I cannot do this coherently; I’m honestly still pretty emotional about it. I, like many of my generation, grew up with Harry and his friends. Well, I didn’t start reading the books till I was eleven, but they’re eleven in the first, so it still feels like a lot. I don’t disregard latecomers, better late than never. And it’s possible the deep connection could kick in no matter how long it’s been. But I acknowledge that while the books are not perfect and the movies (especially the earlier ones) are not perfect and there are flaws and things I’d have liked to see and all of that, well. These stories have been a part of me as I grew into myself. I, also like many, have that connection that can never die completely, but knowing it’s really truly over is still a low blow.
So, in true me fashion, bullet points.
- I did attend the midnight premiere, of course. I’ve been to two others, Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince, but I’ve never dressed up before. Thanks to my father’s Potter-themed fantasy football league and my having been a “mascot” for it, I now have the goods. I have a gray pleated skirt (ordered offline from a uniform supplier) and black hose and shoes (like I wear with, oh, y’know, everything) and a white button-down and a blue and yellow (bookstyle) tie (I am in Ravenclaw, I always have been; even before I knew Harry Potter I attended a themed birthday party and was sorted into Ravenclaw then) and I made myself a yellow and blue giant hairbow (I was sort of like Ravenclaw Hello Kitty) and even though the sweatervest I ordered offline didn’t show in time I pulled one of my massive stash of cardigans out, this one gray, and it did the job. My friend I was with went as Luna, with tie matching mine and button-downs and cardigans and hose as appropriate, plus a wacky scarf and giant heart-shaped glasses. The others in our group were Hermione and Ginny, and they had the requisite ties as well. They don’t actually sell Ravenclaw ties in stores, so ours were JC Penney’s finds, really; and because I prefer the bookverseing, yellow and not silver. Though I have the scarf from the theme park and it’s gray. But, it’s not winter, so that wasn’t necessary. And it’s a heavy-duty scarf. I figure this would be my last chance to indulge in the epic of dressing for Harry Potter, I might as well take it. Also, when I see it again (I know I will) I intend to at least wear the hairbow. I made it, I might as well.
- There are many things I understand could not be featured in the movies deeply. They usually weren’t even that prominent in the books, but I’m the kind of person who latches onto not-as-prominent characters and romances and storylines and holds on for dear sweet life. Things like the adorable that is Bill (Domnhall Gleeson) and Fleur (Clemence Poesy). Sure, all we’ve ever really seen of their romance is their wedding and then their being at the cottage. But their love is true and I therefore adore it so much. And it’s said, largely on these interwebs, that Bill really brought out something great in Fleur. I didn’t hate her when we were first introduced to her, but I didn’t like her either. She seemed sort of shallow. But she loves Bill, even scarred, even werewolf-y, and she’s totally turning into an awesome protector-y Order babe in his company. And even the glimpses. I LOVE.
- You know who else I love more than I can really say? Luna (Evanna Lynch). She’s one of the only characters I’ve always felt was cast perfectly, and she has never, ever disappointed me. The fact that she manages to maintain an attitude that’s at least open to positivity or something like it amongst everything, well. I just adore her way of being.
- AND SPEAKING OF LUNA I do not care what J.K. said, Luna and Neville (Matthew Lewis) are made for each other. Besides, as one of my professors pointed out, what the author says about their work after the fact may carry some weight, but it is not necessarily as true or “canon” as what is actually written in the book itself. Once it’s been published, it’s been let go into the world. And in the world, someone had the brilliant idea to make Neville want to finally declare that he’s “mad for [Luna]” and then there’s cute awkward looking that goes on at the end. And cute awkward looking. That look. That look means yeah, we’ll wait a respectable amount of time, then this is going to happen. I know that look. It’s one that makes me wicked happy.
- AND SPEAKING OF NEVILLE I am so proud of that boy. I mean, I was when I read Deathly Hallows, but seeing it just made me giddy. He grew up into such a badass. Also, his speech pre-Harry being ha ha surprise not dead was one of the things that got me teary.
- Yes, I actually cried. Anyone who knows me knows how significant this is. I can have very serious emotional feelings about things, and often I do. I actually get more emotionally attached to a lot of my fictional loves than I do to real life acquaintances at times, for whatever that’s sociopathically (?) worth. But usually, even if my breath gets all choked up and my chest starts to heave like I’m hyperventilating and I’m wibbling, my eyes just… don’t produce tears at fiction. I do cry in real life sometimes. I’m not that deranged. But this… this is the second time since my childhood reading Little Women and Anne of Green Gables and other books where beloved characters died (the first being 2008 during “The Song of Purple Summer” during my fourth time seeing Spring Awakening [they'd just posted the Broadway closing notice that week, a few days ago really]) that I have cried real, legitimate tears. I think I cried for this for the same reasons I cried that once during Spring. It’s a chapter of my life closing. And though I can go back in my heart, it’ll never be quite the same as having it there fresh and new for me. Or something overwrought like that.
- I cried for Fred (James Phelps). I cried for Tonks (Natalia Tena) and Lupin (David Thewlis) like a baby. I cried, as mentioned, at Neville’s speech. But the thing that got me absolutely hardest, which is ridiculous as in any other story I might acknowledge the deus ex machina of a bunch of ghosts giving a very sentimental and touching pep talk as potentially silly, was when Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) was in the forest and Lupin and Sirius (Gary Oldman) and his parents (Adrian Rawlins and Geraldine Somerville) were all there in ghost form to talk to him before he went to Voldemort.
Harry: You’ll stay with me?
