Guest Movie Review: Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, Part II—The End of an Era*.

*It has come to my attention that I give away too much in my movie reviews, so the asterisk will now serve as a blanket *spoiler alert* from now on.

Ten years, eight movies, three mega-stars plucked from obscurity,not to mention the legion of fans that grew up reading an overnight literary success.

You have to be as dense as Stan Shunpike or living under a rock if you have no idea what I am talking about. (Shame on you!)

Beginning on Wednesday morning at 12:01, the final chapter of the Harry Potter saga opened to rapturous applause and tears all over the world, and I am glad to say that I was a part of it. Having grown up reading the books, lining up at 9am at the local Borders (back when they actually sold books rather than gave them away) and feeling a huge emotional connection to Harry, Ron and Hermione, it was only fitting to venture out on a frozen Tuesday evening to watch the end of an era and the end of my childhood.

An audible “eep” came from my fellow muggles (non-wizarding folk) and I as the Warner Brothers emblem appeared on the screen. It was met with applause and cheers as the cinema filled to the brim, like a steaming hot cup of butterbeer, and we settled in to watch Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Part II.

The final two installments see the “boy that lived”, our hero Harry, stepping up as “the chosen one” and accepting his destiny. Before he was born a prophecy was placed in his name stating “neither shall live while the other survives” which pretty much means: he and the evil Lord Voldermort have to fight til the death of one of them and the battle of good and evil will be settled once and for all.

After Professor Dumbledore’s death in the sixth book/movie, Harry and his loyal best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger (who are in love with each other but too shy to say anything until a climactic moment in this movie) are hunting the country side searching for horcruxes. These are objects of great meaning to Voldermort in which he placed a part of his soul to guarantee immortality. Destroying all horcruxes will ensure good will triumph and Harry victorious!

Part one saw the destruction of the third horcrux in the line of six (we soon learn its actually seven) with the last part of the soul to be destroyed lying in Voldermort’s body.

The eighth movie picks up where part one left off: Harry mourning the death of the loyal house elf Dobby, yet feeling more determined than ever to seek revenge for the numerous deaths Voldermort and his loyal Death Eaters are responsible for.

Harry and the gang break into Gringotts (the wizarding bank run by goblins) to find and destroy the Hufflepuff cup.

Why, you ask? Well if you haven’t read the books you have every right to be confused! Not once do the characters mention the cup, a chalice that once belonged to a founder of Hogwarts School of witchcraft and wizardry, let alone its importance to the story line. We soon find out that it’s a horcrux and evidently needs to be destroyed, but its significance, which is explained in book six, is clumsily stepped over by filmmakers. However Harry is able to hear the horcruxes whispering, which was not the case in the books, but is an innovative way of covering their mistakes. Rather than back-tracking and creating flashbacks to moments that previously didn’t exist, the filmmakers are able to quickly highlight the link between Harry and the objects and get on with the story line.

Discovering that old Voldy is aware of their plan to capture all the horcruxes, the gang realise that Hogwarts is their next (and perhaps final) destination. Arriving in secret, they are welcomed with cheers, applause and the unmistakable Harry Potter melody pulling at heartstrings in the background; and with it come the tears.

Soon the battle begins at Hogwarts, as the Death Eaters appear set to wreak havoc. McGonnagall, enchanting the stone soldiers to “do your duty to our school,” mutters one of the best lines of the movie, while the teachers are casting protection spells and members of the order arrive to join the ranks and lead the battle.

The children of Hogwarts who have always believed in Harry and trained under him when he established the secret “Dumbledore’s Army” defence against the Dark Arts classes back in year five, are also preparing to fight; the only problem is Harry is short a few horcruxes.

He seeks advice from the Ghost of Ravenclaw Tower and soon discovers the next horcrux in the Diadem of Ravenclaw (another object never mentioned until this point), and soon apprehends the object and destroys it. At this point, Ron and Hermione destroy the intact chalice. After feeling the power of Voldermort’s soul dying, Hermione and Ron throw themselves into each other’s arms and share one of the most romantic and anticipated kisses of all time! The audience cheered and clapped, reminding me that we are all so emotionally involved in the lives of these characters.

