- At a cinema here they decided to run a marathon of all the HP movies, culminating with the eight movie on the morning of the 14th, and imprinted_soul and I went for it. It was fucking excellent. Any tears I shed during the last movie will be blamed on having slept very little in almost 30 hours, and having since these kids grow up and get ready to move on, and uh. I wasn't emotionally prepared any of that.
(I watched the movie again with my family two days later, because we always watch the movies together, and the crowd with us there was really bad, but it made me realise how many little beats they left between all the things that fans would cheer for, e.g. Molly Weasley killing Bellatrix, bwaha. I cheered when Daniel Radcliffe's name came up at the end. No one else cheered for anyone. No shame! Damn this country and how timid its people are!)
- Up till around Book 3, I think Ron was my favourite. In between books I lingered around Gred and Forge, as everyone does, for no reason at all, but then it was Hermione, because she's a girl and she's cool and intelligent and kind of a badass. It was probably only around Book 7 that I realised how much I adore Harry James Potter. (Or maybe it was when I started defending him against people who got annoyed with his anger in Order of the Phoenix? because there's really nothing you can do to make me like someone more than to talk about all the stupid reasons you dislike him or her.)
I can't actually articulate my feelings about this boy - goodness knows I've tried - and I haven't reread the books in a long time, so I don't even have a coherent way to support any of this, but watching all the movies at once reminded me of the strength of these feelings. He's only a boy, but he's never had the change to function as one: because he was forced to grow up in a cupboard, and in his first year in school he finds out everything about what he is and what he's supposed to be, and he runs headfirst into fighting it.
Daniel Radcliffe mentioned once that Harry has a bit of a smell of burning martyr around him, and I think that's ridiculously appropriate, because from what I remember of the series, Harry has never been about running away from what he's been told to do (of course, he's never been told he has the choice of running away, because he's young and Dumbledore brings him into his school and tells him what a true Gryffindor he is and the first friend he ever makes has a family full of wizards also on Dumbledore's side and Voldemort killed his parents - so what choice does he have, who else would he choose?) - any time he gets angry it's about the things he gets wrong or the things he's never told, but he never stops. This boy is a hero, and he doesn't know how not to be.
And I like heroes. I love heroes. I find heroes fascinating; I like the idea of people knowing they must be good and must be brave and not knowing if they're doing it the right way. I like the choices they make and I like the thought processes that fuel them. I like trying to identify heroes that are told they must be heroes and heroes who choose to be heroes, and when that shifts. They will do things they'll probably regret, but they'll stick by them, because they want to be confident, and because they want others to be able to believe in them. Harry operates a little differently in this sense because even when he's told that he needs to do things - e.g. that he needs to die for Voldemort to be killed - he is told these things as a last resort, because everyone around him doesn't really want him to be involved. He's only a child, you know. except everyone forgets he never really has been.
Oh, and then we have the fact that Hogwarts brings to him things that he's good at, and people who adore him - which is why as much as I'm annoyed with the idea of OBHWF, I can't take that away from him - the Weasleys taught him how to get on the train, and he got presents for Christmas, including a handmade sweater (handmade), and Ron and Fred and George came to break him out of the house he was being imprisoned in after knowing him personally for only a year. He gets people who will fight for him. He gets a best friend who will never leave him, because she's never left. And he's a little annoyed by that, sure, because he doesn't want anyone to die for him, and he wants to be involved - and yes, these people are fighting for more than just him - but - he finds people who do care for him? Ugh, his story makes me emotional. He is my favourite.
- I only spent that much time on that because I really loved this movie, and I think the biggest reason for it may be how Harry-centric it was? He's just getting ready to fight a war. I like how calm he was when talking to Griphook. I like that he was allowed to take charge, for once; he's heroic and captain-like in a way that puts himself at risk, because heroes and captains are idiots like that. After Harry and Ron and Hermione apparate into Hogsmeade and hide behind crates, there's a moment when Ron looks next to him at Hermione, like he's waiting for her to come up with something, and there's a beat when it looks like Harry will do the same, but he looks straight ahead like he's thinking, and Hermione looks at him instead, and I thought, "yes".
And there was him walking through the castle and seeing everyone who's died for him, and him sitting alone in Dumbledore's office and letting the weight of Snape's memories sink in, and the Resurrection Stone (which was the only thing that made me cry reading the book, because that was back when I never really cried at anything), and - my boy! You brave, brave man. I am ready to die. I can't deal, you understand. Harry Potter the Person makes me cry.
- There are other trio-related things I really loved: the boys changing their t-shirts after Gringotts and all three of them being completely unbothered by it, because of course they are. And the three of them destroying the diadem together - Hermione throwing Harry the basilisk fang, him stabbing the diadem with it, and Ron kicking it into the flames of the Room of Requirement.
And the three of them at the end of the movie, holding hands. You know, I feel sorry for Ginny, as I'd feel sorry for whoever it was that married Harry, because she's never going to understand what he went through fully, and he will probably never tell her, because he's an idiot, and he'll just go away and maybe hang out with Ron and Hermione for a while instead, and then come back and go "Albus Severus is a nice name!"
- I think the movies made me like Ron/Hermione as a 'ship more than the books ever did, so I thought they were sweet here. I liked the kiss itself more in the book, because it had to do with him getting it, getting her, and in the movie we got "oh he does listen to me!" and then her going "I can't" when he tells her to destroy the horcrux, even though - fucking please, why would she say that? She doesn't need the encouragement. The one Hermione-related thing that Kloves failed a little bit with. that I can think of, anyway.
