Harry's Last Hooray (Or: The Post in Which my Boyfriend Disowns Me)
While everyone else in Milwaukee was sharing in the potentially World's Largest French-Toast Toast and Storming the Bastille, I was preparing myself for my last foray with Harry Potter.
Okay - that's a lie. It would be my last new foray, but perhaps not my last entirely. I will inevitably still read, listen to (I love JIm Dale) and watch Harry Potter over and over. I won't be able to help it; he was an important part of my life.
My mom gave me the first Harry Potter book when I was 10 years old. This meant that I spent my 11th birthday wishing that Hogwarts were real and willing an owl to bring me my letter. Ten years on, I have finally accepted my status as decidedly muggle, but that does not change my feelings for J.K Rowling's magical world.
Despite my 11th birthday passing uneventfully, Harry stayed with me for other important milestones in my life. I picked up the fifth book at midnight on my way back from one of my first ever live concerts. The seventh and final tome was released just before the start of my senior year of high school; symbolically, I opened the last book at the close of my childhood.
Now, the final part of the last movie is coming out just before my senior year of college and just after my 21st birthday. Harry and I are moving on together; but not before I cry my eyes out to the movie in theaters a minimum of twice.
My first impression of my first viewing, which happened at the Bayshore iPic at midnight (just eight or so hours ago), was one of sheer adrenaline. At first, I thought that perhaps I was too tired to be excited; yet as my boyfriend arrived with a butterbeer in hand - the iPic's own special mixed drink for the evening - and the first images flickered across the screen, I felt my heart begin to pound.
As I already established, I'm a pretty big Harry Potter fan. In that way, I may be biased when I say that this movie in particular was amazing; but for the most part, I think it's universally true. Perhaps it was because this was the last in the series, but it seemed to be the most coherently done of all the other films. It included many scenes that were taken verbatim from the book, which was pretty fantastic and powerful to see. True to my expectations, I cried at least three times (which is about three times less than I did when I first read the last book on a crazy, non-stop, 24-hour bender of literature).
Those who complained that the first half was slow moving, just another film about walking to find things, will be pleased with the pacing of this final part. The majority of the movie is the battle for Hogwarts, and as usual the special effects do not disappoint. Even my boyfriend, who has not read the books dozens of times, admitted that although he did not remember half of what was happening, he still enjoyed watching.
The beauty of Harry Potter is that even for someone who did remember everything that was happening, it still felt new; it still felt important and scary and mysterious, and even though you knew the ending would be alright, you still found yourself tense as you waited to be reassured that yes, it really would be. It's that the gives the books - and thus the movies they are based on - so much staying power; the world that has been created is so immense, and the characters so vibrant, that each reading or viewing can feel like a fresh adventure with new facts to uncover.
I look forward to seeing the movie again in the next few weeks, perhaps at an earlier hour. It will be nice to watch from further back on the edge of my seat. There was so much to put into this movie that I found myself half the time trying to guess what scenes would be included and praying that my favorite ones made the cut. Overall, I was not disappointed; and I'm sure I will not be the second time around, either.