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>> Friday, July 15, 2011

Last year a significant part of my early twenties left me for good - I was watching the series finale for Lost, wondering how I could possibly enjoy the summer knowing the fall wouldn't bring the return of my favorite characters. In 2002 when I graduated high school, one of the first DVDs I bought that summer was Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. I've seen every movie in theatres since and despite the initial childlike nature of the films, I was always able to find the magic in them - at first in November, then increasingly as a summer blockbuster. As I matured, so did the films and their themes. Like most, I flip-flopped between deciding if Hermione (Emma Watson) would grow up to be hot (or not). Tonight, a significant piece of my last decade also left me for good as I bid farewell with Harry Potter and the Deahtly Hallows, Part 2.

Oddly enough, while I've certainly enjoyed the last seven Potter flicks (including the most recent one), I wasn't aware just how much I'd miss the series until I walked out of the theatre this evening. Say what you will about certain films, but the Potter series has been a world event almost every year for the last decade. Not only for myself (I've seen them with numerous friends), but for pop culture, literature fans, fantasy fans and of course the people involved. It's when you least realize it sometimes, that you find yourself saying goodbye to the ones that have been a small part of your life. As an extremely nostalgic person - this never comes easy.

If you've read the books you'll more or less know what to expect with this last hoorah. If you haven't read the books but have seen the movies - you, as well, will know what to expect. If you haven't seen the movies nor read the books, what the hell are you doing seeing the last film first? The trailers for Deathly Hallows: P2 state it all - "Only one can live". This is the final battle between Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) and it - is - epic. While I've steadily labeled every Potter film's successor as the best one to date, I'm pleased to say it ends in the same fashion - and it ends with a helluva bang (and a sort of bonus scene that was oddly disturbing and unexpected).

If you're like me and have grown to love and cherish the Potter series over time, you'll know the oddly emotional feeling of saying goodbye to Ron (Rupert Grint), Harry and Hermione. Each film has allowed us more and more of a glimpse into their lives and that of their families. There have been memorable moments and horrible losses. They've grown up to expect adventure and realize death and everything in between. And while they've shown us glimpses of the classes these three have had at Hogwarts, I started to wonder about three or four movies ago if they've ever actually made it to class. Sort of like when you watch The Simpsons and wonder if and when and how Homer actually goes to work. Not that one would watch the Potter films and expect realism, but it's just a thought anyways. What is real, however, is the sincerity that's present with final film like this one - from both the viewer and the characters. There are tough moments in Deathly Hallows: P2, moments that rival some of the better dramatic moments I've seen in Oscar films. If Lord of the Rings can walk away with an Oscar, maybe it's time Harry Potter does too.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 gets a wide open door - as does the whole series. I'll be going back to have a Harry-thon one of these weekends to revisit some of the older films. I guarantee you watching this final installment will make you want to do the same thing, mostly for sentimental reasons. In an age where sequels and reboots are the big thing, I can only say it'd be nice if this was the end. But, in twenty years I may change my mind as I'm sure writer and creator J.K. Rowling is already thinking of ways to bring it back in some fashion (which may explain the ending in DH: P2). But for now, it's been a pleasure getting to know you, Mr. Potter. I bid you adeau.

*Stills courtesy of Warner Bros. Studios


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