It’s here: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One. Tickets to the show’s midnight premiere and opening days have been sold out across Boston for weeks now and theatres are stockpiled with crates of popcorn and boxes of Raisinettes for the coming influx of fans. It’s the premier of premiers, the beginning of the end. The seventh and final installment of Rowling’s wildly popular series has been split into two full length movies, ostensibly in order to avoid eliminating any details of the story (although it’s unlikely that any of the producers or actors frowned upon the chance to make double the profit from one book). This first installment will take us up to the middle of the novel; we’ll begin the search for Voldemort’s horcruxes… but then what? The credits will roll and we will be stranded until the 15th of July, 2011, the release date of Part Two. Questions will be left unanswered, critics will rush back to their novels to check the accuracy of scene representations, and fans will be left to ruminate over what they’ve seen and speculate about what is to come. The decision of whether or not to split the novel into two movies is truly a double edged sword (or a double tipped wand?). On the one hand, to represent the entire book in one film would require a lot of plot editing and scene cutting, but split into two installments, we must rely on patience to pass the time between Parts One and Two. With access to a time turner, we would be able to eliminate the waiting period between the two final films but alas, muggle technology is drastically inferior to that of the wizarding world.
The release of Part One is truly the beginning of the end of an era. Many of us dove into the series when the first book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, (which incidentally, is titled Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, in England and in every other English-speaking nation) was published in 1997 and have followed the novels and movies right into the 21st century. The Harry Potter series is an icon of the time and a true classic of the fiction genre. Once Part Two, or the final film, airs, the saga will, in a sense, come to a close. Personally, I am glad that book 7 has been split into two movies; I would like to postpone Harry’s end for as long as possible. But before declaring that it’s all over, I’ll ask why the final movie should bring an end to the phenomenon? Like with any classic work of fiction or film, the Harry Potter will be read and watched over and over, even after we have memorized lengthy passages and are able to recite entire scenes by heart. We may even read these stories to our children; it would be folly not to introduce them to the wizarding world. The films will retain as long as cinema exists; they are box office hits and instant classics. The era of creation is coming to an end, but Harry Potter will retain as a symbol of the times and popular culture. Rowling’s books can be found in the children’s section of book stores, but they are devoured by readers of all ages; many people who started the series as children are finishing it as adults. We will not watch the films with hopes of plot twists and scandals, for they are based directly on Rowling’s novels (any deviation from which elicits complaints and objections), but they are fantastic in their production and these final installments will be breathtaking and exhilarating due to the amount of passion and effort poured into each scene.
For now anyway, muggles are preparing for the release of Part One. House flags are being unfurled, robes shaken out, glasses re-taped, and Hogwarts apparel donned. The Harvard Horntails, our very own quidditch team, is planning a celebration for the big day. They’ll be advertising and recruiting for the team at the showing, while sporting their jerseys and official quidditch broomsticks. It’s well known that Harvard is basically a muggle-admitting prototype of Hogwarts; if you’re skeptical, just look around Annenberg Hall. Consequently, Harvard students should celebrate the coming of the new movie. Don your robe and embrace your love of the wizarding world while drinking a glass of pumpkin juice; break out the Harry Potter trivia game and show your roommates who the real expert is. Brush up on minor characters and magical jargon in order to make your Potter-based conversations even more impressive (or nerdy). The wizards are coming, the end is approaching, and the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One is your ticket and excuse to remind yourself and your friends why magic is so amazing.