Friday, August 12, 2011

Friday Review: The End of Harry Potter


Let me preface this movie review of The Deathly Hallows Part 2 by saying that I'm not a Potterhead (die-hard Harry Potter fan) who cried or felt as if something was now missing in my life at the end of the final movie. I haven’t read all of the books. I can’t tell you the title of many of them, or even recall who starred as the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher in every film. Gasp, shriek! Well, maybe I can on the D.A.D.A. professors, but not in order. Nevertheless, I did go see all of the movies because they were entertaining and well done.

Not only did J.K. Rowling create a fantastic series that captivated children and adults alike, she also knew how to end it.
In the movie, the dark and ominous opening scenes—with a perfect soundtrack—set the tone flawlessly. The audience is quickly reminded that “he who shall not be named” now has the all-powerful Elder wand, then segues to a glimpse of Snape as the headmaster of Hogwarts with Dementors looming over the school.

The magical world is locked in the ever-tightening iron fist of evil, while Harry and his steadfast friends race against time to destroy Voldemort. The Deathly Hallows Part 2 is filled with intense scenes, powerful action, and fantastic special effects packaged in cinematography that is somber yet stunning. The pacing worked so well that the movie never lagged and gave the audience appropriate breathers focused on the characters to balance gripping action sequences. It was also deeply satisfying on multiple levels, especially when I learned all that I had longed to know, and suspected, about Severus Snape.


A few liberties were taken with the film that deviate from the book, as to be expected, but loyal readers won’t be disappointed. My one complaint: how Harry makes it from the white train station (don’t want to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet) to duke it out with Voldemort is too vague for my taste. The timing of how it unfolded still nags me a bit.
Ultimately, the movie was so much more than the final installment of a fantastic franchise. It was an event that delivered.

I think a few key elements made this a successful ending of a series.

1. We were consistently reminded of the big stakes. The pressure for the hero and his companions didn’t let up. It only escalated.

2. I hate films or books where characters are faced with insurmountable odds and the author or director has a fantastic build up that goes nowhere. I read one extremely popular YA series (which shall not be named) where none of the main characters died in the “big face-off” in the last book or even got so much as a scratch during the battle that never quite happened. Oh, it was so disappointing. The movies have added far more action and I hope that the last film adaptation deviates dramatically to give the audience a credible fight scene. But I digress. In The Deathly Hallows Pt2, each life lost on the good side was a sacrifice that validated what was at stake. And each death on the other side was deserved.

3. We were taken on an unforgettable journey. I might not recall the films in between, but I will always remember Harry’s struggle to find the horcruxes, the impressive battle scene at Hogwarts, and the dramatic showdown.

4. Deep, dark secrets are actually revealed. Nothing worse than wondering, what about X, Y, or Z?

5. An epilogue that truly allows fans to say good-bye.


What have you enjoyed or hated about the way a book or film series ended?

32 comments:

  1. Isis - I liked the last movie but I did think they glossed over some of the important deaths. We needed to have that moment as viewers.

    I hate it when an author rushes the last book. You get the feeling that they are bored with the book and want it over with - and so you are bored as well.

    great post!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I've always enjoyed the movies as a separate entity from the books, so the glossing over didn't bother me as much. When I read the books, I don't see those actors at all. Great points about the movie, though!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Ha-ha, Robin! I think that happens when writers stretch out a series, making it into more books than necessary because their publisher wanted them to or the money on a deal looked good. If the author isn't still in love with their characters, the reader feels it.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I haven't seen it but I know it's been an important series, not only for readers but for writers. It gives all writers hope.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Lydia, artistic leeway is definitely taken when it comes to casting a film adaptation. When I can, I prefer to see the movie first, then read the book. That way I'm usually happy with the film and still enjoy the book, as long as the story is told well.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I was told in my last book of my trilogy that I should have developed the relationship between my hero and heroine more before I ended it.

    I'm still learning, but hopefully getting better.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I haven't seen all the Harry Potter films or the last week. I know...double gasp. I can appreciate this post because it tells me that Rowling did a fantastic job of ending a much loved series and movie viewers expected the same amount of unforgettable moments leading to a final battle. I totally agree with #2. I feel very let down when the fantastic, escalating events dribble out to a nothing end.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I think the ending of a series, like the ending of any book, needs to be satisfying according to the story. I hate rushed endings, too.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Isis, I haven't read the HP books but I've seen all the movies except for this last one - I can't wait! I just wrapped up my Brothers in Arms series for Intrigue, and I hope I delivered what my readers wanted. One series ending that disappointed me was Mockingjay, the last book in the The Hunger Games trilogy. I don't want to give anything away, but there was less action in this third book - or at least it was "off stage" and Katniss, the main character wasn't much involved in it. I also felt the ending was a downer; it didn't leave me feeling uplifted and I guess that's my problem, but the whole ending of the series felt flat to me. Loved the first two books though!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I agree 100% on both your evaluation of DH2, as well as the important elements of a series. Of course the series action does depend to a certain extent on the intended audience. With HP, I think Rowling never shied away from the harsh realities of life, and handled it beautifully in every case. Laurell K. Hamilton handles her series beautifully, too, both Merry Gentry as well as Anita Blake. Granted, there are massive battles in which many are wounded but few die, and that might be quibbled over, except that all the characters are supernatural with exceptional abilities and powers that help them recuperate. Nontheless, it might benefit LKH to have a moment of reality sinking in. I have written the first in a series, and I will be taking your advice and theories to heart! Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Clarissa ~ Rowling gives hope to all aspiring authors everywhere!

