contemporary Children’s Fiction came to a magical end two weeks ago with the
release of the second installment of the final Harry Potter film: “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2”. Having seen it twice, I think I can safely
say that this film, despite the pressure to tie up loose ends, seemed far easier to render on screen than the others, mostly because the book was so action-packed.
ON the other hand, J. K. Rowling’s descriptive language—the thing I’ve always loved most about her writing—painted such vivid pictures in the readers imagination
that to do them justice was no small feat. The scenes depicting the battle at Hogwarts were, I think, the strongest in the film, bringing the action on
the page to life precisely as I’d imagined—everything from the clanking of the suits of armor to the creeks and crashes of a magically-infused fortress
under siege.

***Spoiler warning***

The minor plot-changes toward the end were clever suspense tactics; Nevel killing the snake while Harry and Voldemort are battling rather than before Harry
reveals Voldemort’s botched attempt at killing him kept the audience guessing; what would happen if Harry attempted to destroy Voldemort with one horcrux
remaining? Even if this as primarily employed for the benefit of viewers who hadn’t read the series (in my opinion), it nevertheless kept everyone at the
edge of their seats.
There were a few minor details I thought they might have expanded on a bit more—Snape’s memories, for instance, and Dumbledore’s conversation with Harry
following Voldemort’s attempt to kill him. They didn’t do nearly as much with Harry’s relationship to Dumbledore as they might have in either the first
or second half of the film, and Harry’s struggle to maintain his trust of Dumbledore—his alternation between feelings of betrayal and loyalty—play a tremendous
role in his coming of age. On the one hand, to cling to Dumbledore is arguably the reflex of the child clinging to a security blanket; on the other, to
recognize that Dumbledore, with all of his power and wisdom, has moments of weakness, and to accept this and trust him with all his failings, is the mark
of a mature man. Harry’s insistent declaration that “I trusted the man I knew” is a powerfully-delivered line in the film—and indeed Daniel Radcliffe’s
final Potter performance was outstanding—but it reveals very little about the long, inner struggle Harry endures to reach that point.

I think though, that the strongest performance in this film was Alan Rickman’s; his characterization of Snape has always been intriguing and enigmatic;
I’ve found it far more difficult to detest him on screen than in the books. Snape has very little screen time in the second half of the film of course,
but what presence he has is powerfully allocated; the shot of him staring out of one of the castle windows at Hogwarts conveys all of the emotion that
we don’t get when we see Snape’s memories in the book. If a lot of the film is condensed, it does a phenomenal job packing some very powerful punches
with one-liners and swift screenshots. It might certainly have been interesting to see more of Snape’s relationship with Lily played out in the pensive,
but the script more than makes up for that with Snape’s final words to Harry: “You have your mother’s eyes.”

The film certainly did do its best to strike a fine balance between action and dialogue, and for the most part, it succeeded. All in all, a highly enjoyable
and authentic adaptation.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 1

I’ve just been to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, and I honestly must say that of the seven movies, this one was by far my favorite; naturally, it didn’t feel nearly as hurried because it was planned to be spread over two parts, but even so, I felt the explanations about elements of the plot–the story of the deathly hallows, for instance–were detailed enough to allow anyone unfamiliar with the books to follow along, but not too revealing.
The only thing the film didn’t touch on in as much detail, which I suppose will have to be dealt more with in the second half, was the new regime under Voldemort–specifically its impact on Hogwarts and the magical community. Voldemort’s sneering comments about mating with muggle-borns was a bit in the vicinity of Hitleresque eugenics, but numerous readers have commented upon the parallels between the pureblood philosophy and ethnic cleansing. I think the idea of compulsory education for all children in the magical community underscores the level of governmental control under Voldemort’s regime, but again, it’s difficult to draw conclusions about the way these issues are being treated without having seen both parts of the film.
The dynamic among the treo was fabulous; the tension was palpable; Daniel Radcliffe’s performance in particular was spot-on. The balance between humor and horror was managed well, though I did feel at times that there wasn’t enough time allowed for audience reaction; my laughter had hardly died away in places before I had time to brace myself against the shock of an attack, but I think that served as a means of drawing the audience into the constant tension–the unpredictability of the bouts of calm and storm that the readers and characters alike experience.
I did think it ended rather abruptly; I rather thought stopping just after Ron destroys the horcrux and the three reunite might have been a less awkward point, but thinking about it, that would have meant leaving off before we get to the story of the three brothers that explains the legend of the deathly hallows. I don’t suppose there could have been a non cliff-hangerish way to leave off.
In short, very well-worth the wait, and highly enjoyable!