(Contains major spoilers! If this is a problem, go read the books and watch the films then come back!)
This year is the year I finally convinced my mum to read all the Harry Potter books! She is an avid reader and it has taken me more than ten years to convince her. She read them in a week. And yes, she loved them. But that isn’t the point, just a little anecdote for you! Anyway we re-watched the films, her having now read the books, and as usual when we hit the final two films I began my rant. However, this time she was able to understand why I was yelling at the film rather than just thinking I was a lunatic. We then discussed the inadequacies of the adaptation and why I was so disappointed. So, I thought I would share with you all, some of my grievances.
To begin with, I dislike all of the films. I dislike most adaptations in general! The first two are bearable. The third makes me too angry to write about. The fourth one simply jumped off a cliff. The fifth one, I guess, follows the story fairly well, I’ll allow it, even if Hermione spent the entire time trying to hypnotise me with her eyebrows (it’s quite a talent of hers…it’s more difficult than you think to keep your eyebrows moving like that while you talk! Try it, you’ll see). The sixth one I actually enjoyed but only if I pretend it’s not a Harry Potter film, as a stand alone, it made me laugh, it was enjoyable. As a film to set up the final instalments, well, it really didn’t do that now did it.
So, onto the Deathly Hallows…
Let us start with the fact that Dumbledore gave Harry no help in the previous film. By help I mean, he had absolutely no idea what the other Horcruxes were or where to find them as Dumbledore accidentally forgot to show Harry the memories that explain this. Going into the seventh book, Harry is aware that the other objects may be Hogwarts artefacts (is that the right way to describe them!?) and that Voldemort was likely to have hidden them in places that were important to him. So how, you might ask, do they get over this little road bump in the films. Well…Harry develops spidey senses and is able to feel them or hear them or whatever it is he does (they speak to him I guess). So Harry is now a superhero, nice one! Thanks to these spidey senses Harry could have literally found the Horcruxes with his eyes closed. Of course, these would have been handy in the RIDICULOUS scene in the Half Blood Prince when Ginny hides Harry’s potions book. If only they had developed already he would have felt the presence of the Horcrux in the room of requirement and we would happily be one down! I’ll ignore the fact that I’m angry that they left out him actually having diadem in his hands in the sixth book, but whatever, I digress.
Next let’s discuss Voldemort and his, ahem, death. One of my favourite parts of the book is the final confrontation, the final showdown, in front of everyone, where Harry unravels everything for us. He DOES NOT have a fight with him, they DO NOT topple off the tower together in some weird dance. Now, to me, the point of Harry’s ability to defeat Voldemort was not that he was a stronger wizard. Harry is seventeen…come on. A one on one fight between the two of them, I believe, would have resulted in Harry being dead (not a very good ending). It is not Harry’s magical ability that is able to defeat Voldemort, it is far more than that…the films discard this entirely. More than that, is the way that Voldemort dies. Why does he turn to ash and float away? What is this? Voldemort, at the end of the day, is just a man. A really evil man I’ll grant you, but a man nonetheless. For me, this unreal death takes away the obvious similarities between him and Harry.
I’ll use a new paragraph for this.
What I got from the books, and you may disagree, but for me, the two of them are living parallel lives, defined by their choices. Both of them were orphans and grew up not really knowing love and unaware that they were wizards. They both found a home in Hogwarts, a place where they finally fitted in. However, Voldemort chooses a dark path (obviously) and Harry chooses a moral path. Their choices define them, Harry’s ability to beat him, as Dumbledore so often points out, is love. By giving Voldemort this weird, monster death, makes us forget that he was human. A human that, because of his inability to love or understand it, chose the wrong path. He died, not as this evil persona he had created for himself, but as a man. A man because Harry had destroyed the Horcruxes, rendering him a simple mortal. Point missed!
The last thing I will discuss, although there are far more that I could explore, is the Deathly Hallows themselves. Did anyone else notice how they skimmed over the hallows completely? They should have renamed the films Harry Potter and the Horcruxes, because they made no real attempt to integrate the Hallows into the films. Yes, there was a very pretty little animation that I rather enjoyed, detailing the tale of the three brothers. And what did Harry take from that…the Elder Wand. The exact opposite of what he was supposed to do and, again, what separates Harry from Voldemort. You’re not even told that Harry has the real cloak of invisibility! (Although yes, there was a lovely, heartwarming scene where he uses the resurrection stone). You’re not aware that he could very well have had all of the Hallows in his possession at one point and that he could have been the master of death but that he chose not to! Instead, what we really know about, is the wand. And in these films, for some reason, the wand becomes the most important Hallow…is it me or was that not the point?! Harry doesn’t make the choice between Hallows and Horcruxes in the films. Voldemort, we assume, is unaware of the quest for the Hallows, he sees only power in the wand and that is what he hunts. Is it me, or does Harry pretty much do the same damn thing? It may as well have been Harry Potter and Frigging Elder Wand. There is so much emphasis on the wand that I think they missed the whole moral of the story. They miss out the real debate over which Hallow is the least selfish, which is the one you would really choose if you were honest? Would you seek power above all else? And what does he do in the end…he just snaps the bloody thing in half!
It is their choices that separate them. It is Harry’s humanity, his understanding, his ability to love, THAT is the reason that he is able to beat Voldemort. NOT THE WAND (although, admittedly, the wand does play quite a big part in the end). Maybe I misinterpreted the books entirely, hey, it’s only my opinion after all! I just think they missed out the best and most truthful parts of the book. J K Rowling writes an honest description of what it is to be human and how easy it is for two people, set on the same path, to veer in different directions.
And that is my rant for you, I’m going to go and get angry at something else now…please feel free to air any of your own grievances in the comments (I’m assuming you have them), I would love to hear them! If you even made it far enough to read this…
‘It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.’ – Albus Dumbledore