The End of an Era – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

I recently wrote a post on the HubSpot blog about marketing lessons from the Harry Potter series.  However, I couldn’t let the opportunity pass to get into what this series REALLY means to me.  You have probably seen a lot of tweets and Facebook posts and heard a lot of people talking about their childhood ending with the ending of the series.  And I think that really captures what this series means to me.

I have always been a bit overly excited when it comes to anything Harry Potter related.  When the 7th book came out, I took off of work, got the book at midnight, read until I fell asleep that night and finished the book by the end of the day.  I always saw the movies as soon as they came out (gotta love the midnight premieres) and was beyond excited when I went to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando.

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I also wrote a blog post after I saw Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.  I think the last paragraph will give you a better idea of my excitement:

I guess all I can say now is 492 days until Part I of the 7th book comes out in theaters, and 730 days until Part II of the 7th book comes out in theaters!  Then we can finally hear Molly Weasley say “Get away from my daughter, bitch!”

So between the trailer and this Hillywood spoof of Harry Potter and “Friday,” I was counting down the days.  Better yet, my birthday is July 14 so right as my birthday ended at midnight, the premiere started.

I was first in line for the premiere (IMAX 3D of course), but I do have to say I’m not the craziest person out there.  I love that everyone dresses up, but our theater was crazy to the point that someone who was dressed in an owl costume (as Hedwig) was flying around the theater for a good amount of time.  Someone else also hushed the theater and then ran in yelling TROLL!  TROLL IN THE DUNGEON!  And the theater started singing Harry Potter Puppet Pals (I may have joined in with this one.)

And a big thank you to Foursquare for creating a Harry Potter badge!

So now for some of my thoughts on the movie.  SPOILER WARNING RIGHT HERE!

I wasn’t sure how they were going to pick off after the previous part, but I think they did a great job of getting right into it (instead of showing flashbacks from previous movies).  The first half had left off with Voldemort getting the Elder Wand, and I think it was right to start there.  At first, there was more talking than action in the movie, but that quickly ended. Harry, Hermione and Ron were quickly escaping death at Gringotts.

I didn’t realize how quickly Harry returns to Hogwarts, but I was excited that the movie got right to it.  I would have liked Harry and Dumbledore’s brother to go into more details about their history, but I understand that needed to be cut from the movie.  Harry confronting Snape soon after that scene definitely made up for that!

But the greatest part of the movie wasn’t the battle between Voldemort and Harry or event their encounter in the forrest. The movie completely overtook me when Snape was killed and Harry went back in his memories to find out the truth about his destiny, Snape’s love for his mother and why Voldemort has been after him.  I could hear everyone around me sniffling (including myself).  It was just such a beautiful portrayal of the Harry Potter story.

There were also many characters who really developed so well in this movie in comparison to previous ones.  Neville Longbottom was the perfect portrayal of a character who went from a scrawny, helpless boy to someone who could look evil straight in the face.  The scene when he stands up to Voldemort is overpowering and inspirational.  Ginny Weasley is also someone else who came into her character very well.  She is now 20 and began filming with the Harry Potter series at age 9 so we really saw her grow up.  But seeing her mourn when everyone thinks Harry Potter is dead was one of her greatest scenes.

Now I know a lot of people did not like the epilogue to the series, but I always loved it.  I loved reading about their lives in the future after the craziness of their years at Hogwarts.  It was AMAZING to see what they would look like in 20 years (and a bit funny for characters like Draco and Ron).  But watching Harry give advice to his son as he embarked on his journey at Hogwarts and seeing him reunite with the now married Ron and Hermione was the perfect way to end the book.

So to J.K. Rowling, thank you for 14 amazing years of Harry Potter.  Like many other people, I feel like I have grown up as Harry has grown up.  And I think I speak for everyone when I say, I cannot wait for Pottermore!

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

For months I have been looking forward to the 6th Harry Potter movie.  I have always considered myself an avid Harry Potter fan, and I was so excited about the prospect of seeing it in theaters at midnight (despite the fact that I would have to wake up the next morning at 5:30 for my internship).  What made it better was that my birthday is July 14th, and the movie was playing on July 15th at 12:00 am.  What could be a better way to end my birthday?

I was not the only person consumed with Harry Potter fever.  Even before the 14th, Harry Potter was a top trend on Twitter.  For weeks, people were counting down saying “2 weeks til HP” or “17 hours til HP.”  They were tweeting about rereading the books to prepare for the book.  Facebook was full of event invitations and status updates leading up to the opening on the 15th.  Theaters were selling out of tickets early on and were full to capacity.  Fans were purchasing Harry Potter paraphernalia to wear on opening night: Gryffindor scarves, Slytherin shirts, and of course, eye liner to draw a scar on their foreheads.

Isn’t it crazy to think that Daniel Radcliffe has become so famous in such a short period of time because he looks like a drawing of Harry Potter that has always been on the covers of the book?  Usually, readers have to imagine what the characters in the stories look like, and if the book is made into a movie, the person may not necessarily look as the reader had imagined.  But in this case, Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley look exactly like their caricatures!  Granted, they are talented actors, but they may not have been given this opportunity without their looks.

I have to admit, I am always disappointed when movies are created out of books because some of my favorite scenes are cut out.  I was expecting a bigger fight scene, less of the romantic love triangle with Ron, Hermione, and Lavender, more scenes about the effects on the Muggle world and the Prime Minister of London’s involvement, and the emotion and awe of Dumbledore’s funeral.  I understand that if those had been added the movie would have been more than 153 minutes, but I felt that those scenes were crucial to the plot of the movie.  I’m glad I read the books so that I can understand it better, but what about the people that didn’t?  I know this is a constant problem for directors, but it was still a disappointment to see a focus on romantic comedy instead of the plot of Harry versus Voldemort.

However, there were some very fulfilling parts.  The special effects of the scene when Dumbledore and Harry are finding the Horcrux is especially thrilling.  The flashbacks to the past with the Pensieve show incredible, in-depth footage of possibly the most important scenes of the film.  Hearing Slughorn explain the concept of Horcruxes to a young Tom Riddle was fascinating.  I thought Draco’s role was very well developed and truly showed the most important parts of his purpose in the scheme.  His anger and hatred toward himself, Voldemort, and Harry clearly defined his nature.  And, of course, Professor Snape’s inner conflict (which we will see develop more in the final movies) and ties to both good and evil rendered great excitement for his future endeavors.  From making the Unbreakable Vow and Dumbledore requesting his presence before his battle to speaking the Killing Curse and revealing his title of the “Half-Blood Price,” Snape’s role in this battle is truly captivating.

The amazing thing is the Harry Potter talk is going to continue for a long time.  Whilst before the movie people were discussing their excitement for the movie, they are now discussing whether or not they liked the movie, specific scenes, and the fact that they are going on no sleep at work because they went to see the midnight showing (I, for example, have gotten 2 hours of sleep, but I had to make the sacrifice to see HP as soon as I could!).  The funnier part of this: people are tweeting in different languages about these topics.  It is truly amazing the effect Harry Potter has had on everyone all around the world.

I guess all I can say now is 492 days until Part I of the 7th book comes out in theaters, and 730 days until Part II of the 7th book comes out in theaters!  Then we can finally hear Molly Weasley say “Get away from my daughter, bitch!”