Friday, July 15, 2011

"You'll stay with me?" "Until the very end."

"Harry Potter. The Boy Who Lived. Come to die."

Last night I saw the 12:01 showing of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. We waited in line for close to five hours, combated sleepiness and fought for good seats, and at long last and too soon, the final installment of the Harry Potter began.

It's hard for me to express my feelings about the movie and the books and the end of the whole saga. Harry has been a part of my life for 12 years. I was among the generation of readers who started the Harry journey from the beginning, having to wait a year, sometimes two, between books. I loved everything about the Harry world and relished the hours I spent living it through Rowling's words. I dedicated close to a year of my undergraduate degree studying the stories, reading criticism, and loving the story and characters more than I did before.

I've said many times that I don't really like the movies. I feel that they stray away from quintessential elements of the story, and oftentimes are difficult to follow for people who haven't read the books. But Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 and 2 are absolutely incredible. I would never say that they are better than the books, but they are gosh darn close to being perfect.

There's so much I could say about every element of the film - the costumes, the sets, the cinematography and makeup, the special effects and dialogue, the music. Everything worked in perfect synchronicity. I've always loved Professor McGonagall and she is just a powerhouse in this movie. The screenplay is well-written, sad, powerful, touching, and triumphant. It's really a masterpiece. I laughed. I sobbed. I mourned and I rejoiced. It was a bittersweet and satisfactory ending.

More than the movie, though, what I loved about seeing The Deathly Hallows last night was the camaraderie that only comes from a shared passion. Hundreds and hundreds of people waited in lines for upwards of 10 hours to see the movie. Everyone was dressed in Hogwarts colours; ties and scarfs, robes, wands, sorting hats and Bellatrix wigs. There were youngsters who should've been in bed long ago and women in their 50s sporting shirts in support of Snape. When we filed into the theatre everyone rushed for a seat, but strangers helped strangers find two seats together, moving rows down and shuffling people about. The understanding that we were all here to experience this together hung around the shoulders of a room like a heavy cloak. We cheered uproariously, applauded as a unit, and laughed together. As the film came to it's close, we shared tears as a collective. We cried not only for the loved characters who were lost, but also for the end of an era; the concluding paragraph of Harry's - and our - story.

Harry Potter is more than just a book. It's a community of people who have loved this magical world in unique ways, but just as much I have. It's about a shared experience that goes beyond printed text on a page. That is temporary. To have loved Harry and the goodness, loyalty, friendship, and above all, love that he represents has been a privilege, and has imprinted itself on hearts across the world.

"You'll stay with me?" [asked Harry]
"Until the very end."

Jillz

4 comments:

Melissa Wheels said...

Well, this is just a marvelous blog post, Ms. Jillian. I agree with you wholeheartedly! Even after all of the weird shenanigans I experienced last night, the only question I am still asking is: WHY are there so many Bellatrix supporters? Do people not understand that she is the most evil fictional character ever to be created? Seriously. That is just too much. Too much Slytherin support, in general.

LuAnne said...

Well said Jill! Took my 10 year old to see it today. She read all 7 books over the past six months so that the movie wouldn't ruin the ending for her - I'm so proud!
I laughed, I cried and I'll do it all again in two days when I take my son.
Thank you JK for enriching my family's lives!

Anonymous said...

Jillian: I didn't read the books, nor did I see any of the movies and never really had an interest.

However, my reason for commenting is that I think that you should send your review to the newspaper or somewhere to print, because it's well said and, by George, you almost got me convinced to read the books and watch the movies.

Who knows, YOU could be the next J.K Rawlings? Isn't she one of your inspirations to enroll in the Master's program for Children's Literature?

Moulie.

Emily said...

I was saving the reading of this post until after I watched the movie for myself. This was beautifully said! I loved the story of Harry Potter all up through, even though I didn't read the books until this year. It always felt like something that would last forever, something to continually look forward to.
My regret is that I did not watch the final movie on premiere night, or at least opening weekend. I wanted to clap at the end of the movie but no one else did--the enthusiasm just wasn't there and I missed it. But the movie was phenomenal! Good end to a great series. Sigh.