I took leave from work on my birthday. 2 weeks ago, to catch the much anticipated grand finale of the Harry Potter saga. As I’ve expected, the best seats were already taken by the time I got to the cinema, so I settled for the next best thing available, and off-center seat in one of the back rows. It was the cinema’s 76th anniversary and they were giving away free popcorn and soft drinks for every regular-priced to ticket. Since I’d already taken breakfast, I chose to get a discounted ticket with my credit card instead. I wasn’t a big fan of popcorn anyway.
SPOILER ALERT: The following may contain spoilers, so if you’ve not watched the movie or read the book, you may want to give this post a pass until you’ve done at least one of two.
The final Harry Potter book is probably (IMHO) the one that’s most packed with Christian themes among all the 7 books, particularly the plot leading up to the final face-off the between our main protagonist, Harry Potter, and his arch-enemy, Voldemort. Hence I had high expectations for the movie rendition, especially after watching the trailers on YouTube.
I chose to watch the high-definition version with digital surround sound rather than 3D since it was much cheaper, and also because I didn’t want to end up with a headache after the show. Moreover, I’ve heard that the 3D version wasn’t that much more impressive. Although the Harry Potter themed 3D glasses did look like quite a tempting collectible.
The movie opens with a very downcast Snape, looking like he’s deep in thoughts. The scene immediately switches over to Voldemort, who is standing victoriously at Dumbledore’s grave, after gaining possession of the infamous Elder Wand. The adventures of Harry and his sidekicks ensues as they continue to hunt down and destroy the remaining Horcruxes. Their wild goose chase eventually leads the trio back to Hogwarts. This is also where Harry and Voldemort will have their final showdown.
As I sat in the cinema watching the scenes fly by at break-neck speed, I was grateful that I’d already finished reading the book. Even then, I still find it a little difficult to catch up with fast plot. It was like I was on some sort of high-speed roller coaster ride, exciting and breathtaking. The group of young girls sitting in the row in front of me were squealing towards the end when the bad guys started to die off one by one. We all had a good laugh when the infamous epilogue appeared at the end. And when the movie ended, the entire cinema roared with enthusiastic applause.
My favorite part of the movie had to be Harry’s death in the Forbidden Forest. To me, this was one of the climaxes in the movie. Harry’s brief afterlife moment where he converses with Dumbledore at he deems as King’s Cross Station was particularly witty and thought-provoking. This is also the point in the book where Christian, some even Catholic, references are abundant. Harry sacrificing his life to save Hogwarts very much mimicked Christ’s sacrifice of Himself to save humanity. When Voldemort marches into Hogwarts with the limp, “dead” body of Harry, pronouncing his “victory” and demanding recognition of his lordship, I was immediately reminded of our Lord’s death on the cross. If the devil had a physical body with which he could speak, I’m sure he would have screamed victory at the top of his voice, just like Voldemort did.
Naturally, when Harry literally sprang back to life. The crowd at Hogwarts were exhilarated, not to mention the bunch of squealing teenage girls seated in the row in front, just like the disciples where when Jesus returned on Easter Sunday. Thankfully, there weren’t any “doubting Thomas-es ” around this time to spoil the mood.
Finally, Harry brings down Voldemort, after an intensive chase and battle of spells. However, the lethal blow which ultimately led to Voldemort’s demise was his refusal to repent of his evil ways. Voldemort attempts to attack Harry with a deadly spell, which our hero deftly deflects in self-defense, inadvertently “redirecting” the evil spell back to the one who mouth it. Another classic example of the golden rule in action: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”
As the tagline on the movie states, “It All Ends Here”. I’ll definitely be missing my (almost) annual dosage of Harry Potter movies, unless Ms Rowling decides to go back on her words. I know I didn’t quite do the movie justice with my brief review. Here are a couple of folks who’ve done a much better job than me:
You might also want to check out the Secrets of Harry Potter podcast (website)|(rss) from SQPN, where they explore various Christian themes in the Harry Potter series, and discuss Harry Potter books and movies. I particularly loved their detailed review of the latest movie. Definitely a must-listen if you’re a fan!