Harry momentarily stops to share a tear jerking, heart-rending moment with the ghosts of his parents and two “uncles”, all of whom he has lost. We the characters have lost so many friends and enough tears have been shed to fill the black lake that I wonder if my heart can break anymore. It does, as Harry realises he needs to make a sacrifice and without giving away the ending (okay, maybe a little) he walks to his death.

A battle to end all battles ensues between Harry and Lord Voldermort. The loveable yet unlikely hero Neville Longbottom defeats the sixth horcrux, Voldy’s snake, while Mrs. Weasley battles Bellatrix Lestrange (Voldy’s sidekick) and uses a few choice words that would see her send herself a howler!

Good conquers evil (Warner Brothers movie made from a kids book? Come on!), and we see a glimpse into the future with the nineteen-years-later epilogue giving fans a nice happy ending tied up in a bright shiny bow!

After the epilogue the credits roll and it is done. The lights come on and other fans are hugging and crying but all I feel in an overwhelming sense of finality. It‘s over; no more books, no more movies. Nothing.

I will miss the anticipation for a new movie, the excitement building as the date draws closer.

I will miss the midnight sessions and my subsequent debriefs until the wee hours of the morning with family and friends.

The Harry Potter saga will never end, though; it lives on in the well-turned pages of the books, the images of the actors growing before our very eyes and in the hearts of those who journeyed along, fighting dragons, learning spells and defeating darkness alongside the gang.

If you have read the books there is no question of whether you will see the movie and I am telling you: you will cry from half way in. You will laugh through the tears but ultimately bawl like a mandrake root. If you have only seen the movies, you may as well watch the last one to say you have completed the series, but I implore you to pick up the books and gain a well-rounded understanding of the Harry Potter universe. Like most, I will introduce my children to the wonder and literary genius of Harry Potter (the books AND movies) as it enriched my childhood and charmed my heart.

“Mischief managed.”

 

 

 

—Katie Blush.

Related: [The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Guest Post: Rihanna’s “Man Down”—Revenge is a Dish Best Served in Cold Blood.

Image via IMDb.

New Weekly Post: My Week in Pictures.

So last week’s debut of “My Week in Pictures” didn’t go so well, as I lost half the images on my BlackBerry! I’m hoping this week goes more smoothly. Let me know in the comment if you think “My Week in Pictures” is a cool new post, or if you just don’t care about my life that much!

 

Shaking what our mamma gave us!

 

 

 

Pissing ourselves laughing at Flo Rida’s latest film clip, for “Turn Around (5, 4, 3, 2, 1)”, and flashing our my control undies!

The girls night.

Beyonce-themed night at gay bar A Bar Called Barry in Melbourne’s Fitzroy was a blast… until the boys showed up and crashed it!

The movies.

As per my review, don’t waste your money on Sleeping Beauty. Even if it was only $9 at Carlton’s Nova.

The stack.

The view.

Living in Richmond, this is the lovely view from my apartment… Okay, if you stand in the corner of my loungeroom and look sideways out the window, it’s the view from my apartment. This is the view from out on the street.

The 70%-off Borders loot.

Borders closes down this week (sob!), but that means I got 70% off some books I wouldn’t have forked out for otherwise. One is former professional wrestler Brock Lesnar’s “memoir”, the others are a surprise for my friend and future housemate Eddie, and have been strategically hidden underneath.

The dinner.

The cold weather had brought out the baker in me, and I spent the last couple of days cooking peri peri chicken and veggies and…

Guilty: I licked the bowl!

The finished product!

The dessert.

… homemade honeycomb rocky road! Yummo!

Related: [The Early Bird Catches the Worm] My Week in Pictures July 1st 2011.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Sleeping Beauty Review.

Girls night photos by Isaebella Doherty (except the blurry one; that was me!).

Event: Evolution of the Bookshop at the Wheeler Centre.

I never thought a seemingly boring panel conversation about e-books versus hard copy print media would trump a discussion about masculinity in Australia, but it seems “The Evolution of the Bookshop” has come out on top when it comes to talks I’ve seen at the Wheeler Centre lately.

I’m a bit late reporting on this one, but a couple of weeks ago I attended “The Evolution of the Bookshop”, which entailed the panel of Michael Webster, Corrie Perkin, Jo Case and Chris Flynn, with Sally Heath as the facilitator.

