It was probably a terrible idea for me to see the midnight showing this morning. That left me having to deal with the finality of the whole thing on not enough sleep. And let me tell you this in confidence, internet: I’ve cried about the end of Harry Potter on more than one occasion today.

 

Maybe I’ll be less upset once I’m well-rested, but I doubt it. Hanging up my Gryffindor scarf for the last time was harder than I thought it would be. I’ve been so excited about the film news that I managed to avoid thinking about this part. The sucky part. The ‘it’s all over and there’s nothing left for me at ALL’ part.  I wasn’t prepared for the sad and I’m really surprised by it. *sniffle*

 

Sad!
Here I am in my car today. Feeling sad.

 

HOWEVER! The sad will not preclude me from telling you about my final Harry Potter fan experience in all its fabulousness. It really was wonderful! My sister (Darth Sweetums) and I decided like crazy people to not only go to the midnight showing of Deathly Hallows Part 2, but to also get a ticket with the crowd that would watch Deathly Hallows Part 1. DOUBLE FEATURE! And I’m here to say that it was the best idea we’ve ever had for two reasons:

 

Reason 1:  I haven’t been able to watch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 without desperately wishing that I could immediately follow it up with Part 2. I remember feeling like that last year when we first saw it. So what better way to see Part 2 for the first time than to watch Part 1 with it in the same theater in the same seats accompanied by the same group of crazies for both films? There IS no better way! I was wonderful to see them back to back. They were made to be watched that way.

 

Reason 2: THIS is the best reason. Our particular auditorium probably held 250-300 people. We were the chosen few who saw the fine print and realized that we could see the double feature instead of just waiting for the midnight showings. THANK GOODNESS. There were probably 15 midnight showings at the theater we went to and the lines for those were the most horrendous things I’ve ever seen.

 

HP LINE!
 This picture is just to show how WIDE the line was. The length was another story.

 

camped out!
These cuties camped out to get prime spots at the front of the line.
 
 

There were two of these lines filled with people who camped out. People in costume. People who had been there for more than 30 hours. I am so SO glad that we weren’t in these lines. Our double feature folks got to settle into the theater a good three hours earlier (as our movie was beginning sooner) and there were just not as many of us. Whew!

 

That being said, the whole experience was one I’ll never forget. The sheer size of the crowd. The costumes. The discounted concessions! Everyone was so excited to be a part of it and even more excited to finally see this movie! 

Death eaters!
My favorite costumes of the evening.
 
 

 But after all that waiting, I think that all 5 gazillion of us at that theater will agree that the movie was worth it.

 

(Read more at your own risk! Spoilers ahead!!)

 

The filmmakers made some REALLY excellent choices. Here are my favorites, in no particular order:

 

1. They mostly omitted the crazy complicated Dumbledore backstory with his sister and the Muggles and her insanity and his friendship with Grindewald, etc. Sure, that’s super interesting stuff to learn about Dumbledore, but it’s just not very cinematic. I think it would have bogged the movie down like crazy, so I’m glad they glossed over most of it.

 

2.  They didn’t have Voldemort running all over the place to check on the Horcruxes. Instead they had a much more efficient moment every time the trio destroyed a Horcrux; Voldemort felt it, got weaker, and the audience didn’t lose interest. And, frankly, this makes Voldemort look WAY less stupid than he did in the book.

 

3. They re-shot the epilogue. OH MY GOSH THEY RE-SHOT THE EPILOGUE! Those of you who are insane spoiler watchers (like me) probably saw the leaked photos of the first time they shot the epilogue more than a year ago. Instead of looking like they were 36 (as they should have) the gang looked more like they were 66. Ron was fat and grayly balding. Harry had major jowls and streaks, and Hermione!! Don’t even get me started!! 

 

Here they are in the old version of the epilogue. Ew.
 

 

Luckily, everyone realized that this looked terrible. They brought the cast back for a re-shoot in December and it ended up looking just right. And yes, of course I bawled.

 

4. They cut to the chase. (Not that there was supposed to be a chase. More on that in a minute.)  While there is plenty to be truly sad about in this film, they didn’t choose to dwell on it. I felt a twinge when Fred, Lupin and Tonks were treated in such a businesslike manner, but I think it was for the best. (I LOVE YOU ALL!)

 

5. However, they did take time where it mattered, and where it mattered the most in this movie was Snape’s redemption story.  This was beautifully handled by the screen writers and masterfully played by Alan Rickman.  I was surprised at how moving it was. They may have even skimped on the sentimentality elsewhere just so they could pour it all into these scenes, like when  Snape discovers Lily’s dead body, as he begs Dumbledore to protect her, or when he admits his continuing love for her after all these years. It was wonderfully done and I appreciate that it wasn’t rushed or cheapened in any way.

 

6. For me, the defining moment of this movie was a scene that didn’t happen in the book; Hermione, on finding out that Harry is a Horcrux and must therefore be killed, starts to cry and sweetly says “I’ll go with you” while Ron looks on, speechless with grief. Hermione then hugs Harry and the three of them look at each other for a long minute, saying their silent goodbyes. Just thinking about it completely reduces me to mush, but it is such a perfect moment for these three actors and their characters.

 

 

 

I’ve never appreciated them more than I did right then and I think this little scene might be the most meaningful for me out of  all eight films.

 

All of this being said, the movie did falter in spots. There was that ridiculous sequence that consisted of Voldemort chasing Harry around the castle as if they wanted to give us all one final tour. Ugh. Don’t even get me started. (Wasn’t Voldemort weakened by then? Wasn’t Harry supposed to be no match for him in a duel EVER? UGH!!) 

 

“Why are we shooting this silly sequence??”
 

 

There was also a marked lack of humor in some places where I would have liked to have seen it. The book had so much humor even amongst the grief (Professor Trelawney and her crystal balls, Weasley family fun, etc.) and I missed it. 

 

But all in all it was a wonderful ending to ten great years of film making. I didn’t cry during the actual film as much as I expected to, as I was so mesmerized by the visuals and the performances.  However, I definitely had to pull out a brand new kleenex as soon as those credits started to roll.  Just the thought of it being the end was enough to set me to sniffling.

 

Sad as it is that Harry Potter is over, I think I’m just grateful that I got to be a part of it all.  I express my heartfelt thanks to J.K. Rowling. These past 14 years have been so much fun!