There are many people that criticize one thing or another about the Harry Potter books and movie series. “They are children’s stories!” “They talk about witchcraft!” “They can’t compare to the literary classics!”
All of these statements miss the point.
First and foremost, J.K. Rowling’s series has inspired more young children to read than probably any book in the history of the world. There are generations of kids, from now and moving forward, that start with the childlike The Socrerer’s Stone, and move steadily through the series and follow Harry Potter’s path through adolescence just as they themselves mature. Most readers are youngster that have grown into adulthood with Harry; the books followed the normal progress of every preteen. Rowling has given us a treasure more valuable than her books; it has inspired a generation of youngsters to reading. Very few others can make that claim.
Secondly, the story, both books and movies alike, are as centered into our culture as any story I can think of. At its core, Harry Potter is an orphan who is forced to face the realities of a cruel world, and ultimately, must fight evil for the greater good. He is honest, devoted to his friends, and more than anything believes in the forces of good over evil.
I was an adult by the time the Harry Potter series began. And my children are still too young to read these books. But in youngsters everywhere, I have seen an affinity to this series like no other. It goes to show that the story is so appealing that so many other age groups have become enthralled with the stories of Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Ronald Weasley, and the multitude of other characters that are now ingrained in our social dynamic. The only stories that have captured the imagination of fans of so many ages that I can think of is Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings saga.
Admittedly, the books and movies are somewhat separate. There is no way to turn the books into movies without some artistic leeway. That goes doubly true for the seventh book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The book, 784 pages in all, could never have been made into a single movie…and thus, we are left with Part 1 and Part 2 in the movie series.
In this 8th and final film of the Harry Potter series, the movies finally enter their climactic sequences. The war, led by the evil forces of Voldemort, is going very badly. The good guys are losing at every turn. People are dying, and only Harry has the ability to end the suffering. And that suffering will end, one way or another, at the site of most of our adventures with Harry….Hogwart’s School of Magic and Wizardry.
Harry, Ron and Hermione have basically been on the run, fleeing one threat or another, for the better part of a year. They have had virtually no adult assistance, with their major supporters either dead or in hiding themselves. That have face starvation, the elements, each others weaknesses, not to mention the ever looming threat of capture, torture and death. In the first part of the Deathly Hallows (spoilers if you have not seen the film) they barely escape the clutches of Malfoy Manor, only to be rescued by of all people, Dobby the House Elf. However, Dobby dies in the escape, ending the movie in tears and heartbreak.
I always avoid all significant spoilers, and will do so again here. The basics are these: critical pieces of the puzzle to destroy Voldemort remain, and Harry must obtain them before ever hoping to defeat his enemy. This leads us first to Gringott’s, the wizards bank which we were introduced to in the first movie. There, we see an extraordinary action scene play out, which sets up the final scenes of the series. The action closes at Hogwarts, as the forces of Voldemort and the allies of Harry Potter meet for a deciding battle. The final clashes of the film, in the Battle of Hogwarts, rival scenes from the Lord of the Rings. This will be music to the ears of fans, many envisioning exactly that when they read the book 4 years ago. The final battles have the heartbreak and agony that should go with a war movie…which this ultimately is.
Emotionally, the movie hits all the right notes. Yes, it does abbreviate some characters paths, but key characters such as Harry, Voldemort, Severus Snape and others get their appropriate due. And the losses (yes, there are heavy losses) are emotionally charged, as they should be. The ultimate climax and end of the movie, which I was pretty concerned about, were done perfectly, and I think will please most viewers.
This is a more than fitting end to this series. Like the books, the movies take us from childish banter in the early movies to vicious, destructive and emotional battle for the freedom of all in the final film. A fabulous end to a fabulous series.