The main item of contention on the agenda was the receivership of the REDgroup, which includes Borders and Angus & Robertson (for those of you living under a rock in recent months) and how online shopping from overseas stores, like Amazon and the Book Depository, may have contributed.

2010 was a good year for books in Australia, actually, as Webster, of RMIT and Nielson BookScan, pointed out in a riveting (no, I’m not kidding!) spreadsheet. There was no denying the large amount of Australian dollars that were spent online on books, what with parity and all that jazz, and the panel urged the audience to buy local throughout the night.

But when Flynn, fiction editor of The Australian Review of Books, compared the prices of all the books he bought over the course of a year at Borders (the devil’s bookstore, according to the panel!), Readings (of which Case is a staff member) and the Book Depository (there was over $1000 difference between online and at a bricks and mortar bookstore), it doesn’t bode well for physical bookstores.

Personally, I’m not in the financial bracket to be supporting local bookstores when I can get the books I want online for half the price at a click of a button.

Earlier this year, I went into Borders at Melbourne Central wanting to purchase Marilyn Monroe’s Fragments, The Great Gatsby and Sloane Crosley’s two books of essays (which you may remember me writing about here). They had none of them in store. An hour later I was at home on Amazon, $70 poorer but immeasurably happier that four brand new books were on their way to me.

Case made the case (haha!) for the experience of shopping at a bookstore, but Flynn countered with the presumption that people who shop online probably already belong to an online community, and thus their experience at an online bookstore is just as valid and important as at a physical one.

As the owner of her own bookshop, Perkin asserted that she just can’t compete with free shipping and the iPhone app Shazam, which allows users to record a piece of music, to which the app generates the full details of and where you can buy it online.

But independent bookstores compete on service, not price. Perkin relayed the example of running out of Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals recipe book and being told that the next shipment wouldn’t be for awhile as it was, and is, a very popular title. She was forced to buy copies of the book on the Book Depository at her own expense, and provide them to her customers who had already committed to the title via pre-sale. Now that is service!

Flynn countered that whether we like it or not, e-readers have hijacked traditional forms of reading, but based on a show of hands, not one person at the Wheeler Centre that night owned or read books on an e-reader.

On a side note, I will be visiting the best second-hand bookstore I’ve ever been to over the weekend, and there’ll be more to come on that next week.

[The Wheeler Centre] The Evolution of the Bookshop.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] “Who the Bloody Hell Are We?”: The Sentimental Bloke at the Wheeler Centre.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] The Ten Books I Wanted to Read This Year But Didn’t.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Book Review: I Was Told There’d Be Cake by Sloane Crosley.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] All Eyes on Marilyn.

Images via Crunch Gear, TS Bookshop, Lance Wiggs.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

In the wake of Angus and Robertson and Borders going into receivership, Satchel Girl Erica Bartle thinks “some things are prettier in print”.

“Letters to Fictional TV Characters”, such as Saved By the Bell’s Jessie Spano:

“You hair, your height, your convictions; everything about you terrified viewers! Maybe it’s because you bear a striking resemblance to the exotic dancer in Showgirls.”

Channing Tatum on the double standards for male and female strippers. (FYI, he used to be one.)

Jezebel asks “What Happened to Olivia Benson’s Sex Life?” by way of The New Gay.

Mia Freedman writes: “I want to be kept up to date about the news from Christchurch without feeling like I’m participating in some voyeuristic type of grief porn.”

Freedman also has a new book out, Mia Culpa: Confessions from the Watercooler of Life. Here she answers questions about it. Can’t wait to get my hands on it! Review pending!

There have been differing views of the St. Kilda Schoolgirl, and this journalist expresses yet another.

It pays to be a Kardashian. $65 million, to be exact.

Googled “murder” lately? Jezebel bets you weren’t expecting to find “abortion” as the second link…

Rape on TV.

Julia Baird on journalist Lara Logan’s sexual assault by 200 men during the  Egyptian revolution:

“The attacks on Logan spread to Twitter, with coded versions of the above sentiments, most implying that it was her fault because women should not go into war zones, and that this is what happens if you are young, hot and surrounded by Muslims*. It’s hard to know where to start—the sexism, racism and lack of simple compassion are all stunning” [bold text mine].

*It’s sickening that this is the viewpoint of so many.

Image via The Next Bar Stool.