Saturday, 16 July 2011

End of an era

I just went to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2  twice... seven o'clock on the fifteenth with some friends, then on the sixteenth (today) at six-fifteen in the evening with my family, who I forced to sit through about ten minutes of credits because - as I was laughed at for stating - "They are my people."

tl;dr: Film was fucking awesome. Errors were there. Who cares? I think too hard about fiction. Nostalgia.

I took issue, as could only be expected, with a few points, but overall, it was a fitting end to the era, and I feel my childhood has now officially slipped away. I grew up with those books and films, it was not simply a story, it was an experience - though unlike some friends, I gave up waiting for my letter from Hogwarts a few years ago and embraced being a Muggle.

Easily fooled I may be, caught in the spell of a flawed series of books and a flawed set of films, but they captured my imagination and in the world of Harry Potter I met characters I could relate to, those I couldn't, things I recognised, sly little satires on the ordinary world, but the more into the books and the films I got the more I appreciated being a Muggle. I could go on forever, far longer than this paragraph, when I'm getting myself to sleep I explore where Joanne Rowling took us and where she didn't and where I can't quite remember: owl post and the Floo Network is all very well, but I have e-mail, chats, forums, social networks and instant messaging - I can meet people who share my interests and open me up to new ones at the click of a button. Sure, the wizarding world is generally greener than ours (though they clearly don't care enough about the environment to lend a few wands to tackling global climate change) but it's also more closed. Sticking your head in a fire is uncomfortable, Skype on the other hand is as comfy as the beanbag in your bedroom. Where in Hogwarts to they offer Human Biology and Physics? History of Magic is all very well, but what about learning some of the Muggle wars - surely the wizarding world was hit by the world wars? And even if they weren't, isn't it worth teaching to the young wizards as a lesson? We learn American and Eastern European history in Britain. I despise Maths with all my heart, but there's no denying it surprises me with it's usefulness on occasion. What if a young witch or wizard wanted to go into film or television or into government, technology or medical care in the non-wizard world? They would have to have exam results falsified or spend years at colleges gaining the necessary qualifications.

Also, no Doctor Who or David Attenborough for wizards? I'll stick to muggling it.

There you have it, and I'm not alone in thinking too hard, there are people out there who think harder and (somewhat alarmingly) more seriously than I do. It's a nostalgic type of interest and intrigue with me, some people get right in deep and philosophical, accusing Rowling of anti-Semitism, homophobia, misogyny and being an evilz capitalist. Not that I can be bothered with most (read: any) of them.


But the film! I enjoyed, it was utterly epic, beautifully shot and gorgeously put together. The Pensieve scene was to die for. I wanted to be involved in editing that so badly. To put it simply: they did good. Sure Lily's eyes didn't match Harry's (I'M TELLING YOU, NEMO, THEY WERE BROWN), the fight between Bellatrix and Molly wasn't long enough, the Dumbledores' story was skipped (I see a prequel film coming...) and Harry didn't fix his wand... but really, I didn't expect perfection. The escape from Gringotts showed me exactly how brilliant CGI can be, the dragon was exquisite. Matthew Lewis' Neville is both the same  round faced boy we met in the first book and the heroic man he is meant to be by the end. Bonham Carter and Watson as Hermione was well-judged and thought through. 

However, it was Maggie Smith as Professor McGonagall who stole the show for me. Both suitably grave - banishing Snape from the castle and protecting her students - and yet human, with her excitement at using the spell to release the Hogwarts gargoyles and in delivering the line to Seamus, nodding towards his mishap in first year Charms. It did irritate me she had to send the Slytherins to the dungeons, but as with much of it, they did have to keep the story going. 

Did I mention how fucking beautiful the dragon was?

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