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Was Harry Potter Worth the Wait?

— by ALLISON HIGGINBOTHAM —

In 2000, I read my first “Harry Potter” book. For the past 11 years, I have been waiting … waiting for the next book to come out, waiting for the movies to come out. I have spent over half my life with Harry, Ron, and Hermione keeping me company. I’m only a few months younger than Emma Watson, who plays Hermione, and when the seventh and final book was released, Harry and I were the same age.

To say I grew up with the “Harry Potter” franchise is an understatement; “Harry Potter” helped me grow up. Even though I couldn’t have been more excited when I went to see the final film, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2,” there was also a feeling of dread when I realized that it was the last time I would be going on an adventure with Harry and friends.

Last year, I wrote an article titled “Is Harry Potter Worth the Wait.” It was, in part, a response to rumors that a set fire would delay the release dates for “The Deathly Hallows.” I vented some frustration at the delay of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” and took a look at whether the final book really needed to be split up into two movies. In the end, I decided that I was tired of waiting for “Harry Potter” to conclude.

Now, after seeing the final installment of the epic series, I asked myself “was it worth it?”

Part of me never wanted “Harry Potter” to end. The series is intricately linked with my childhood. As ridiculous as it sounds, a part of me felt like that once “Harry Potter” ended I had to become an adult. Another part of me was ready to move on. After all, I had read all of the novels (more than once, of course) and since the movies didn’t waver too far from the books, the movies were just a visual rehash. Of course, it was interesting to see the visualization and watch how the medium of film could retell J.K. Rowling’s words.

So, was “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” worth the wait? I feel like I have to break the question down.

Was it worth the wait to have two movies? No, I don’t feel that it was. I would have preferred one final film that was about three to three and a half hours long over two films that were two and a half hours long each. In both parts of “The Deathly Hallows,” I felt like there was too much aimlessness. The most anticipated scenes (though perhaps not the most relevant), like the Battle of Hogwarts, ended up falling flat having to be padded around some rather filler stuff. Overall, the pacing felt strained in the two films. I didn’t even feel like with the two movies the emotional impact was more than it would have been with a single film. I did not need two films to care that Fred had died any more than I would have with one film. We have been with these characters since the beginning, their loss is felt either way.

Was the entire film franchise worth the wait? Unequivocally yes. You’ll be hard pressed to find anyone who thinks that “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s/Philosopher’s Stone” was the best film out of the lot. As the films progressed, the styles changed and, for the most part, got better. Allowing new directors to direct the films brought “Harry Potter” to a more creative place. While I grew with the book series, it was easy to see the growth in the movie series. Whereas it might feel silly to call “The Sorcerer’s/Philosopher’s Stone” cinematic, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” can definitely be called a cinematic achievement. I can’t give a film that started off with a scrawny kid who lived in a cupboard higher praise than that. The books created a magical world and the movies showed that films can be magical.

Will I miss “Harry Potter”? More than I can put into words. Harry guided me through life and for that I couldn’t be more grateful to everybody who helped make the magical world of Hogwarts possible.

. . .

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