Everyone has that one big cultural touchstone they missed out on. I have friends who shrugged off Pokemon, or Star Wars, or the Marvel Movies. They just never got on the train with everybody else and now they feel weird and out of the loop whenever those things come up in conversation. My pop cultural blindspot is Harry Potter. But not for any longer. To celebrate the release of the next chapter in the Harry Potter canon, I have decided to go back and watch all the Harry Potter films, none of which I have seen before. I’m hoping that by the end of this series, I’ll be magically changed into a fan of this series. And right now, that’s looking pretty likely.
This week, we’re capping this whole thing off with the grand finale and I look back on the series as a whole and reflect on my thoughts. Have I officially come around on the series or am I still not really a fan. Let’s find out together.
Holy hell! 2 hours and 10 minutes! Aw babe, you shouldn’t have. What a nice going away present!
We open up with a nice little previously on thing that recaps the end of the last movie. Essentially, Voldemort has the big scary bad evil wand of ultimate murder power and he’s gonna kill e’rybody. And now we begin the next exciting installment of the magic boy chronicles.
But the movie actually starts for real on a shot of–
I… I’m sorry. Look, I really got to like Dobby in the last movie and his death affected me, but you can’t open a movie on the words “Here Lies Dobby”and not expect me to piss my pants laughing. It’s just not going to happen and quite frankly it was unreasonable of you to expect otherwise.
Harry and co. (Yay, Ron) (Yay, Hermione) talk to Griphook the goblin, who informs them that Beatrix LeStrange may in fact have one of the Horcruxes hidden away in a vault in Gringotts Bank. Before they depart to look for it, they talk to wand-expert Ollivander, who tells him that Draco’s wand has switched allegiances from Draco to Harry because it is a cheap harlot. He also implies that wands have thoughts and feelings and are sentient beings, which makes something that happens at the end of the movie kinda horrifying.
So Griphook promises to take them into Gringotts to get the Horcrux in exchange for the Sword of Gryffindor which seems like a bad trade. They really shouldn’t be getting rid of the Horcrux destroying good luck charm that sword has been for them but whatever.
In Gringotts, the team get the Horcrux but are betrayed by Griphook and have to escape in the most metal way possible.
Look, I wasn’t gonna say anything when they were just hook-nosed banking goblins, but now that they’re traitorous hook-nosed money goblins, my Jewish side feels vaguely offended. Like, cool it with the visual stereotyping, ok George Lucas?
So while Harry and company are ridin’ a dragon, I thought I’d ask about something that confuses me.
So there are three Deathly Hallows, right? The Elder Wand, the rock, and… the invisibility cloak. So is the invisibility cloak Harry’s invisibility cloak? Because if so, why hasn’t everyone who’s seen Harry’s cloak totally flipped their shit that this teenager has one of the deathly fuckin’ hallows. And if Harry’s cloak ISN’T the Hallow, and there are other non-hallow invisibility cloaks, then why the fuck is the Hallow-cloak special? What makes it better than all the normal ones? Is it lemony fresh?
Anyhoozles, now we return to our regularly scheduled programming.
So Snape’s in charge of Hogwarts now and has come out expressly banning any students from helping Harry, should he show up. Harry and Professor McGoneGirl confront Snape, who flees and Hogwarts gears up for a full on wizard war. Aw hell yeah! Let’s do some motherfucking wizard fighting! I’m so psyched!
And this fight seems to be a fun one, set up with the students attempting to hold Hogwarts while enemies swarm and seep in from all sides. This shit is like a wizarding version of the end of Punisher Born and I am so friggin’ psyched for that I can’t believe it.
Harry and pals destroy some more Horcruxes and fight with Malfoy a bit before Voldemort finally begins his attack. Shit goes down hardcore, people die, much of the school is destroyed, it is legitimate warfare .
Harry has one of his Voldemort brain blasts and realizes that the final Horcrux is Voldemort’s snake, who I know has a name, but fuck you it’s a snake. I’m not going to call it by its dumb snake name.
Voldemort speaks to the entire assembled school and his army and tells everyone to stand down. He also speaks specifically to Harry, essentially giving him the evil villain version of “meet me by the tetherball court at 3:30 sharp!”
Team Potter get back to the school where they witness Voldemort executing Snape in order to win the trust of the Elder Wand. Look, I know that we set up the whole, “the wand choses the wizard” thing a long time ago, but this sudden focus on wand trust and alliegence feels like forced bullshit to justify a plot point later in this movie. But Snape is killed by Voldey’s snakey-snake before Voldemort bails to go kill more child magicians.
Harry confronts Snape, who gives him a vial of memories so that Harry can see his reasoning for his actions. We also learn that several have been killed in the battle, including Fred, who was one of my favorites and Lupin, who is at least now reunited in heaven with his boyfriend Sirius Black I WILL HEAR NO OBJECTIONS TO THIS STATEMENT.
Viewing Snape’s memories, we learn that he grew up as a young Johnny Depp character before meeting the girl of his dreams, Lily whatever-her-last-name-was-before-it-got-changed-to-Potter.
Snape loved Lily and was crushed when she fell for all-around douchenozzle (according to these movies, at least) James Potter. We also learn that Snape has actually been a double agent this whole time!!!