- Hermione/Harry and I'll go with you, ugh, fuck, 'shippy feelings. I'll go with you. This woman. Not only was the line perfect for her and for this relationship, the way Emma delivered it was magnificent - her voice and her face and her arms. I think she's quite brilliant. I think all three leads are just wonderful, though; they grew up wonderful.
- I don't think Ron was given a lot to do, other than pretty thin "brilliant!" moments from Hermione, which is a shame. The worst of it, though, is that I think the movies as a whole have been pretty lousy about giving the friendship between Harry and Ron the importance it deserves, because I do think they mean so much to each other, and Ron has failed Harry quite terribly more than once, but he's always come back, he's always chosen that. but seeing people in relation to what they mean to Harry has always been my thing, which is probably why the lack of time spent on this annoys me a bit.
- Neville, you magnificent man! Tracking his progress throughout the series is kind of spectacular, especially as you find out more about him. snoorella, darling sister, said her favourite thing about him is the fact that he could've been in Harry's place; I like that he became this person despite the fact that he wasn't. I love the idea of him taking things into his own hands and leading the school against the new regime; there's a story there I find fascinating, not least because he's captain here, now, and I love my captains (captain stories are my favourite stories). This man finds a route to and from Hogwarts (and earns Aberforth Dumbledore's trust while he's at it, which is no small feat, clearly), and walks closer to the Death Eaters than anyone else did, and killed Nagini with Gryffindor's sword. I love you, sir.
- Maggie Smith was fucking glorious. The music that comes on when she reanimates the statues at the front of the castle kind of shatters me when I listen to the soundtrack on its own, because I keep thinking of her face. and her magic. And her encouraging the boom!, and her fighting Snape, and her telling Harry that she's glad he's back.
- Helena Bonham Carter as Hermione as Bellatrix was wonderfully spot-on and kind of adorable. That thing Emma Watson does where she breathes in and lifts her head up a little? perfect.
- I'm glad what we saw of Fred and George together was the last we saw of them, because actually seeing him die would be like being stabbed. or something.
- My favourite scene was Harry, Ron and Hermione racing down the stairs from the Room of Requirement and running through people fighting and everything burning - and them suddenly pausing when they see Lavender Brown on the floor, bitten by Greyback, and her throwing a curse - and then running into the courtyard and stumbling over rock, piles of rock, into the giant and then away from the giant and into the massive spiders and back through the giant's legs and out of the castle - as Aberforth Dumbledore joins the front and throws a good solid curse at someone who tries to get them. The choreography of that was perfect, and how it was in slow-motion but managed to retain its urgency was gorgeous, and I just adored it.
Not a fan of:
- Uh, not a big fan of Alan Rickman in this movie. When the first words he said were basically him taking three minutes to say two sentences (which is bordering on self-parody, let's be real), it drew me out of the movie, and it was the first time that something had drawn me out of the movie. I don't like things sticking out like that. And I'm not a huge fan of The Prince's Tale in general (I liked it fine at first, but people began to use it to excuse all of his behaviour in the series, which is the wrong way to use that), so I thought the way the movie dealt with it was just fine and appropriately sad, but Snape himself felt a little overwrought. Cinematically, dramatically, I can see it making sense, and I understand people needing that emotion to latch onto, especially from a character they'd been told was heartless, but it didn't work for me. I do understand I am completely alone on this. I can deal.
- Why do the movies care as little about making Harry/Ginny work as JKR does? I'd like to be able to 'ship it, I just want Harry to be happy, but I don't like it. I don't get it at all.
- Not enough Luna.
- Did McGonnagall tell Filch to escort all Slytherins to the dungeons? I'm annoyed with that. Actually, no, not just annoyed. Fuck that. Was there anything like that in the books?
- And there were way too many Death Eaters - I didn't believe the number of that at all - but cinematic license, okay, okay.
- I'm very nice about the movies in general, you've all probably realised, and part of that may be that I gave up on going to the movies just to see my favourite parts of every book on-screen after the fourth movie because I knew I'd be disappointed. And really, generally, I look at the movies and books as separate entities, so the only thing the last two movies had to do was tie all the loose ends to storylines the movies had introduced. I'm glad they didn't force more into them to make them more canon-compliant. I'm relieved they didn't feel obligated to cram things in to appease the fans (which is why - as much as I like the idea of Neville/Luna in a world where H/G and R/Hr was forced to happen - I'd rather they didn't feel the need to give fans that 'ship a shout-out).
And watching all eight movies at once after not having touched any of them or any of the books for well over two years made me realise how well-made these movies are. The adults in the cast are fabulous, the kids grew up wonderful, the acting as a whole has been top-notch, etc. - and there's gorgeous production here, not "we have the money we might as well use it" nor "we'll get the money so we don't need to use it", but "we have the money, we have fans who will give us more money, we have fans who care, let's make this look good". The effects are kind of fantastic, the editing is kind of brilliant, the directing is great, the scores are gorgeous. There's a lot here that the movies did wonderfully, and I'm really glad for that - they're far from flawless and there will always be things that people will be sore about, but I love what they did and I love what we got out of it, including a cast I genuinely adore, and whose parting makes my heart hurt.
And I am a sap, because I think of me in 1998, having loved lots of things, but never having loved things, never wanting to be somewhere else, and finding this and this world and these people, and growing up with them, and the experience of that was wonderful. This fandom was gross but some of these people are so much my people, because this 'verse was my 'verse, and I'm glad to have known it.
That is my excuse for how much of my heart felt like it'd been chipped away every time I watched a brick fall off the castle.