When Nature Calls

I have been reprimanded many times by friends and family to UPDATE YOUR BLOG! But seriously, summer is so short and I find myself craving the outdoors rather than stuck behind a computer. As do the daughters. “Owside? OWSIDDDEE???”

Also, I’ve taken at least a thousand photos in the last month and I can’t even begin editing them all. But with the thunderstorms of South Dakota, the peace of Canada, mixed with my garden in all it’s glory, I thought I would do a quick post with some of my favorite nature photos. So, here we go!

Harry Potter Deathly Hallows Part 2 Review

Well it’s over. Done. Complete. I went to the midnight showing last night with my wonderful family and watched the very last Harry Potter movie. And since I am a fan of  all things Harry Potter, I will say that I loved it. And haters can hate. Whatever. Get over yourself. I even teared up at certain points mostly because I love these characters and this story and I will immerse myself totally into this little piece of fiction for 2 hrs and 10 minutes. Some of the following contain spoilers, so you are warned. But if you are reading this, you have already seen the movie or don’t care at this point. Either way, I think alot of critics should just relax and enjoy the ride.

SPOILERS!!! You have been WARNED! TWICE!

Overall this was the “action” half of the two parts. While in the first movie we have alot of depressing locations and very little music as the trio fight, break apart, dance in tents and wander to other parts of the wizarding world, Part 2 brings us back to Hogwarts, multitudes of student/teacher cameos, explosions and deaths but it’s still “home”.

But lets back up. A flash back to opening the tomb, taking the wand and showing Hogwarts in Snape’s control. Then to Shell Cottage, with Dobbie’s grave and the trio exhausted. Luna is still wonderful as always and says wonderful things in her singsong voice. Harry talks with Griphook and they gloss over the dialogue with an “it’s complicated” line which leads us to believe Bellatrix has a horcrux in her vault. Of course Griphook will get them in for a price, but not gold, he wants the real sword since Bellatrix has a fake in her vault. We also get teased that Snape put the fake one in there which confuses everyone. Then Harry talks to Olivander and we get a small sense of the type of power the Elder Wand has in Lord Voldemort’s hands as well a the “yielding” wand of Draco and the “unyielding” wand of Bellatrix and ownership in general. Then we see Hermione as Bellatrix “polyjuice potion style” and Ron with a ridiculous disguise as they try to sneak into Gringotts. Very well done and the ride to the vaults was wonderful, they even included the enchantment erasing waterfall and the “clankers” for the poor old sunless/albino dragon locked up below.

It was a good move to have the horcrux “call” to Harry since it gave him a reason to find it quickly and move the story along. Also the trio escaping on the poor beaten dragon was literally a breath of fresh air, whomever did the animation on this thing rocked. You could feel the dragon’s struggle and pain as it tore through the bank and into the air. It totally took me off guard. I even felt bad when Hermione “whipped it” with her spell to send it into the air. Griphook’s betrayal to get them “in, not out” and trickery for the sword still stung but the aftermath when Voldemort finds out the cup was stolen was a little harsh. Voldemort walking barefoot through blood with Gringotts bank employees and goblins, including Griphook, all dead. It’s then you see the Sword of Griffendor disappear to reappear later in the sorting hat.

The trio jump off the dragon into a lake and the teenage girls around me got a great 360 view of both Harry and Ron shirtless as they change into dry clothes. The girl behind me must of fainted a little. Then they apparate off to Hogsmeade and send off the caterwauling charm and alarms go off. We don’t get to see Aberforth’s patronus (the goat) unfortunately, he just calls them into the pub. Also the conversation between Harry and Aberforth was weird. The mirror which was a huge thing with Sirius in the books was a quick, “I got it from Mundungus who stole it from Sirius” oh by the way I’ve been looking in on you. Aberforth then goes into a Albus-bashing story and tells Harry he is a fool to trust him. We abruptly come to a halt though, because Harry doesn’t care about any of the “problems” that Albus and Aberforth had, we don’t hear any backstory on Arianna or Albus’s power trip. So we just jump ahead to Neville coming out of the portrait and sneaking the trio into Hogwarts. (I’ve become a big fan of Neville, not only does he keep up the fight as leader of the DA, he also never gives up hope.)