Sirius: Until the end.
I think it was really then that it hit me. This was the end. And they (and we) were there with him, out of love, out of devotion, out of tenderness, out of caring, out of — so so much. And it was beautiful. Not at all cheesy.
- Let’s take a moment to talk about Tonks and Lupin, too. I have a strange devotion to their love, both because I think it is wonderful (that Tonks is seriously In Love with him, no matter what) and because back before the sixth had even come out and their love hadn’t even been revealed, my friend and I idly commented out of nowhere that Tonks and Lupin should hook up. AND WE WERE RIGHT. This is one of the many reasons that I have been told I am a teensy bit psychic about things that aren’t really that relevant to the grand scheme of life. But even though we did not see them a lot in the movie, and the only mention of their progeny little Teddy was when ghost!Lupin told Harry that it was all right his and Tonks’ son would grow up knowing that his parents had died for something right, I was indignant when Entertainment Weekly‘s special Potter bullseye was all “We feel like we should care about Tonks and Lupin but we just don’t.” Sure, if you’ve never read the books maybe. But how can you not love their love? You do have a soul, right? The moment of them grabbing for each other’s hands might be one of my favorite images from the film. And yeah, they did make me cry like a baby when they were dead. (I remember when I read the book, turning the page and seeing “Tonks and Lupin’s bodies lay side by side” or whatever the exact quote was did definitely knock the wind out of me. Their death is downright Jossian.)
- Supporting character supporting characters supporting characters. Lavender (Jessie Cave) has grown up some, hasn’t she? Cho (Katie Leung) is less of a whiny bitch, isn’t she? Seamus (Devon Murray) still likes to explode things, doesn’t he? And thank you for mentioning it McGonagall (Maggie Smith) that was a brilliant callback to something that once just seemed like a cute gimmick.
- Ginny (Bonnie Wright) Ginny Ginny. I have such a weird relationship with movie!Ginny, as she is… well, she was better when she was younger, I think. She hasn’t grown enough into that Strong Badass Lady Warrior Ginny I loved from the books. And her chemistry with Harry is weird at times. But, but, but, their Kiss of Desperate I Need To Kiss You Before We Possibly Die love actually… wasn’t strained. Which I was glad of.
- There was no rioting in the streets. This is what I proclaimed would happen did they not include possibly the greatest line in Potter history, Mrs. Weasley’s famed exclamation to Bellatrix. “NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU BITCH!” And when Bellatrix (Helena Bonham Carter) stepped up to try and kill Ginny, Molly (Julie Walters) was there in a heartbeat. And she said it. And they battled like bosses. Molly really is an epic witch. Hers is the kind of devoted yet not self-abandoning parenting I love so dearly, and that line is the greatest, and my friend and I were at least somewhat responsible for starting the round of applause after it, so hurrah.
- Can we just take a minute to appreciate the epic that was Kelly Macdonald as Helena Ravenclaw? I love Kelly Macdonald, I have since No Country for Old Men, and sure we didn’t get all the in-depth backstory, but her Helena was perfection. She went from docile to eloquently pissed (and, the Whedongeek notes, slightly scary veiny) in moments and she was great. And she was beautiful in the costume. I do wish there would have been more time for explanations of the past, here or with Aberforth (Ciaran Hinds OMFG JULIUS CAESAR FROM ROME WAS DUMBLEDORE’S BROTHER HOW MUCH WIN IS THAT) or in plenty of other places, but I understand why there weren’t.
- McGonagall’s activating the stone soldiers made me so happy. She was so happy about getting to finally use that spell, giddy and all, and that was awesome. Giddy McGonagall is made of win.
- The Malfoys were perfect. Absolutely. I still don’t understand Narcissa’s (Helen McCrory) weird skunk ‘do. But their ending was beautiful. That clear sense of “we are just not going to be a part of this anymore kthnxbai” was the exact right ending for them.
- Also, the Room of Requirement. Steampunk much?
- Explosions and cracking magical barricades are… well, bad, violence is bad. But they’re kinda pretty.
- Bellatrix my psycho bitch goddess so much epic and loooove. I hate her, I hate her, I really do, but I love her at the same time. She’s just so evil and so deranged and it’s hard not to like someone who does magic battles in a corset.
- Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) is still a creeper. And that hug to Draco (Tom Felton). SKEEEEEEEETCH.
- Okay, finally to the trio. First off, I just have to very shallowly observe that when in the Bellatrix dress, Hermione (Emma Watson) had epic cleavage. Twisted observation, I know. But it needed to be said.
- You have finally resolved the sexual tension Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione thank youuu~ Their kiss was one of the most perfect kisses I’ve seen in a long time. It was just such a relief and such a welcome moment and really sort of “I’ve always regretted… never being with you” in the best of ways. Harry and Ginny may not have super great chemistry, but these two… man alive. The little look that Hermione gave Harry when she and Ron entered the Great Hall holding hands was pure brilliance. It was like “Don’t you dare tease” and “I know isn’t it great?” and “Took him long enough” and “I am so so happy” all rolled into one.
- Harry was pretty epic too.
- Oh yeah, and epilogue. I was sort of ready to laugh all over the place, which, yeah, I did a little (everyone else laughed at “Albus Severus” too so it was okay) but it was actually really sweet. All the children were cute, but I especially thought little Rosie (Helena Barlow) was adorable. She looked so much like her parents. Harry also seems to be a really, really great dad. And Ron’s dad hair! And Ginny’s mom hair! Definitely not as ridiculous as I expected.
–your fangirl heroine.