Yeah, apparently everything he did, including kill Dumbledore, was done under Dumbledore’s exact orders so that he could get closer to Voldemort to help save everyone when the time came. Y’know Dumbles, you COULD have come up with a plan that didn’t require you, the most powerful wizard in the world, to die, but I guess hindsight is 20/20.
Finally, Harry learns that the snake isn’t actually the final Horcrux. No, turns out Harry himself is a Horcrux, created accidentally when Voldey killed the Potters. And so, for Harry to kill Voldemort once and for all, he must himself die. Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiit.
Ah well, but now that we’re done with the info dump, it’s snake murderin’ time! Well, for the other characters. for Harry, it’s assisted suicide time. He talks to the ghosts of his loved ones about what it’s like to die and eventually surrenders himself to Voldemort. Voldemort, touched, kills the shit out of him. End of movie.
Naw, just fuckin’ with you. Harry wakes up in an etherial train station, where he meets an old friend.
Instead of yelling “what the fuck, man? You couldn’t have let me in on the whole ‘I’m gonna die but its all part of the plan’ thing, you elderly fuckstick?” Harry instead talks to Dumbles about the nature of death. Dumbles then gestures under one of the ghost train benches where we see–
Was not expecting to see a train station fetus baby in this movie, much less a scabby evil train station fetus baby.
So as it turns out, the Horcrux part of Harry has been destroyed leaving only the snake holding Voldemort in this mortal plane.
Back in the real world, Harry is dead and Hogwarts is fucked. Man, sure would be nice if those two other magical schools from Goblet of Fire could show up and lend a hand right about now huh? Guess they had something better to do.
Voldemort storms Hogwarts to, essentially, gloat. Unfortunately, Voldemort didn’t count on one thing. Neville motherfucking Longbottom, badass at large. Neville delivers the best rousing monologue ever that inspires the rest of the students to stand tall and kick some ass. But even more fortunately for them, Harry isn’t dead! We get a bigass fight scene where some shit goes down but guess who comes through when they all need it most?
Neville motherfucking Longbottom.
Huh. How did that get there?
Anyway. Neville murders that snake like he was a born snake murderer, cementing himself as the Wedge Antilles of the Harry Potter universe. Bellatrix is killed and Harry and Voldemort now duel for the final battle. In the end, Voldey’s curse rebounds and our old pal dies in one of the most horrifying way possible.
God, that’s gotta be hazardous, right? Like, even if there wasn’t an evil magic component to this, that’s still human remains that are now airborne particulates, right? Like, Everyone at Hogwarts is now breathing that shit in.
At the VERY LEAST, it must taste like shit getting Voldemort bits in your mouth. Probably sticks to your clothes. And if it’s anything like glitter, you’re gonna be finding that crap on you for days. Just seems like a real nightmare.
And now for the wrap up. Neville and Luna look like they’re gonna get together which makes my heart so happy, Hogwarts is about to undergo repairs, and Harry has possession of the Elder Wand. Which he breaks.
Nineteen years later, Harry and Ginny are readying to send their first child off to Hogwarts for the first time. At the station, they run into Ron and Hermione and Malfoy who are all sending their kids off as well. I like how everyone apparently coordinated having children so their kids would all be exactly the same age but whatever.
Also, we learn that Harry’s son’s name is Albus Severus Potter which FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK YOOOOOOOOOOU HARRY.
Like, you don’t name a kid Albus, what the shit’s wrong with you? That’s so mean. He is gonna get his shit kicked in every day at lunch time. Motherfucker’s gonna wind up a Hufflepuff with a dumbs name like Albus. If you wanted to name him after a fallen friend, you know what you should have called him? Sirius Potter. That’s a fucking name.
But so anyway, Harry, Ron and Hermione watch as their kids go off to Hogwarts for the first time. Their journey is done, but a new one seems to be just beginning…
I really liked this one. It’s not my overall favorite but it serves as a really solid end to the series and its incredibly fun to watch. This one was fist-pumping as hell and serves as a fun fireworks show for everyone who’s been here for seven previous movies.
Ton of fun, feels more structurally sound than part one, a good watch.
But we’re not done here because now it’s time for…
FINAL FINAL THOUGHTS:
That’s right, I’m finally done with the Harry Potter series. So, what did I think?
I liked it.
I’m not gonna say I’m a giant fan but I had a great time with these movies and am glad I watched them. I like being in on this major cultural touchstone finally. The series is definitely beloved for a number of really solid reasons and it serves as a wonderful long-spanning odyssey with a ton of memorable and fun characters and moments. There are totally things I didn’t like but overall, really fantastic film series.
My definitive ranking of the Harry Potter movies from best to worst and if you disagree then you are totes wrong:
Prisoner of Azkaban
Order of the Phoenix
Deathly Hallows Part 2
Chamber of Secrets
Deathly Hallows Part 1
Goblet of Fire
And there you have it, my big ridiculous Harry Potter retrospective is finally over. I had fun, I hope you did too. If you haven’t gotten a chance to check out the thousands and thousands of words I’ve written about these movies, just click on that tag at the bottom that says “Hogwarts and All” and have fun reading.
But in closing I have to say that if you, like me, somehow have never seen these movies, I quite honestly ask you to check ’em out. They are, in a word, magical.
And that’s it for Hogwarts and All. I’m gonna take a month off of weekend reviews to recover from this undertaking but when I return, we’ll be looking at another long series of fantasy movies everyone loves that I’ve never seen.
When we come back, it’ll be time for me to grow Bored of the Rings…