Saying Farewell to Harry

Posted 11/18/2010 by Amy Kristen in Labels: , , , ,

The books defined a generation. Not just any generation, either: OURS. We are the group of 20-somethings who grew up with the wondrous Boy Who Lived. We adopted the orphan protagonist into our homes and into our hearts, and year by year, book by book, we grew up with him. Harry Potter was the best friend we all longed for, consciously or not; he taught us about courage, love, and how to overcome the many heartbreaks that speckle the twisty path to becoming an adult. He also provided comfort and encouragement when our days seemed most dark – after all, no matter how difficult our journey through adolescence may have been, at least we weren’t being hunted by a murderous evil Dark Lord, as well.

The seventh and final book in J.K. Rowling’s ubiquitous series,
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, was released on July 21, 2007. I was 19 years old. As I sobbed my way through the final pages, I felt the dawning realization that my childhood was ending, with the resolution of an epic story I had been following faithfully for almost a decade. It was time for Harry to move on and begin a new journey; it was time for him to accept his new role in society as an adult. It was also my turn to do the same, even though I was certain I was not yet fully prepared. But if Harry could do it, well, damnit, so could I, though I certainly lacked his talent in broomstick flying.

Three and a half years later, Harry has returned to check in on us. At least, that’s how it feels. Of course, the latest installment in the
Harry Potter movie franchise is really just the next stage in Warner Bros.’ multi-million dollar plan to milk our country’s HP-fever for all it’s worth, but while the previous films seemed to suck out most of the magical wonder of Harry’s world as if they were made by Dementors (I’m looking at you, Chris Columbus), I would define Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 as the Potter film we superfans have all been waiting for.

The books grew darker as Harry grew older, and
Part 1 is definitely aimed at a mature movie-going audience. It’s raw, gritty, and painfully beautiful. This is the first Harry Potter movie I would describe as an excellent film, Potterness aside, because all the elements of filmmaking come together in a unique combination that keeps viewers on the edge of simultaneously experiencing ten different varieties of emotions for a well-paced 2 1/2 hours. The searing cinematography and more fully realized acting performances pay their due homage to the sanctity of Harry’s world, and the film follows the book's plot closely, a luxury afforded by the fact that the movie was rightfully split into two parts. The movie seems to look out at the eager faces of the audience and bow to them, humbly, while gesturing grandly at the intangible, esteemed force that is Harry Potter. It’s a force that’s detectable from the very opening of the film, when the theater inevitably erupts in a round of rousing cheers as the Harry Potter logo floats to the center of the screen.

Harry Potter has come to symbolize so much more than just a handful of well-crafted young adult novels and some rather erratic films about a boy wizard. Harry Potter is now an indisputable part of our culture, and, more specifically, he embodies the spirit of Generation Y. Our generation is independent, fearless, intelligent, demanding, and restless, reflecting the mannerisms of Rowling’s unsettled but brave protagonist.

While most members of Gen Y aren’t quite certain where our lives are going to take us, it helps to keep in mind this quote from Harry’s ever-wise and faithful mentor, Albus Dumbledore:
“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

Harry, I would like you to know that while I am still frequently frightened by the perilous unknowns that await me in the Land of Adulthood, I am making it through just fine, even without a wand. Thank you for being such a big part of my life. I appreciate you stopping by.

-- Amy Kristen

1 comment(s) to... “Saying Farewell to Harry”


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