Saturday, July 16, 2011

Thoughts on HP 7.2 (minor spoilers)

I remember vividly that I found the very first film rigid and dull, and joked afterwards that it would have been much more entertaining had I been gently buzzed on Oban. When did I start to like the films? I certainly thought that HP2 was an improvement. Nos. 1 and 4 remain my least favorite. Having seen the final film, I would like to go back and watch all the others in a row.

I can't sort out at all how much my reaction to the final film is based on the film itself, and how much based on having watched a large group of children grow up, and then to see them fighting for their lives. (of course, not really fighting for their lives; but it's as Dumbledore says: "of course it's happening in your head-- that doesn't make it any less real" -- and that's certainly true of watching Harry, Ron, Hermione, Neville, Fred, George, and Ginny-- and Luna, too.

Things that made me tear up: exit, on dragonback (and the dragon's quiet cry of relief? Joy?), and the sight of Thames-threaded London. Professor McGonigal readying Hogwarts; Snape; and Neville. and Fred and George. It's unusual for a film to provoke that sort of response in me.

I wished that it had been longer-- or no, perhaps that's not right , because I thought it well cut. I suppose I mean that I wish I had watched the first part directly before the second part. I was hoping that theaters would do a double feature, showing part 1 at 9p.m. and part 2 at midnight. Though I've never been a midnight showing person, that would have gotten me into the theatre.

I was delighted with Neville Longbottom's featured moment in the spotlight, though it made me sad that his status, as explained in the books, did not make it into the films.

The Snape/Dumbledore confrontation was wonderful. Was it just me, or was the edit of Dumbledore amplified so that he was an even darker figure than he had been in the books? Speaking of which, Harold Bloom and A.S. Byatt can kvetch all they like: I used to half agree with them, but the developments and revelations surrounding Dumbledore and his relationship with Harry, and Grindelwald elevate the series into a far more adult storyline. Though Rowling handles the dark complexity more subtly than the YA authors who were mentioned in last month's Wall Street Journal scrimmage, she's dealing with equally difficult, and important, territory.

Scattered questions and observations:

And was there a rather unexpected development in Neville's feelings for another character? I had thought that Rowling established something else as canon, but I was delighted by the line, if I heard it correctly.

It's a little strange watching a film where characters can and are dying, when at the same time I'm watching Torchwood: Miracle Day, which is about a world in which people stop dying.

And speaking of not dying, I've been thinking all afternoon about Hermione's decision to simply leave her family-of-origin behind. I don't want to complain that it's under explored, exactly-- on the contrary, Hermione is the character with whom I can most easily identify, and her relationship with her family is part of that. I do think, however, that in a series that is ALL about family, that her actions go strangely unremarked upon. But perhaps the HP academic essayists have discussed it, and I simply haven't found the essay?

All in all, I think I'm looking forward to Pottermore...perhaps more than I was earlier.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


  1. Hermione's relocation of her family (and her wiping herself out of their memories) was the bit that made me tear up, unexpectedly, in the first installment of part 7. It was the shot of her erasing herself from the family photos that did it. And that *was* a strange loose end to leave dangling -- I don't remember its being resolved in the book, either, though I'm sure we're meant to assume she restored their memories and brought them back as soon as the fighting was over.

    I didn't have quite as strong a reaction to the shots of London as you did, but there was definitely a twinge of "oh! London! there's the Thames! I've been there!" *sniff*

    McGonigall made me cry, too. Ditto Snape's Pensieve flashback scene. And Harry apologizing to the ghosts. And, oddly, those couple of shots of Slughorn looking startled and despairing (though that may also because I'm so very fond of Jim Broadbent, who plays him).

    And I think you're right about Neville's declaration. I rather like that pairing as well.

  2. See, I'd swear that somewhere else in the series, we're told that memory loss spells *can't* be reversed -- but now I'm not sure where that is. Hmmm.

  3. I am sure that, in the books, Hermione said that if they won, she would bring her parents back, and if they lost, they would never remember her.

    Was it a Luna/Neville pairing? I never wanted that one to turn from friendship into relationship.

  4. Seriously, your reaction with London here (where I've never been...yet!) is the same I had with scenes of Paris in Ratatouille. Actually teared up in some scenes. Told my daughter Amara "I *will* get you there someday." And- while it's in the Pyrenees, not Paris, she's actually spending the day in France today in the midst of a trip to Spain.