Harry Potter Crosses the Finish Line

July 18, 2011

I decided about halfway through Deathly Hallows 2 that I really wished I hadn’t read the book.  Then maybe I would have felt some suspense.  It’s a well made movie, but I grew frustrated that I wasn’t feeling anything that I was supposed to be feeling.  Our beloved Hogwarts is being destroyed before our eyes, students being torn limb from limb, and the film progressed onward with the mechanical inevitability of a mediocre war movie.  Nothing shocked me.

Harry and Co. became rather unpleasantly amoral (or they’ve been that way for awhile and I just didn’t notice quite as much as I did this time).  They left Gringotts a smoking ruin behind them, hundreds of goblins and guards dead, but it’s all for a good cause, isn’t it?  And we will in fact lock up an entire Hogwarts house in the dungeon based purely on association.  At the end, when Harry’s son worries about the sorting hat putting him in Slytherin and Harry tries to reassure him that it would be okay because Snape was Slytherin, I thought, “No, the kid’s right to worry.”

On the other hand, the Gringotts white dragon was a fantastic proof of concept for a Dragonriders of Pern movie.  Surely someone in Hollywood noticed that.


16 Responses to “Harry Potter Crosses the Finish Line”

  1. sef Says:

    I knew I wasn’t the only person to think “Ah, there’s Ruth!”

    I think the gray morality was deliberate on the producers’ part — Snape’s confrontation of Dumbledore was played just brilliantly, switching the position of the two characters.

    I thought the ending (both the first one, and the epilogue) were flat… the first one just being extremely anticlimactic, the other just being empty of impact.

    I did, however, very much appreciate that the victory was painful and costly. As such victories often are. There was no celebration as they stood about the rubble and corpses.

  2. Jakk Says:

    Omg. I thought *i* was the only one to think of Ruth too. Wow. I liked it,not my favorite of the series, but i thought it was well done.

  3. Diego Bruner Says:

    My mother loved if because she’d never read the books. She was disappointed that she was wrong about Snape being Harry’s actual father. I just had to stare at her when she said this. I had the same bored feeling, but I got a charge from seeing the excitement in my Mom’s reactions.

  4. Amy Sisson Says:

    I disagree on a couple of points. I didn’t feel too sorry for the goblins because I was still agonizing over the treatment of the dragon. I suppose one could argue that the clerks upstairs had no knowledge of the inhumane treatment of dragons going on below. (Speaking of dragons, that reminds me why I always skip the first task in the Triwizard Tournament, which is bear/dragon baiting. Now *there’s* some amoral behavior that really bothers me!)

    As for Slytherin, locking them up without due process isn’t great, but there was an imminent battle looming. And since several Slytherin students had just called for turning Harry over to Voldemort, I don’t think there was time to sort through which were likely to betray Harry in the battle and which weren’t. I viewed it a bit as temporary martial law. The “good guys” of the wizarding world clearly weren’t into inappropriate punishment, as evidenced by Draco’s eventual fate.

    I can understand why nothing shocked you. I don’t suppose I was shocked either, but I still emotionally felt the destruction of Hogwarts and the deaths (I won’t name specific characters in case anyone reading this hasn’t read or seen it).

    On a lighter note, two favorite bits: McGonagall’s line about always wanting to try that spell, and Neville! (James Bond in 20 years? I predict he’ll be the “leading man” to come out of this franchise.)

  5. Amy Sisson Says:

    One more thought…. even if goblins were innocent, I’m not sure what Harry & Co. could have done differently. Can it be argued that they knew the dragon would exit at that exact place? Could or should they have stopped to survey the damage when it could be said that the fate of the world was kind of hanging in the balance? I’m reminded of when Lupin (definitely in the books and possibly in the movies) tells Harry that the time for using stunning and disarmament spells is long over.

  6. Jared Says:

    Your mileage clearly varies from mine. I’d read the book, and I still cried at a few key points in the movie.

    My one complaint about the film was that the scene with Neville and Nagini felt anticlimactic, somehow.

  7. David Bowles Says:

    I’m not a big fan of Potter in general. Reading the books, I feel that the Horcruxes were an “oh crap I need material for two more books” move.

