50 Things I Learnt From Watching the Harry Potter Films for the First Time (Part 2)

Don’t count them. Just take me at my word that there is 50 all together…

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

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  • Sooner or later even the bravest hero will have to battle against that most terrifying foe; bureaucracy and government…
  • Lots of new characters are either introduced or brought to the fore in Order of the Phoenix including Luna Lovegood, Nymphadora Tonks, Bellatrix Lestrange and of course Dolores Umbridge. The latter is one of those dastardly villains that you only see in children’s fiction. There is more than a hint of Roald Dahl about her despicable officiousness.
  • Loads of Neville Longbottom in this one which is wonderful. Here, he becomes less comic relief and more fully realised character as his back story, only hinted at before, is properly revealed. He is the underdog that is so easy to love.
  • While I like the whole Harry/Cho romance that is brewing, I always hoped that he would end up with Ginny Weasley. Ginny is such a lovely girl.
  • It occurred to me during Goblet of Fire that while the dialogue in the Potter movies certainly isn’t bad, it doesn’t have loads of memorable lines for such a famous series of films. Potter’s ‘I must not tell lies’ retort to Dolores Umbridge is a one liner so good that even Arnie would be proud of it however.
  • I know there are more important things going on at this stage but I feel like Hogwarts has basically been reduced to two houses by now. Slytherin and Griffindor are pretty much all she wrote. I feel like I know nothing about Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw, maybe this is something that is expanded a lot in the books?
  • Order of the Phoenix is another great entry, while some plot lines did feel a little rushed, the ending was magnificent with the apparent death of Sirius Black proving that the stakes are higher than ever as the series becomes more grown up and ever darker. Ron Weasley even did a couple of swears in this one!

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

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  • Some troubling new characters here. Cormac is a turd and who is this bitch cuddling up to Ron Weasley? Bloody usurper.
  • The confirmation that Snape is a baddie really upset me. I can only hope he is on for the big double cross.
  • What ever happened to Cho Chang? Did I miss something there? She seems to have just disappeared. Maybe Ginny ‘took care of her’. She was her main rival for Harry’s affections after all.
  • No new professor of the dark arts this time? That is disappointing but Jim Broadbent is a welcome addition. An actor who is always a joy to behold.
  • So… were there no consequences for when Harry almost killed Draco Malfoy? Seems a bit odd.
  • Well bloody hell. Snape kills Dumbledore. Didn’t see that coming. It seems unlikely right now but I’m still clinging on to the possibility that there might have been some method behind Snape’s madness and he is still on the right team.
  • I enjoyed the Half Blood Prince but it was my least favourite of the series so far. I think I loved Harry Potter mostly for its portrayal of life at Hogwarts. The earlier films often feel more like a coming of age tale first and a story about magic second. Half Blood Prince loses some of that, which I suppose comes with the territory of having to push the plot along.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part 1)

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  • It is clear from the start that the stakes are higher in Deathly Hallows then they have ever been. Hermoine literally removes herself from her parents lives in a heart wrenching scene and Harry ruminates on his old cupboard under the stairs, all set to a foreboding, swelling score. The whole feel of the series is different following the death of Dumbledore.
  • I know that planning weddings is tough and postponing one would cause all sorts of problems but isn’t gathering every single remaining protagonist together in one place in the middle of a wizard war a touch irresponsible?
  • The return of Jah Jah Dobby. Nobody needs to refer to themselves in the third person that much. Nobody.
  • I’m all for things being dark but there is a difference between ‘dark’ and ‘miserable’. Large parts of Deathly Hallows Part 1 are just plain depressing. Without the colourful world of Hogwarts and its eclectic students and faculty, the universe of Harry Potter feels like it has the colour drained out of it. Obviously, some levity must be sacrificed in order to fulfil the more grown up themes but aside from a quick dance to Nick Cave it’s all a little bleak.
  • It’s sad and all when Harry finds his parents’ grave but James Potter was a bit of tallywacker. Anyone that bullies Snape will ultimately get what’s coming to them.
  • Deathly Hallows Part 1 is a return to form after the slightly disappointing Half Blood Prince but it still doesn’t recapture the magic (sorry) of the earlier films. If you have assembled one of the all time great supporting casts, then for chrissakes, USE them! To have so little screen time for Snape, Hagrid, McGonagall et al is a tremendous waste. I would also add that I’m not much of a fan of Rhys Ifans either so his turn as Lovegood senior left me cold.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part 2)

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  • I’m delighted that we have the chance to see a bit more of Gringotts. I have now read Philosophers Stone and that book does a great job of making Gringotts sound secretive and therefore compelling.
  • When Big Nev Longbottom emerged from that picture I almost jumped for a joy. It’s great just to be back at Hogwarts generally. BIG NEV!
  • Bloody hell even Cho Chang is there. I bet she regrets not taking the bull by the horns with the chosen one now that Ginny has moved in.
  • I love Snape the absolute most but McGonagall taking him on and then banishing loads of children to the dungeon was totally badass. Bravo.
  • All the other notes in this article were written while the films were playing. This is the first opportunity for me to reflect having now watched the entire series… If you had me write a check list of everything I wanted from the final film in the franchise it would have included: a satisfying character arc for Snape, a heroic ending for Big Nev, Weasley and Hermoine finally getting together and a climactic battle befitting such a legendary fable. Deathly Hallows Part 2 provided not only every single thing on that list but also plenty of other twists and turns along the way. The scenes that took place only in Harry’s head recalled 2001: A Space Odyssey in their ambition and they dovetailed beautifully with the more straight forward action sequences. It was, in almost every sense, the perfect ending.
  • Just because Deathly Hallows Part 2 is a Harry Potter film doesn’t give it a divine right to be any good however. Here is a list of films that ended iconic film franchises: Return of the Jedi, Back to the Future 3, The Godfather III, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, The Dark Knight Rises, Jurassic Park 3, I could go on. The common thread that links all those films is that none of them are as good Deathly Hallows Part 2. Director David Yates succeeded where many others have failed. The only cinematic conclusion that perhaps compares is Return of the King. That’s how good it is.
  • A word for Voldermort. A constant criticism I have of Marvel movies is that the villains are forgettable and bland. It is certainly true that a hero is only as compelling as the villain they battle. Voldermort deserves to be spoken of in the same breath as Darth Vadar. Quite simply one of the best ever. This is partly down to how the character is written and partly down to a sinister performance from Ralph Fiennes. Perhaps most of all though, credit must be given to whoever designed how Tom Riddle would look. Voldermort is as visually arresting as any movie villain ever.
  • Well that’s it. What a journey. It’s been a long road from initial scepticism to eventual devotion and while I am sad it has taken me this damn long to explore the world of Hogwarts, I am so glad I finally did. As a thirty year old man, it’s not often that you find something that reignites your love for popular culture but Harry Potter has forged a special place in my cold, dead heart. What now I hear absolutely no-one ask? On to the books I suppose. EXPECTO PATRONUM!

For part one of 50 things I learnt from watching the Harry Potter movies, click here.

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