Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two is out Friday, and its many dedicated fans are exhibiting unbridled enthusiasm about the sure-to-be epic finale. I've been a Harry Potter fan for the majority of my nearly 21 years (I started reading J.K. Rowling's series in the third grade), but I can't say I'm sad to see the end come. All good stories must end, after all…
That being said, it's always fun to reminisce about Harry. So here's a look at some of the biggest moments in the books and how they were translated (for better or for worse) to the big screen. In chronological order:
Shrieking Shack showdown
The Prisoner of Azkaban is my favorite book and least-favorite movie of the series. Rowling dedicates nearly three chapters to a series of revelations, including Sirius Black's innocence, Peter Pettigrew's guilt, Professor's Lupin's werewolf status and the whole back story of the Marauder's Map. In the movie, this is boiled down to a mere 7 or 8 minutes, with A TON of information left out. A prime example of why the books are almost always better.
Sirius is dead
Order of the Phoenix is my other favorite, but unlike Azkaban, the filmmakers did a pretty good job with it. Although they cut a lot of the battle scene in the Ministry of Magic, the moment that Sirius is killed by Bellatrix Lestrange packs an emotional wallop in both the book and the film. It's especially heartbreaking when you know that it didn't have to happen at all. If only Harry had been quicker to open Sirius' gift — a two-way mirror through which they could communicate — he would still have his godfather.
Harry loses his shit
This one was completely murdered in the Phoenix film. After the mayhem at the Ministry of Magic — and particularly Sirius' death — Harry is distraught and trashes some of Dumbledore's things while they discuss the prophecy. Harry is having difficulty coping with his godfather's death, as well as accepting the fact that he's going to have to kill Voldemort. It's deep character development, and the pair have a very important, revealing discussion, so naturally the filmmakers cut it down to just the bare essentials, in the process losing all the emotional heft of the moment.
Dumbledore vs. The Death Eaters
I have to admit that when I finished The Half-Blood Prince — at 3 a.m., a few days after it was released — I called my best friend and left a hysterical message on her voicemail. By the wand of Snape, Dumbledore had fallen to his death. It was unfathomable. I wish I could say that the film affected me as much, but it didn't. The filmmakers changed several aspects surrounding Dumbledore's death (and the end of the novel in general), but one change was particularly galling. In the book, Dumbledore charmed Harry so that he's paralyzed beneath his invisibility cloak. He knew (as did all of the readers) that Harry would never just sit back and watch Dumbledore face a group of Death Eaters alone, especially in a weakened state. Harry would also never trust Snape, no matter what Dumbledore said. In the film, however, Harry listens to Dumbledore and just stands back in the shadows.
Deathly Hallows Part 2: It's the little things
The main thing I hope to see in the Potter finale is Neville being a bamf. I know that's a really minor aspect of the book (he doesn't appear until the very end), but if he isn't featured in some way I will be upset. Another small detail I hope to see in the final battle scenes is Molly Weasley battling Bellatrix Lestrange. If you've read the book, you can't forget Molly screaming, "NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU BITCH!" It's truly unexpected, unforgettable and amazing. I'm not saying I'll pan the entire film if these things aren't included but ... yeah, actually, I might.
Movie, Part 1:
Movie, Part 2: TBD