    Voldemort, to me, is not a particularly compelling villain to begin with. I don’t understand why Voldemort keeps trying to kill Harry with the same curse over and over when it clearly is not working. Voldemort is also the massive beneficiary of some epically dumb protagonists. In fact, the first half of the series is rife with the “incompetent adult syndrome” so the kids can do all the heavy lifting.

    Given the circumstances, locking up House Slytherin was quite a realistic play. That’s what people would probably do. Sad, perhaps, but it injected some realism into a fantasy movie.

    On the topic of amorality, I believe that a little more amorality during the first war could have prevented a lot of the misery. The original Death Eaters should have not been locked in Azkaban; they should have been executed. This would have given Voldemort considerably less of a power base than he acquired in the course of the books.

    One other thing about wizardry in the Potter books. Since the defenses seem to “active”, that is, spells must be perceived and actively countered, I’d be willing to bet a Muggle with a sniper rifle could bag him/her self quite a few Death Eaters as they would not see the attack coming.

  8. Brenda Says:

    I was very nervous when I saw that bit in the trailer where Harry pulled Voldemort off the top of the tower. Since I knew it did not happen, I had no idea where it actually fit in the plot. The point of the end of the fight in the book, for me, was that Harry never killed anyone. Voldemort killed himself. I was very uneasy when the I saw the dragon killing goblins . I was just not sure why. Thanks Carrie for putting it into words. Harry always did the Right thing not necessarily the best thing But I admit that most of the plot changes that were made in this movie(and only in this movie) actually made it better especially the part of Snape crying over the dead body of Lily. .

  9. Tee Says:

    I think they gutted a lot of the morals out of the whole series in the movies when they downplayed the importance of Hermione valuing the freedom of the house elves. The house elves were the final piece needed for all the plans to work. This also removed the interactions with the centaurs and their decision to help or not help. The judgments about why the fight should take place were mostly removed.

    They added a lot more graphics of fighting Nagini the snake, as in the book it was just Neville. They wanted it to be about

    Harry/Hermione/Ron doing most of the rescuing, but the book was about all the people coming together and saving the day.

    At the end, the directory also removed the fallacy of Ron – that he wanted to keep the Elder Wand and was misusing magic with his kids. In the book, Harry did not immediately break the elder wand, he kept it undefeated until his death, showing strength of character for the rest of his life.

  10. Miss Bliss Says:

    Well I haven’t seen it yet but I have to say anything that might bring us closer to a Dragon Riders of Pern film would be awesome. At least if they would bother to find and trust a decent writer.

  11. Y’know, there are so many things that bother me about the Potterverse, I don’t know where to begin. I was part of the school-house system for so many years and it was utterly destructive, pitting student against student to the benefit (and control) of the teachers.

    The guilt-by-association thing you mention really grates, as does the obvious favouritism. I’ve been with a publisher where the Exec Editor played favourites. Constantly. It is not a good place to be because everyone else who isn’t a favourite feels like nothing more than chewing gum on a shoe.

    The “end justifies the means” morality is nothing more than a cop-out and something we revile Machiavelli for but let our kids internalise? How vile is that?

    I haven’t stopped my kids from reading Harry Potter but, if Hogwarts actually existed, it would be the LAST school I would send them to.

  12. Rebecca Says:

    Finally someone has the same opinion about the Harry Potter universe!

    Seriously, I never really got the Potter hype (I suffered through the first movie because of Maggie Smith and Alan Rickman and never was motivated to see the rest) – Rowling’s world building isn’t very original when it comes to fantasy and I am strongly against the glorification of school-systems like the one described there.

    That said, I don’t have anything against people having fun with the books and the movies because tastes differ. But I think it’s ridiculous to treat the whole thing as if Rowling had written the books of the century. They’re average at best. But the marketing and advertising was first class. I wonder how much that cost…

  13. Rebecca Says:

    I fogot a ‘as I’ at the end of the first sentence, sorry. ^_^

  14. Val Says:

    I wanted it to feel like the book made me feel and it didn’t. At all, really. So I agree with you completely there.

  15. David Bowles Says:

    I still wanted to see Muggles with sniper rifles.

  16. Kendall Says:

    I totally agree. I felt so bad when we went out of the movie theater, and all of my friends were so sad every one died. I was so emotionless. They’re like, “What’s wrong with you?” Haha

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