As soon as Harry is back into Hogwarts, we are back to our John Williams music soundtrack and for the first time you feel like it’s a Harry Potter movie again. Everyone gets all excited and they send out a “Lightning has Struck” coded message to get the Order there fast. There is a funny line with Seamus and Ron when Ginny sees Harry as well as the “I need to find something, but I don’t know what it is and I don’t know where it is” horcrux hunt. Again Luna comes to the rescue with the lost diadem story with a small cameo from Cho saying no one alive knows where it is. (hint hint, ask a ghost)  Ginny tells Harry that Snape knows he’s in the castle.

Snape then calls everyone in military line into the Great Hall asking people that know information to step forward whether it be student OR teacher or there will be hell to pay. All the students look down and away but one student steps forward. AND IT’S HARRY! BOOM! FLY SNAPE, FLY AWAY. “How DARE you stand where he once stood!?” So dramatic and emotional. Let the duel begin! At this point I wished McGonagall sprouted fire from her hands or something because she takes control and it’s awesome. Her against Snape. Maggie Smith, you are wonderful. Voldemort interrupts everyone with his “voice inside your mind trick” and knows Harry is there and you better send him out or you will all die. Buzzkill.

Enter stage left Pansy Parkinson and her “There he is, grab him” that makes everyone flinch, Ginny steps in front of Harry like a shield with a dozen others. Filch gets a laugh to break the tension and the Slytherins are escorted to the dungeon. And everyone else prepares for battle.

At this point you get to see the professors at their best defending the school. McGonagall does a “no questions asked” sending off to Harry to do what he has to do and she starts casting spells to animate these huge stone knights. “I’ve always wanted to use that spell” gets a laugh and it’s endearing since she plays the part perfectly.

Time is running out and Harry is running to the Ravenclaw commonroom when Luna stops him short with a very “unLuna” like command to jar him out of running around with his head cut off. HARRY POTTER YOU LISTEN TO ME! Perfect. She tells of the Grey Lady and off they go to see her. Again, the Grey Lady, Helena was well done, a little creepy when she is yelling at Harry but overall it’s a good scene. (It reminded me of LOTR with Gladriel going nuts) We don’t hear of her backstory or the fact the wearer gains wisdom or the Bloody Baron, but again, the movie can only be so long. It’s where everything is hidden = Room of Requirement. Off Harry goes.

Meanwhile everyone is battling and defending. There is a great scene with Neville blowing up the bridge. Again, I’m happy they gave him so much screen time. Also you get a good look at how large Voldemort’s forces really are at this point. Ron and Hermione have taken the cup and gone to the Chamber of Secrets to get a basilisk fang since they don’t have the sword to kill the horcrux. It’s glossed over in the books, but here they show it and it’s a major part and step. It was a wonderful suprise. It’s also here that it shows Hermione killing the cup, them getting drenched in Voldemort water and Ron and Hermione realize they love each other and share their “first kiss” and a comfortable laugh. FINALLY. From this point on, all their interactions are subtle and great. Finally, it’s public, no more tension.

Hermione and Ron find Harry on the Mauraders Map and then he disappears into the Room of Requirement which Ron figures out. Hermione is a little taken aback by his sense of clarity at this moment although he gives her credit for it. You can tell she is falling for him hard at this point. And I’m loving it!

Malfoy and his buddies see Harry going into the Room and follow of course. Again, Harry uses the horcrux to “call to him” and find the diadem in a box (rather than on top of a stuffed troll) Ron and Hermione show up and their is a great show of chivalry as Ron tears after the Malfoy gang protecting Hermione “THAT’S MY GIRLFRIEND!” Goyle at this point sends fiend fire after Ron, everything gets burned up and the trio jump on broomsticks. Of course they save Draco and Blaise but Goyle falls to his burning death in the fire. Another casualty. The fire was awesome as well as the size of the Room of Requirement and all that junk. That set was perfect. They even snuck in the mouthy “If we die trying to save those two, I’ll KILL you Harry” line from Ron. They show Harry stab the diadem with a Basilisk fang before throwing it into the fire inferno which keeps the “killing of horcruxes” consistent in the films and the door disappears.

