Thursday, July 14, 2011

Farewell, Harry Potter

Tonight I'm taking my oldest and her bff to the midnight showing of the final Harry Potter movie. She's got her costume all ready and even dyed her hair red so she could be a more authentic Ginny Weasley. And while I'm not dressing up for this event, I've got to admit, I'm absolutely looking forward to attending this movie.

There's also a level of sadness at the franchise coming to an end. Well, kind of an end. I mean, it came to an end four years ago when The Deathly Hallows was released. And it will come to an end again when the movie is released on DVD/Blu-Ray. And it will come to an end again-again when they release the super-extended-never-before-seen-packed-full-of-awesome-collector-set-edition in a couple of years. But you know. It's the last time I'll be sitting out in the middle of the night waiting to see a Harry Potter movie.

In preparation for this event, I've been thinking about some of the lessons I have learned from Harry and the gang at Hogwarts.

  • We can't vanquish enemies alone. Harry tries, over and over, to beat Voldemort on his own. He can't. Being "The Chosen One" doesn't mean that he can accomplish his task without the help of his friends.
  • Our little accomplishments can make an amazing story. In The Order of the Phoenix, there's a scene where people are talking about all of the incredible things that Harry has accomplished so far. Harry stops them and says that he just had help and luck and that it just sounds impressive all strung together. 
  • We're better off not knowing the future. The epilogue sucks. We would have been better off not knowing about Albus Severus Potter.
  • Families can heal. This is a major point of contention for me with the films - the total removal of the Percy Weasley story-line. Percy basically disowns his family for several years. You can see in later books that he wants to return, but pride keeps him from doing so until the final battle. And while the Weasley family loses a child in the final scene, another son returns. 
  • Good and evil aren't as clearly delineated as we might think. This is probably my biggest take-away from the books/movies. I love that the heroes and villains almost all have moments of being something else. With very few exceptions (there's not much good I can find in Voldemort and Bellatrix), most characters go beyond simply being all good or all bad. We see Narcissa Malfoy lie to the person she is following to save her child. We see James Potter participate in the bullying of Severus Snape. Harry is quick to assign "good guy" and "bad guy" labels, but over and over, those are shown to be false, even within himself.
I love the story that J.K. Rowling weaved through her books and I love the way the cast of the films brought her story to life. The lessons may not be unique, but she told them in a unique way and there's no doubt that I'll shed a tear as I say farewell.

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Are you going to see the last movie? Are you a fan of the books? What lessons have you gleaned from the series?

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