My name is Sara Dobie … and I’m a Harry Potter addict. It started sophomore year in college, when I first discovered the books. For years, I would be one of the only college kids in line at midnight outside Barnes and Noble, waiting for the newest release. Kudos to JK Rowling—a modern day rags-to-riches story; the kind of story that keeps writers like me writing—who created a world so easy to sink into and long to be a part of.
My literary addiction transferred to the movies, which is why I’m writing this blog entry: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1, comes out Friday. I’ll get into all the hype about the newest flick later. For now, I’d like to take a look back at Harry Potters past. It’s jarring to watch all the movies in one week (which is exactly what I’m doing). It’s easy to forget certain details of each film, which dwindles the Harry Potter 7 experience. And I would hate to do that. So here we go …
2001. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
This film introduces the world of Hogwarts to an unlikely, lonely kid named Harry Potter. Everything is new and shiny—for Harry and for the viewer. Voldemort is trying to come back from “the dead,” after an infant Harry seemingly sent him there. Hidden deep within Hogwarts castle is the sorcerer’s stone—exactly what Voldemort needs to come back. Harry and his new friends, Ron and Hermione, have to stop this from happening. The special effects were mind-blowing. Everything looked just as I’d pictured in the books, including the Hogwarts sport, Quidditch. (Damn, that was thrilling.) The kids couldn’t really act in this one. Yet, they each looked the part, and so my fondness for Daniel Radcliffe began …
2002. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
Holy crap, the boys hit puberty. All of a sudden, they had deep voices. Weird. Anyway, in this one, Dobby (not to be confused with “Dobie”), a house elf, appears to Harry and tells him not to go back to school. Harry doesn’t listen, of course, and soon, students at Hogwarts end up petrified by some monster from the so-called “Chamber of Secrets.” Harry realizes he can speak parseltongue—or speak to snakes, just like Voldemort. AND Kenneth Branagh makes an excellent cameo as Gilderoy Lockhart. At this point, the Harry Potter movies still have happy endings. Not so for much longer.
2004. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
I love Gary Oldman! I love Sirius Black!! (I get really excited about these movies.) So Sirius Black (Oldman) has escaped from Azkaban prison, and everyone thinks he’s coming after Harry. Dementors are looking for Sirius, protecting the boundaries of Hogwarts. Harry can’t handle the Dementors. The character of Lupin (a werewolf) is introduced as Harry’s mentor, who helps him form a “Patronus” to protect himself from them. Harry learns Sirius Black isn’t quite what he seems. Note: They start switching directors from this one, forward, and the change is pleasant in each. For instance, this film is darker than the first two, and rightly so.
2005. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
My favorite book. Yessir. Darn good movie, too. Harry is inexplicably entered into the Tri-Wizard Tournament, intended only for upper-classmen, and he has to fight for his life. Voldemort is gaining strength, collecting his Death Eaters, ready for revolt. Notably, one of the other wizards taking part in the Tri-Wizard Tournament is Cedric Diggory—played by Robert Pattison, now famous for Twilight. The kids are becoming adults. They’re noticing members of the opposite sex (i.e. Harry and Cho, Hermione and Ron). There’s even a school dance, which exacerbates the situation. This is also the first appearance of Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort. I couldn’t have cast that role better myself. It’s also the first time a tragic death ends a Harry Potter film, and well, the movies are pretty heavy from here on out …
2007. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
You can tell me I’m a gross old woman, but by this movie, I had a terrible crush on Daniel Radcliffe. I’m a dork. AND I DON’T EVEN CARE. The kid is freakin’ Harry Potter, okay? Anyway, Harry tries to tell the world Voldemort has returned, but no one believes. To keep an eye on Hogwarts, the Ministry of Magic has hired a new teacher—the evil Dolores Umbridge. Seriously, I hated her guts. Also, we get to meet Bellatrix Lestrange, played by Helena Bonham Carter. I love her—not the character; the actress. She’s real good at being wicked. I can’t get into the plotline of this one in less than 600 words. Let’s just say Voldemort is looking for something. Harry is trying to stop him. And the WORST CHARACTER DEATH EVER happens at the end of this one. Ask Jake; I turn off the movie before the end, every time.
2009. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
Another one I turn off before the end. Horcruxes are introduced—magical items, within which Voldemort has hidden parts of his soul, in order to be immortal. Harry has to find these and destroy them … but I guess we’ll talk about that in Harry Potter 7. Severus Snape, played by Alan Rickman, is a HUGE part of this one, as is Draco Malfoy, played to perfection by Tom Felton. Young Voldemort is played by the unknown—and disturbing—Frank Dillane. He nailed it.
This is just a really heavy movie, especially for kids. I do like the whole Harry/Ginny Weasley romance. There are some nice comic moments, but generally, this one leaves you feeling down. Which is unavoidable, if you know how it ends. In contrast to Harry Potter 1, though, the kids are all grown up. They’ve learned how to act. They’ve gone through puberty. Daniel Radcliffe can now legally DRINK! Weeeeird.
So now, we wait. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1, opens Friday. I’m warning you: I don’t think Part 1 will end well. I don’t know where they’re making the cut-off between Parts 1 and 2, but I know that halfway through book 7, things weren’t comin’ up roses. We shall see. I’ve already warned Jake I’m going to cry. I already cry, just watching the trailer (check it out on the HP website). I’m gonna sob in the theater, and when Part II comes out in July, I’m really going to lose my s@#$. But it’s all in love—love for characters, love for story, and love for the world of JK Rowling.