In less than two weeks fans of Harry Potter will be lining up in Hogwarts robes and pointy hats for the last time. In theory. Star Wars fans probably thought that when they got their Jedi robes dry cleaned for the Return of the Jedi release in 1983. Part II of The Deathly Hallows, the last book of the series, comes to theaters on July 15. It’s set to hit viewers hard with action and emotion. No, I won’t give away the secrets of the final movie (really though, if you haven’t read the books, you should check them out). This is a look back in time over my favorite scenes in each of the previous films.
Spoilers for movies 1-7.0 after the jump.
The Sorcerer’s Stone – Arrival to Hogwarts.
After all the kerfluffle it took to get the enrollment invitation for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to Harry Potter, the actual school could have been anti-climatic. It had Hagrid, Diagon Alley, and the train to compete with. Our eyes had already been taken on a journey that pushed the boundaries of visual over-stimulation. How could this world get more magical? Easy. The school is a looming castle that portrays the definition of enchanting. The image of the students crossing the lake with only the light on their boat as a guide causes goosebumps.
The Chamber of Secrets – Aragog and the Basilisk
The creatures stole the show in the second installment. Considering the world of Harry Potter is brimming over with CGI creations, that says a lot. The Chamber of Secrets was opened to purge the impure wizards and witches from the school. It turned out to be a suitable place for a basilisk to hide. The school’s passages also hid a giant spider at the same time. What are the odds? If I had a mythical creature, I’d find somewhere more out of the way to hide it – like in Hagrid’s hut. Oh, wait. Joking aside, these beasts made me hide behind my popcorn in fear. They were too realistic for my liking and that makes them the most memorable part of the movie.
The Prisoner of Azkaban – Saying Good-Bye to Sirius
Finally, Harry Potter gets some cheerful news about his family. He has a godfather. Never mind the fact that he wanted to kill Sirius Black for most of the movie; he was misinformed. It happens. We all feel joy at the prospect of Harry spending summer break and holidays with anyone but the dreadful Dursleys. The world is cruel though. And by world, I mean author J. K. Rowling. The reunion is short-lived. To avoid capture and a return to Azkaban, Sirius has to flee under the cover of night with his new freedom friend Buckbeak. The good-bye made my tear ducts activate and wrenched my heart. For me, it was the most touching moment of the movies to that point.
The Goblet of Fire – Confrontation with Voldemort
It was hard for me to be anything but grossed out by the wrinkly, baby-head Voldemort in the first film. It was terrifying only in that I continually checked the back of my head for a week to make sure that there weren’t any growths. The Dark Lord didn’t send shivers down my spine until the end of The Goblet of Fire. He has a body, power, and a commanding presence that made me slide down my seat in hopes of hiding from his view (I did that with Sauron’s eye, too). He carelessly kills Cedric Diggory and almost has Harry in his grasp. This moment says Voldemort’s back, and he’s taking names. Or you know, lives.
The Order of the Phoenix – Ministry of Magic Showdown
When Dolores Umbridge – someone please fetch that lady a lozenge – stops all useful defensive magic teaching at Hogwarts, a group of students form Dumbledore’s Army. Despite the Ministry slandering Harry Potter, some schoolmates stand beside him. That number keeps growing. Harry teaches them how to protect themselves; we even get a training montage in the Room of Requirement. This builds up to one of the most gripping and beautifully coordinated scenes in the series: the fight at the Ministry of Magic. From the shattering crystal balls in the Hall of Prophecy to the courage of his friends to the editing and the lighting, this scene just doesn’t let go.
The Half-Blood Prince – Horace Slughorn’s Buried Memory
Dumbledore knows a secret about Voldemort. He’s made horcruxes. Plural. No wonder it’s been challenging to get rid of him. However, the wise Headmaster doesn’t know all the pieces of the puzzle. He brings back a former Hogwarts teacher to solve the mystery. Horace Slughorn collected the best and brightest students, and Tom Riddle was a gem among them. He let himself be tricked by Riddle into divulging information about the dark magic of creating horcruxes. He was so embarrassed by his misstep that he blurred his own memory. Harry has to use the Felix Felicis potion to align the perfect string of events to get Slughorn to admit his falter. You can see the shame line his face. This brief moment in time illustrates how much power and charm Voldemort had even as a teenager.
The Deathly Hallows, Part I – The Tale of the Three Brothers
It was hard to choose a favorite scene from the next to last movie. I could hardly narrow it down. The Deathly Hallows barely stopped to let viewers breath. I liked that, but it made for an emotionally intense experience. One moment of respite was during the telling of The Tale of the Three Brothers from Beedle the Bard. You were still on the edge because you just had a hunch that something was out of place in the Lovegood household (I mean, besides them just being nutty), but it was a break. The animation was riveting, and the story naturally read like a fairytale in our Muggle world.
Now I’m feeling nostalgic. And yes, I realize that it is a fictional world drawing out those feelings. I felt the same when the book version of The Deathly Hallows was released. No more lining up outside the bookstore at midnight and greedily devouring the newest pages about the Boy Who Lived in one sitting. Singer Mandy Maynard sums up my feelings in her parody of Beyoncé’s Halo called Hallows. It’s hard to let go.
J. K. Rowling anticipated that fans would feel this sadness, and she released some news to fill in the emptiness. Internet buzz about Pottermore started just a couple of weeks ago with the mysterious website and a countdown. It was official and had to do with Harry Potter. Fans salivated for any further word about content, feverishly hoping for new Potter stories. That’s not going to happen. At least, not for now. Instead the site, opening in October, will be a sort of reference source for the world of Harry Potter and “an online reading experience unlike any other.” It seems like handing sugar filled candy to a kid to distract him/her from a scraped knee. We’re vulnerable, and we’ll cling to whatever we’re given.
I’ll start thinking about Pottermore after The Deathly Hallows, Part II. I need to find my Ravenclaw house tie.