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Letting Freedom Ring

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Magnificus Exitus

For the last ten years (14, if you were also a fan of the Harry Potter books), we’ve been enveloped from year to year in the adventures of the Boy Wizards and his classmates from Hogwarts School of Magic. The final picture, to use Harry Potter’s favorite word, is “brilliant.”


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 is the finale to the series and what a finale it is. Part 1 set audiences up, with a lot of exposition and explanations that had a beginning, but obviously no ending, or it was a cliff-hanger ending: stay tuned for Part 2.

Part 2 is here and it is exciting, terrifying, heart-breaking and satisfying. Harry, Hermione and Ron continue the quest for the horcruxes (not to be confused with the Deathly Hallows of the title), the containers of Lord Voldemort’s fragmented, evil soul. Destroy the horcruxes and they can destroy this magical villain.

But the young wizards, now all grown up, must figure what and where the remaining horcruxes are. They must also prevent Voldemort from getting his hands on the Deathly Hallows, three devices which will confer immortality upon their owner by enabling them to cheat death. One is Harry’s invisibility cloak and another is the Elder Wand, the most powerful of all magic wands.

The Magical World is on the brink of war, as Voldemort’s power increases. The battlefield is Hogwarts itself. The only wizard who can destroy Voldemort is Harry himself. Essentially, he must give up his own life in order to accomplish this feat.

Meanwhile, many other brave wizards make the ultimate sacrifice to guard the castle and keep Voldemort from overpowering the magical world. Many beloved characters return, some from beyond the grave, others return in life only to be sent to their graves.

As always, the three young leads, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint are wonderful. Secondary cast members put in magical performances as well, including Maggie Smith, who finds herself headmistress of the decimated Hogwarts and Alan Rickman was the much-maligned Snape, whose long and well-kept secret is revealed.

The ending is bittersweet and just wonderful. The Harry Potter series has been such a phenomenon; we’ve watched its three young actors grow from adorable children into sophisticated actors. All children must grow up, as every parent knows, and it’s a wrench to have to let them go.  But we always have the home movies to return to when we’re nostalgic for childhood.

Well done, Gryffindor.

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