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Graduation Weekend

July 17th, 2011

I wish to doff my Sorting Hat on the occasion of the opening weekend of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, the purportedly final* installment of the film series. It’s a remarkable achievement: eight big-budget fantasy flicks released over a ten-year period. Despite this rapid-fire production schedule, the movies improved in quality over time as both the storylines and the young stars grew up.

As I hoped, splitting J.K. Rowling’s seventh book into two installments makes for a tense, exciting second half. With all of the tent-sitting out of the way, there is plenty of time for a spectacular Battle of Hogwarts featuring hordes of dark wizards, giants, spiders, mugwumps, gorbats, smumpsmumps and ¬†kitchensinkasauruses.

Ralph Fiennes’ Lord Voldemort is in full-on “kneel before Zod” mode, which makes his ultimate comeuppance even more satisfying. There are several “fuck yeah” moments, with our audience reserving its applause for the star turns by supporting players Neville Longbottom and Molly “not my daughter, you bitch” Weasley.

The trouble started when Voldemort was a child. Someone said, "Got your nose!" and never gave it back.

The movie improves on the book in a couple of ways. The business over the Elder Wand’s true ownership left me puzzled at a crucial point in the original narrative; here, the explanation is saved until the dust settles. Co-conspirators Neville Longbottom and Luna Lovegood, who were married off to random tertiary characters in J.K. Rowling’s post-novel interviews, instead make a more satisfying love connection with each other. (Though I still think Luna and Harry would’ve been a better pairing; one of the major disappointments of the books was that Rowling went with the entirely predictable choice of Ginny “hi, I’ll be your love interest” Weasley.)

I’ll be honest with you, I teared up during the “19 years later” epilogue. I’m going to miss these kids and their world. They’ve been among the few bright spots of the last decade.

*At least, until they make Luna Lovegood: A Spell of Murder. Luna is a tabloid reporter turned private investigator who, with her Crumple-Horned Snorkack named Erasmus, specializes in Muggle mysteries. Call me, J.K.

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