Back in the forest, Voldemort can “feel” the horcruxes dying. And so can Harry which hints that Harry is a horcrux himself. They are both weak and in pain. The next few minutes is a blur of fighting, Tonks, Lupin, Kingsley, Deatheaters, Giants, spells, rubble. They basically start blowing Hogwarts apart bit by bit. Voldemort tries to break the barrier with his “Elder Wand” and it cracks, he then realizes that the wand hasn’t changed allegiance to him. He leaves battle and finds Lucius who then is supposed to find Snape aka the guy who killed Dumbledore. They never do reunite Percy, Fred and George with any dialogue which I was a little sad to “not see”. And when Voldemort gives everyone a breather to “tend to the dead” giving Harry an ultimatum in one hour to come to the Forbidden Forest and face him alone or more people will die. It’s only then you see the Weasley family grieving over Fred which was heart wrenching. Tonks and Lupin dead on the floor with their hands almost touching.  Harry seeing the devastation. Very rushed I thought, but again, we barely get 2 hours.

Harry goes back into Voldemort’s mind to find the remaining horcrux, which is Nagini at this point. He tells the Ron and Hermione that they need to “kill the snake”. The trio go to the boat house and find that Voldemort is talking to Snape about the Elder Wand. And at this point, I realize that the waterworks are going to start coming. Snape of course goes down in a heap and a “through the glass PG13” look at how Nagini attacks him is just sickening. She strikes him with such force that you cringe from it. He’s lying there about to die as Voldemort apparates away and Harry comes around the corner. Snape gives Harry his memories from tears coming from his eyes and tells him to go to the pensive. He then makes that last statement of “You have your mother’s eyes” before he dies. Alan Rickman, again, you are a wonderful actor.

Harry goes to the Headmaster’s office and sees the memories. Snape and Lily together as children, Petunia calling her a freak, Lily getting sorted into Griffindor, Snape getting more and more pissed when James and Lily are together. Snape going to Dumbledore to tell him to keep Lily safe because of the prophecy. Betrayed by Wormtail, back to Lily dying and Snape walking through the rubble to pick up Lily in his arms and crying over her. It was so emotional and I loved it. Snape and Dumbledore agreeing that Harry needs to be protected, Snape complaining that Harry is just like James. Then the curse on Dumbledore and the fact that he only has a year to live. That Snape has to kill him to save Draco the task from the Dark Lord. Again, this scene went by so fast, but it fit so well, a mixture of all these memories that explain everything so quickly.  Snape shows that his patronus is a doe, which ties up how the sword got in the lake and that he would always love Lily and in turn care for the boy. Then finally the memory of Albus and Snape discussing Harry and the fact that he needs to die since he is the last “unplanned” horcrux. You can tell that Harry got a punch to the heart on that one. He is basically stunned.

He tells Ron and Hermione he needs to go to the Forest. It’s a sad goodbye since he is walking to his death. This is one of the better trio scenes. Simple, emotional and final. In the forest he opens the snitch to find the Resurrection Stone and Lily, James, Lupin and Sirius are there. Again this part was well scripted although James seemed like a minor character to me, maybe because they focused on Lily. Or maybe because I hate him now and wish it were Snape there instead. Weird what you remember.

Harry drops the stone, he goes to Voldemort, no preamble, Avadakadavra and he’s dead. At this point in the theatre we all get blinded by a white light. And when our eyes adjust we are at a heavenly Kings Cross station with a glasses-less Harry looking under a white bench and seeing a bloody disgusting Voldemort creature that looked like what Wormtail dropped into the cauldron in Goblet of Fire. Albus shows up and they have a little philosophical chat. Again, this is short and sweet. Not much is really discussed although Harry can and will go back now that the “horcrux” part of him is dead. So he does. They do get the “Is this real or is it all in my head” line in there. Which gets a laugh and is a great connection to the book.

Back in the real world, Voldemort is knocked out, Bellatrix comes to his aid and he pushes her away. Classic. And the moment of truth, the REAL hero, here comes Draco’s mom to save the day. She goes to Harry to see if he’s alive and asks if Draco is alive in the castle. He barely nods. She turns around, declares he’s dead and from this point on, she is a favorite character of mine. I might even do my hair like hers one day.

