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Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 Review | Saying Good-Bye to ‘The Boy Who Lived’

A movie poster for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

The last installment of the Harry Potter film franchise doesn’t beat around the bush. It starts right where it left off with Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) stealing the elder wand from Dumbledore’s grave and casting its power into the sky. It sets off a flurry of non-stop action sequences as Harry (Danielle Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) seek out and attempt to destroy the last of the Horcruxes.

One minute they’re on the beach, the next they’re in Gringotts, then they’re in Hogsmeade, then there’s a battle at Hogwarts. Somewhere in there they ride a dragon, Prof. McGonagall (Maggie Smith) proves she won’t back down without a fight, Mrs. Weasley shows how far a mother’s love goes, Ron and Hermione get–uh–closer and Neville Longbottom (Matthew Lewis) finally becomes the hero he was born to be.

David Yates, the film director, never leaves any stone unturned when it comes to portraying the action as realistically as possible, which is hard considering the overwhelmingly fictional concept. But he does it well. In one scene inside Hogwarts, he even makes sure you can see flashing coming from outside where Death Eaters are wearing down the magical protection around the castle to get in. That attention to detail and the loyalty to the original text easily helps catapult this film into the top spot.

Snape (played flawlessly by Alan Rickman), in both the book and film version, turns out to be someone completely different than we all thought he was. Unfortunately, the film went the same route as the book and didn’t give him the interpretation his story deserved. His whole teen years are actually left out, which was important to realizing the depth of his past. But people who hadn’t read the books seemed to understand what was going on anyway, thanks to good editing. Somewhere inside Snape’s past is a secret concerning Dumbledore that will change Harry’s life forever and he’ll realize whether he really is fighting Voldemort for the greater good or just for vengeance.

I read the first Harry Potter book when I was 11 years old, so I literally grew up with the series along with most of the people watching the film with me last night. More than anything this film is about every student at Hogwarts going from kids to adults by risking their lives for something they believe in. That’s a legacy I hope all my fellow 20-something Harry Potter loves take with them as we all made our final foray into adulthood when the last remnant our childhood came to a close with this film.

I laughed, I cried (the whole theater was full of sniffling people), I applauded and I when the screen turned black, I said a final good-bye to “The Boy Who Lived.”

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Are We Ready for the End of Harry Potter?

Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) in the first installment of "Harry Potter the Deathly Hallows"

I’m not prone to tears, but I cried when I read the last page of the seventh Harry Potter Book. I’d been reading those books for a decade and now they were over. It wasn’t too sad. There were still films left to be released, so my mind was put at ease.

Tomorrow is the penultimate moment of a huge chapter in millions of lives. We all secretly waited for an owl to bring us a letter of acceptance to Hogwarts (don’t deny it!). Train stations took on a new sense of mystery, as children searched for people walking through walls that lead to platform 9¾. Even bricks became things of intrigue that could lead us to the Wizarding World.

At an age when most of us are starting to lose our imagination in favor of reality, J.K. Rowling let us hold on to a piece of it every time we went to a midnight book release party and curled up with our books, refusing to stop for anything besides food that our mother’s forced us to eat as our nose stayed glued to the action-packed pages. There was magic in those books (and I’m not just talking about the wizardry).

Reading them from ages 10 to 19 was a way to keep the little semblance I had left of my childhood. So many adults lose the ability to believe in magic; to believe in the impossible. I don’t really think, there’s a Wizarding World, but I do think that there are people like Harry, Ron and Hermione who will give up normalcy to follow their destiny; who will put others before themselves. I believe young people can really make a difference if they are willing to do whatever it takes (2008 Election, anyone?) to force change, even if others won’t believe in you. If there weren’t, this world would be an even worse place.

Next summer, when the credits roll on the last film and our childhoods really end, will we be ready to face the possibility of a world where we may no longer be reminded to believe in the impossible?

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