    Sandy ~ Many of us are learning together. Sometimes it's all about trial and error, but the good thing is we keep growing.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Brinda ~ I don't think you need to see all the films to appreciate and enjoy the last two. Although watching all of them is great way to learn how to weave the numerous pieces together throughout a detailed series.

    Carol ~ A rushed ending is the worst, but a prolonged one can be like watching a wounded animal bleed out slowly. It needs to be thoughtful, tie up loose ends and reward the readers with what they've been waiting for.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Carol E ~ What a pity to hear about the Hunger Games. I just bought the first one. Honestly, now I'm reluctant to even start it. You get so invested in the characters in a series that you yearn for the payoff with a great ending. Many happy sales on the Brothers In Arms series!

    Lise ~ Glad you liked the review. I believe if an author gives us a worthwhile villain that puts the main characters in true peril, where we believe they might lose, there has to be some injuries. Depending on the stakes and the odds sometimes killing a character is necessary, even if they are supernatural. I don't shy away from death in my books. Thanks for stopping by.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I haven't yet seen it but heard some great stuff about it.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Great review -- I agree with you. I do love the way the HP series (both book & movie) wound up.

    ReplyDelete
  16. The final film was a great way to send off the series. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
    Glad you're on board for the blogfest!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Mart ~ If you've seen any of the movies, then you should definitely check out the last two. The time flies by with the final film.

    Linda ~ J.K. Rowling was a visionary with the way she crafted that series.

    Alex ~ Thanks for stopping by! Blogfest looks like it'll be a blast.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I really need to watch these movies. I saw the first one. I think I saw the second one... or maybe it was the third. One of these weekends, when all the films are on DVD, I'll have a marathon. I found your blog from Alex's current Blogfest. You've got a great blog!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I haven't seen or read HP! I know, I know...

    ReplyDelete
  20. Doralynn ~ Definitely check out the last two films. It's hard for me to keep them all straight as well. I just followed you and recommended ROMVETS for you to check out. Great group of military ladies.

    Talli ~ Ha-ha. You're missing out!

    ReplyDelete
  21. I've seen all the Harry Potter movies but this one. I plan on seeing it, just haven't yet.

    I like the idea that secrets hinted at through out the series are answered.

    I really enjoyed your thoughts on this, Isis. btw, I love the header art on your blog!

    Sia McKye's Thoughts...OVER COFFEE

    ReplyDelete
  22. Isis, thanks for telling me about ROMVETS.

    I'll check out those last two films. I just hope I'll be able to keep them straight. I only know a few of the characters.

    Thanks for visiting my blog. It was nice to meet you. Doralynn

    ReplyDelete
  23. I was one of the "movie-goers" for HP, but never read any of the books. I loved the final battle scene of the last movie. It felt more, can I say, realistic with loss of lives on both sides. After all it was a war.

    Personally I hate cliffhangers, but I know that this is an essential way to get readers to anticipate another book. There just better be another book :)

    ReplyDelete
  24. Sia, so happy you love the art on my blog. It's by Rae Monet who did my website. I hopped over to your blog, left a comment and became a follower.

    Doralynn, if you watch the last 3 movies you'll be just fine. I think you'll like ROMVETS.

    L.J., glad you found me. I'm okay with cliffhangers as long as I have the next book. I remember being on a bus for a overnight field trip when I finished The Vampire Lestat and screamed (inside my head). I couldn't wait to get my hands on the next book, but it was worth it once I did.

    ReplyDelete
  25. i read most hp books, and saw a few flicks... not as big a fan as my older daughter, but did enjoy them :)

    ReplyDelete
  26. I think of these movies as a separate part of the HP world. The books are all their own and there is no way a movie could ever capture JK's amazing voice and each little sub-plot. That being said, the movies were awesome. I loved the final installment. This is a insightful review and I enjoyed it. Oh, and I'm following you now. :)

    ReplyDelete
  27. I finally got around to seeing this film and I had a few misgivings, but overall it was a great end to an excellent series. I wouldn't call myself a die hard fan. I Didn't read the first until the fourth was out, but I read them.

    Thanks for the follow. I'm glad to meet another paranormal/fantasy author. I gave you a shout-out on my blog today. :)

    ReplyDelete
  28. Laughingwolf ~ The films definitely appeal to both adults and kids. Thanks for the follow.

    Ciara ~ Glad you liked the review. I appreciate the follow and I'm one of yours as well.

    David ~ How cool, my first shout-out! I'm so grateful. And many thanks for the follow also.

    ReplyDelete
  29. *** Spoiler ***. I'll never forgive JK for killing one of the twins.

    As far as the movie, the point of it all mostly got lost in the wrestling match between Harry and Voldemort. The cleverness of the wand situation and Voldemort's worry that the elder wand wouldn't work properly + finding out that Snape was a double-agent wasn't in the film. While I loved the rest of it, that bothered me. The end with Harry breaking the wand made no sense. As my son pointed out, "That was stupid. Now he has no wand." Where was the moment where he fixes his old wand, thus breaking the elder wand.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I've loved the HP movies, but never read the books. My son loves them.

    Isis, I recommend Hunger Games even if you decided not to read the whole book. It can be read and is VERY satisfying all by itself. I read it in one sitting, cried twice, and finished at 2am when I had to get up for work at 6am. GREAT book!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Theresa ~ I know! When that happened was like DANG. But in a way you have to love it because it validated the stakes.

    Stacey ~ Only four hours of sleep? I will start it this weekend :).

    ReplyDelete