At this point, it’s unclear how Hagrid got tied up and is with the deatheaters but you just go with it. He carries Harry back to Hogwarts, all the students and teachers pile out. Neville at this point finds the sorting hat in the rubble and there is a quick “glean” of the sword on his face. He pulls it out.

Now those of you that are true to the books better let it go at this point. They change the story a bit and draw out these last 20 minutes. Basically Voldemort tells everyone that Harry is dead, tells the students to come to his side. Draco is coaxed over by his parents although Narcissa is clearly put out by Lucius. Neville steps forward and give the most touching and dramatic speech of the whole movie. That even though Harry is dead and his friends are dead and Lupin, Tonks, insert “whoever” here is dead, that doesn’t mean that they stop fighting and that a part of all of them lives inside their hearts. GO TEAM NEVILLE! Voldemort blast Neville and the sword, Harry jumps out of Hagrids arms, all hell breaks lose. BUT THE BEST PART is Narcissa marching Draco across the bridge and turning her back on Voldemort. Lucius following like a puppy dog. She literally is marching away, not looking back. AWESOME. I bet she was like “Screw this, I’m out”.

She wasn’t the only one either, alot of other Deatheaters disapperate, abandoning the fight since Harry is still alive. Bellatrix goes a little nuts trying to fight and goes after Ginny. And Molly comes to the rescue with the best line “Not my daughter, you BITCH!” Which made everyone in the theatre erupt with cheers and clapping. I’m sure it will be mentioned over and over again.

The trio still needs to kill Nagini at this point, but they can’t get close enough, plus Voldemort is hunting down Harry inside the castle so they split up. This makes for a long drawn out battle or Harry and Voldemort flying around the castle with them dueling red and green sparks at each other. They have a simple conversation that the Elder wand isn’t working for Voldemort because it was never really Snape’s to begin with that confuses everyone including Voldemort. Meanwhile, Ron and Hermione are dropping Basilisk fangs trying to stab Nagini and FINALLY Neville comes to the rescue and slices Nagini’s head off with the sword. With the last horcux gone, Harry and Voldemort cast their last spells and the elder wand flies into the air into Harry’s hands. Voldemort turns to dust and disintegrates.

YAY! BREATHE!

Then we go back into the castle and everyone is basically exhausted, wounded and a little shellshocked. There is a very sweet scene where Luna goes and sits by Neville since he told the trio before he was going to declare his love for her since they were all going to die. It leaves their romance open ended. We see Harry walking by students, casualties, professors yet there is another funny cameo by Filch trying to sweep up the mess.

The trio are back on the bridge and Harry breaks the Elder Wand and throws it over the edge. I was a little sad about this. I had hoped he would go up to the Headmaster’s office and seek out the portraits. I also had hoped he was going to use the Elder Wand to repair his old wand, just to show the power, but this was probably a good way to show that Harry was never interested in power, or the wand and didn’t want anything to do with it.

The Epilogue, 19 years later

We are back at Platform 9 3/4, and Albus Severus Potter is going on the train for the first time. They age Harry, Ginny, Ron, Hermione and Draco for this small scene and they do a pretty good job, especially on Harry and Ron. They bald Draco slightly and Hermione has an “old lady” bun. Their “kids” are just that, kids, although I wished Albus could have looked a little more like Harry when he was 10 at least with the eyes. They have the important conversation that the Albus can choose the house that he goes into since he doesn’t want to be a Slytherin. Harry informs him that he was named after two headmasters and the one that was in Slytherin was the bravest man he had ever known. It’s touching knowing that he forgives Snape after all this time, as is the hug he gives Albus knowing that he fought for his future children and this moment right here. The next generation of kids all get on board and the trio look off in the distance as the train pulls out. Credit roll as do the tears.

And the final installment comes to a close.

As I said before, this movie seemed like on huge reunion. It was great seeing all the professors again, (even Trelawny for a few seconds!), the trio had great chemistry and Maggie Smith and Alan Rickman gave us a wonderful performance as did Ralph Fiennes. Again, Neville became one of my favorite characters with Luna delivering as well. We didn’t get to see too much from Fred and George, even Ginny was pretty downplayed in dialogue but it made sense. Some deaths were rushed and they needed to keep it PG13 I guess and there was alot of chaos and running around. But it was to be expected.

Either way I hoped you enjoyed it. I know I did!