It was one of those days of despair. The cancer was raging uncontrolled in the stomach of my 56 year old father and I can only imagine the agony he felt as he approached death, even though he never showed much of it. It was unspeakable, unmentionable, like Voldemort.
It was one of those days when another part in the Harry Potter book series arrived, unexpectedly. A muggler probably would claim it was the mailman who brought it, even if it was odd, since he already had delivered the post earlier in the morning, and this was in the afternoon. But as my mother told me about it on the phone, I could hear it in her voice. That book was an owl delivery, and it saved that day.
Ten years have passed since my father died. The potions offered by Madam Pomfrey’s colleagues in the muggler world weren’t potent enough to defeat the enemy.
My father was the one who got me started on the Harry Potter series, the one who pointed me to it before it become The Phenomenon. I was in my 30s, and strictly not a child anymore, but he continued a tradition of introducing me to imaginative and capturing books. Just like he convinced me of the magic of Asimov, Tolkien and Carl Barks so many years ago.
He never came to see how the series ended. And somehow this makes it as if he’s still inside it. Still there in a world of magic of wonders, a world that will never cease to exist.
Stirring up memories
The latest Harry Potter movie (or rather the two latest, since I saw both in one night, which is highly recommended; it’s basically one movie cut in half), stirred up the surface of my own pensieve, the basin of memories. I hadn’t quite expected it to be such an emotional experience.
I was prepared for some eye-candy, astonishing battle sequences, a final, grandiose fight between Harry and you-know-who. And I thought I would feel a little bit sentimental as I was going to take farewell of those characters and actors I’ve been following for so many years.
But I didn’t expect those movies to reach out the way they did, to hit me emotionally, touching on issues about love and hate, life and death. I had never thought that Snape would bring me into tears, but he did. And the dancing scene with Harry and Hermione, an invention by the film maker, was mesmerizing.
It was a wonderful ending of a wonderful series. Sure, there are flaws in the books as well as in the movies, parts and characters that aren’t quite as enchanting as the rest. But as a whole it’s a wonderful work, both of Rowling and of all those who had the quite challenging task to try to transfer the magic to the screen.
Film geeks tend to nitpick a lot, with the result that it sometimes sounds as if they more or less hate a movie they actually love. So I’ll do that a little, just for the sake of it.
One thing that wasn’t convincing to me was the relationship between Harry and Ginny. There’s absolutely no chemistry going on between them as far as I can tell. But it might not be the fault of the actors; it probably originates from the movies. I never thought they were that much of a romantic couple. It was more something that was there, just because it “had to”, in order to make us understand that they actually were getting older.
And I didn’t like the epilogue particularly much. Actually there were quite a few people in the audience (consisting mostly of people who were at least 25 years old as far as I could see, those who grew up with Harry Potter) who started to laugh out loud and I couldn’t really blame them. The actors weren’t entirely believable in their new appearances and it felt just wrong. Until that moment I hadn’t reflected on that HP probably has a target audience that is far younger than me. That felt as a reminder.
At the same time I must admit that there is a certain beauty in the image of the closing circle, finishing at the same point as it all began.
Kings Cross Station, platform 9 3/4. I picture my father standing there, ready to take off to a journey to a far distant place I can’t reach. He was a sworn atheist, but I’m sure he doesn’t mind me thinking it. And if he does – well, he could always send me a howler.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 & 2 (Yates, UK, 2010/2011) My rating: 4,5/5