WARNING: BOOK AND MOVIE SPOILERS AHEAD!
I watched Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 today.
Throughout the whole movie, I felt like something was ending, something BIG. Later I said to my mum that it didn’t just feel like something had ended. It felt more like a part of ME had ended as well.
I wouldn’t say that any other piece of art has ever quite made this lasting impression in my life. If my life has been a beach walk, the Harry Potter books would be seven footprints behind me, the ones that will never be washed away by the tide. The books have always been –and will always remain- a safe haven. Just like Hogwarts, they’re always there, should I ever need to escape to a familiar and safe place. And the movie I saw today concluded this journey.
Throughout this journey, I have cried and shouted at the books and movies whenever I had felt that someone had cheated me out of something. I protested when they didn’t make a good scene out of Snape’s Worst Nightmare in the Order of the Phoenix. I got mad at the way they tossed Remus and Tonks’ big scene where they profess their feelings at the end of Half-Blood Prince. I even got mad at Rowling herself when she didn’t give my favorite character of the ENTIRE SERIES the courtesy of a decent death scene. Dumbledore, Sirius, and Snape had theirs. So why didn’t Remus Lupin?
So it’s always been a rollercoaster for me: most of the time I loved the whole experience, but sometimes I hated it as well. I let those disappointments bottle up inside because it’s not a big deal, and after all, nobody else complained. But first things first…
What I liked about the second part of Deathly Hallows was almost everything. I cried for the most part because it was not only sad, but emotional as well. End of an era and all.
I cried when Fred died. I cried when I saw Hogwarts falling apart, and everyone fighting to survive. I cried when Remus and Tonks lay down, all frozen and gone. I even choked up when the Snape/Lily scenes rolled, and I got as emotional as the book scene had made me. (You do have your mother’s eyes… Look at me!) Finally, I cried when Harry died, because it didn’t feel like a temporary death. I sat there in the cinema thinking, ‘What if he had died in the books? What then?’ So naturally, I held back the hysterical crying for later because I didn’t want to bother the only other person in the cinema.
What did make a negative impression on me wasn’t the fact that some scenes were rushed or the fact that some transitions were missing. It wasn’t even the fact that I’d decided to drag my mum, who kept asking me who everyone was and what they were doing every 5 minutes. And I didn’t mind the completely different scenes. After all, it’s a movie; it’s supposed to be more visually impressive.
What really stunted my excitement was the scene where Harry kills Voldemort.
I may be alone in this. Most people don’t even remember the part I will refer to in a second. The first time I read the book, I missed the part about how one can save their soul from ending up the way Voldemort’s does eventually. And because it was linked to that final battle scene, I had to go back and read it again. When it all clicked, I was stunned. Speechless. I had never in a million years expected to read something as meaningful and heart-wrenching as this… But first, the explanation:
Harry, Ron, and Hermione are talking about Tom Riddle and his horcruxes:
“Isn’t there any way of putting yourself back together?” Ron asked.
“Yes,” said Hermione with a hollow smile, “but it would be excruciatingly painful.”
“Why? How do you do it?” asked Harry.
“Remorse,” said Hermione. “You’ve got to really feel what you’ve done. There’s a footnote. Apparently the pain of it can destroy you. I can’t see Voldemort attempting it somehow, can you?”
“No,” said Ron before Harry could answer.
--Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, p. 103*, Am. ed., 2007.
Suffice it to say that I had gone back to fish out this gem because I was enthralled with something Harry said to Voldemort just before it was all over, while they were still circling each other:
“Dumbledore’s last plan went wrong, Harry Potter!”
“Yeah, it did,” said Harry. “You’re right. But before you try to kill me, I’d advise you to think about what you’ve done… Think, and try for some remorse, Riddle…”
“What is this?”
Of all the things that Harry had said to him, beyond any revelation or taunt, nothing had shocked Voldemort like this. Harry saw his pupils contract to thin slits, saw the skin around his eyes whiten.
“It’s your one last chance,” said Harry, “it’s all you’ve got left… I’ve seen what you’ll be otherwise… Be a man… try… Try for some remorse…”
--Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, p.741*.
Obviously, it wasn’t in the movie at all.
Okay, maybe it’s a highly subjective scene and not everyone got what I did from it. However, Rowling herself stopped and said ‘nothing had shocked Voldemort like this’. Of course nothing did. Can you imagine someone actually feeling pity for Lord Voldemort? If it were you, would you care about what happens to him? Would you urge this man who had taken so many innocent lives and not blinked to try for remorse? Am I the only one who’s hearing how ridiculous that sounds? And yet, our hero did just that. He said the one thing nobody, and I mean nobody, expected to read at that precise moment of clarity in the book.
Try for some remorse.
You see? All of those moments of honor and good and bravery in Harry’s life suddenly summarized into one sentence. Of an entire manuscript. To me, that line held everything together. It was the perfect moment, and perhaps only I perceived it as such. That’s okay.
What’s not okay was to skip it in the movie. I am aware of the need to cut dispensable scenes or information, and I have never complained… out loud. But this time is different. It would have taken no more than 10 minutes to include it. By failing to do so, it is my belief that they cut the power source of the series out of the movies, and served a dismembered story to the audiences. I sincerely apologize if this is offending to anyone, and I certainly don’t want to be a party pooper, so I’ll say it again: maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m overreacting.
But when I was watching that final battle I was a mess: crying, popcorn everywhere… So I waited for my catharsis, the end which would conclude MY journey into the world of the boy wizard. Then suddenly, abruptly, I was stripped of this catharsis. The line never came. So I’ll say it here yet again, just to reassure myself that I’ll always have it in my book at least… and now on my blog:
“Be a man… try… Try for some remorse.”
(To quote Dumbledore, You wonderful boy. You brave, brave man.)
“Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.”
-J.K. Rowling, 2011.
*All rights belong to J.K. Rowling.
3000 people camping in the rain for 5 nights. Wow.
*All rights belong to J.K. Rowling.