“He’ll be famous- a legend…there will be books written about Harry- every child in our world will know his name…” and who could have predicted that Professor McGonagall’s heart felt words at the beginning of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s stone would resonate with more sincerity than perhaps anything ever written in any book. But now fourteen years, 450 million books and £ 7.3 billion later and J.K Rowling’s beloved fable about a boy wizard and the magical world just a journey beyond platform 93/4, has reached it’s thrilling climax and what a filmic journey it’s been. High octane quidditch, dragon fights, flying cars, enchanted trees and now the inevitable final confrontation with the Dark Lord himself: Voldermort.
As well as the hundreds of stunts and huge explosions, the film series has also seen CGI stretched to the very limits of possibility. Daniel Radcliffe swam around a huge tank for an incredible 48 hour to shoot the underwater scenes for the fourth film. The hall of prophecies in Order of the Phoenix, the cave from Half-Blood Prince and even parts of Privet Drive right from the opening of Philosophers Stone were all shot entirely from green screen.
But for many the Harry Potter experience is about far more than spell-binding effects or clever camera work, it is the characters that make the books and the films what they are. Whether to find out if Ron and Hermione have finally got together or simply just to see if the new defence against the darks arts professor really is more disturbed than last year’s, it is the emotional relationships and the idea of growth, of bildungsroman that have made the films, the books, the video games the huge success that they are.
At eleven years old Harry’s tentative arrival at Hogwarts is greeted with nervousness, confusion and wonder, and as Harry struggled with his teenage emotions, with his anger or that awkward search for a date to the ball, so too were the same people who’d grown up with Harry.
So there is a lot riding on this eighth and final film. Right from the off Rowling knew exactly where she was going with the books- that much is clear when you return to the very first chapter of Philosophers stone. But Warner Brothers were always working in the dark and so the level of post-deathly hallows irony in the films is significantly less than the sub-text found in the books. Still Deathly Hallows part 2 is certainly one of the best films and if you don’t know the plot- there is one character you should definitely keep an eye on.
Whether you’re a fan of the books or a miserable cynic, there is surely something intriguing about the scale of this saga and it certainly will not end with the final movie. J.K Rowling has already announced she has written 18,000 new words for her new social networking website Pottermore which is set to launch in October while Warner brothers have announced they will be offering public tours of the Harry Potter sets, there are also plans to release 3 disk “ultimate editions” of the films on Blu-ray and Dvd.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 is showing at Phoenix Square from Friday 26th August.