Right, so that was a couple of weeks ago already. Time flies when you have no points of reference. So I guess by “back” one could say I meant “no longer a quivering heap incapable of stringing together coherent thought” and instead “capable of stringing together coherent thought but not yet able to do anything with it once strung”. Or something. I’ve been basically watching stuff on my laptop, screencapping it, and – having discovered Tumblr – blogging it. (Yes, I’m cheating on WordPress.)
One good thing about being part of Tumblr is that – given the geeks and nerds whose blogs I have chosen to follow – I’m a little more cognizant of what’s going on in the geeky nerdy world. (A little too cognizant, when it comes to spoilers for Game of Thrones and such, but c’est ça.) And one thing that came under my eye today (probably in the wee hours, because I’m still fighting against reverting to vampire hours) was a gifset: Remember May 2, 1998: The Battle of Hogwarts.
So I decided to watch (and, yes, cap) the two Deathly Hallows movies.
See, here’s the thing. I think I tend to underplay how important the Potterverse is to me, as though it means less than some of my other obsessions. But it is important. I don’t believe any other book release has meant as much as The Deathly Hallows. I know there’s not another book in my reading life that I have needed to read so badly, or which I took off away alone and opened and did not close – apart from necessary breaks for things like bathroom and water – until I reached the last page. I think it was six straight hours? Something like that?
But I never saw the last film. Deathly Hallows Part 1, yes – I think. I honestly don’t remember, and didn’t remember big chunks. (The dragon! Surely I’d remember seeing the dragon on the big screen?) But other chunks I do. (Which, thinking about it, could be because those parts adhered so closely to the book…?) Regardless, I never saw Part 2, because I refused to go when my family went, because … Did I mention there are going to be Harry Potter spoilers here? There are. Because of Fred. And Remus and Tonks, and Colin Creavey, and that’s just what I knew about going in; there were other things I didn’t take into account, and what it all adds up to is that the reason I gave for refusing to watch the film in the theatre is that I didn’t want to cry that much in public.
For the record, I was very wise.
This isn’t going to be a blow-by-blow review of The Deathly Hallows. I can’t do that right now, if ever. It’s just me maundering on about how utterly right I was.
It started in Part 1, of course. Hedwig. I remember while reading the book that I was positive Hagrid wouldn’t last the ride, and was so on edge that I barely registered Hedwig’s loss. And then of course there was Mad-eye – but that happened “off-stage” – and George’s ear – but he was joking about it almost immediately. And then Dobby… But I’ll be honest. JK forgive me, I hated Dobby, especially in the movies. I’ll acknowledge the awfulness of that, admit I welled up a little when they got to Shell Cottage, not mention how little, and move on, shall I?
No, I managed all that in public, with probably a sniffle or two. But I knew Part 2 would be different. “It wasn’t that bad,” my sister told me later; “They didn’t linger on it.” And she was right. They didn’t, as it turned out.
It didn’t matter. I was still a wreck. Because I knew anyway, and because the whole damn Weasley family was standing around a prone figure trying to comfort each other … and because I’d gotten a head start.
What I didn’t expect to hit me like it did was not the death of any person. One of the worst moments – in the first movie, at least – wasn’t a death at all, though; it was when Ron left. That was … hard. But I don’t think even the shot of Remus and Tonks bit quite as hard as … Hogwarts. Beautiful, idyllic Hogwarts, where help is given if you only ask, where most of six fat books and seven long movies took place, the safe and sure place, bastion of Right and Good, and above all Magic … first, surrounded by dementors … and then in ruins. Every shot of someone running through halls piled with rubble, every shot of broken arches and shattered towers – it broke my heart.
I didn’t cry over Snape. Not until the Pensieve and “Always”.
Being as I’m just lucky that way, lots of emotions bring tears to my eyes, so fierce pride in Professor McGonagall and Molly Weasley – two of the biggest badasses in the story – had me grinning damply. Best not to even talk about Luna, much less Neville.
But I wonder if I instinctively knew something that, while watching just now, I didn’t predict: most of the tears came at the end. “19 years later”, and the Weasleys and Potters seeing their kids off to school at Platform 9 3/4, and … that was it. For me, and … for the series. That was the end. Seven books, eight movies, sixteen years of my life … I’d delayed it two years, is all. And now it’s over. No more new Harry Potter.
That’s when the tears really came. So, again: good decision, past-me. I do prefer not crying in public.
To end on a lighter note – the effects were terrific in both movies. The battles were suitably intense. The story of the Three Brothers was one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen on film. The story as a whole was a bit gutted – e.g. what was the importance of Gellert Grindelwald, or rather did it come across to muggle movie-goers? – but with the pace of it all it was hardly noticeable till afterward and time to think. And finally, if I knew, I’d forgotten that Ciarán Hinds made an appearance. I spent five minutes completely distracted by trying to figure out who was under all of Aberforth’s makeup; I knew the voice, and I knew the mouth. That was kind of fantastic.
Oh – and for the record, I was sorted into Hufflepuff. Pottermore. It’s not altogether over, I suppose…
After all, Finch is on the job already…