The following analysis was written under the assumption, that I am 100% right and if you disagree you are wrong and clearly have no idea what you’re talking about.
Translation: this is a heavily biased, unfair, one sided fanboy rant that assumes that everybody hates book 7 and that Speed Racer is of the same artistic quality as 2001: A Space Odyssey.
I did not enjoy Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows as a book and since I am a whiny biased bastard, I can’t phrase a plausible argument against Deathly Hallows that would equal the epic work of Daniel Hemmens, so go there, you’ll have a better time, then you’ll have reading this wall of text.
This article is me coming to terms with Deathly Hallows and getting really excited for the last Potter movie, while watching Harry Potter an
d the Order of the Phoenix, because even though I more or less despise the book, I am 90% certain that the movie will be great and here are my 12 points why (13 if you count Emma Watson’s dress):
Probably my biggest gripe with Deathly Hallows was the fact that it tried to turn Harry Potter into something that it never was – namely the Lord of the Rings.
We have one Voldemort-soulpiece to rule them all, we have a fair share of sitting around doing nothing, we have Ron turning into Gollum, the sword of the King (I know it’s inspired by King Arthur, but still), the epic siege of the castle…
It was not really gripping to read about Harry arguing that they had no plan at all, but cinematically speaking the images will be beautiful, since pictures can always enhance the loneliness that had to be put into the book by letting them repeat over and over again how they had no plan.
The movies except for some small moments, never managed to really hit the feeling of going to Hogwarts school for me and became more interesting when the story shifted towards Voldemort with the school year just as a rough outline for the story.
Thematically the movies grew stronger, the books weaker. When reading Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince I could not help imagine how great the sequence in the cave at the end would look on the silver screen and with Deathly Hallows, it really seemed like the movies really started to influence Rowling’s writing style, inserting imagery and plotlines, more in tune with an epic fantasy blockbuster than a book about a young wizard’s final year.
So where the book failed to me, the movie will probably succeed since, different media require different narrative skills, so bring on the Lord of the Rings 2.0!
2. No promises to keep
Why was it necessary that Sirius died falling through the veil?
Why did a building implode when the Avada Kedavra backfired?
How did Voldemort re-aquire his wand?
What was the story of Alice and Frank Longbottom?
One of the greatest aspects of Harry Potter to me was trying to puzzle out what happened “back then” what the overall story was, if Harry was a Horcrux – and like Lost the theories fans had exceeded the answers we were given by miles.
Some of the big offenders I listed, like Sirius’s death, where Rowling stated that she didn’t want to kill him but she had to because it was important for the story… then the fact that Harry still got Sirius’s mirror and Rowling stated that he would be important at the end seemed to strengthen the hunch that something important was going to happen with Sirius…
Nope, he just died for shock value and a random guy picked up the mirror to act as a plotdevice whenever Harry was in danger, way to go J.K., way to go!
The movies on the other hand never made those promises since they were just Harry Potter lite. The backstory of what happened during the war is never that important. The only important thing is the general effect on the characters, like Neville’s parents are there to act as a motivator for the characters, but their backstory is never pivotal to the plot.
Therefore we never have the feeling the movie that there will be a huge twist concerning this story. If you look at the prophecy from part 5, it’s a really big deal in the book and was foreshadowed since part 1, but in the movie it is about 5 sentences long.
With Potter 7, the “big twists” (Harry being a horcrux, Lily and Snape being friends, the diadem as well as almost all the horcrux locations, Snape being a good guy) were guessed after book 6 by about 60% of the readers, Harry being a horcrux was so obvious, it spawned conspiracies that it was too obvious and therefore a red hering.
So the only twists that hadn’t been guessed were either uninteresting (Dumbledore’s sister) or forced into the final installment much like the sideways in Lost (Harry going Neo and waking up at the train station, everything to do with the Deathly Hallows that had never been mentioned anywhere).
With the movies never being keen on those things, the disappointment will be spared quite a lot, the background story will hopefully be reduced to the very basics, which might result in another thing:
3. No copy-paste character biographies
How do you make a great opening for a final book?
I don’t know, Dark Tower had quite a nice opening for book 7.
I just know how you don’t do it: do NOT flood us with Dumbledore’s Wikipedia site!
Book 7 felt like Rowling tried to justify Dumbledore’s status as a walking deus ex machina (which worked really well and nobody had a problem with it) by waving a backstory into our faces and telling us “see…. see how complex this character is”
While one might get away with putting endless Daily Prophet and Rita Skeeter articles into a book, this won’t happen in a movie, because once again different media demand different approaches.
Half Blood Prince is a prime example for this.
Yes it made the whining fanboys angry who think a movie can only work if you put it on screen precisely like it happened in the book – seriously guys, watch the extended cut of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, suffer through all the narratives that go nowhere (which is great in the book, but feels overly long in the movie) and please realize that if it weren’t for artistic directors like Cuarón and Yates the movies would have never created an identity of their own.
Half Blood Prince might stray away from the book like no other Potter, but it (mostly) stands on its own feet. They only used the flashbacks necessary to reflect on Harry’s choices and the idea of Riddle’s corruption was recycled in the storyline about Draco and Harry – themselves standing before the same choice Riddle stood.
Draco choosing power.
Harry choosing friendship.
The idea was only hinted but it is there, where the horcruxes are hidden and all the other flashback stuff can be explained in movie 7 and would have only slowed down movie 6.
So if they keep this approach, there might be a great chance that they slash away a lot of Dumbledore’s gay nazi past and they might even save us from Snape’s flashbackshow, which read more like Rowling explaining the gaps to us than an actual memory.
4. Neville Longbottom and the sword of Gryffindor
What no Hogwarts?
That was a big bummer in book seven. Like I mentioned in point 1 this might work in favor for the movie, but it probably won’t change the fact that Neville organizing an illegal wizarding group against Death Eater teachers while getting a badass scar and having orgies in the room of requirements (last point being an educated guess) is way more intriguing than Harry sitting around and Voldemort sitting around.
The feeling of “why the hell didn’t we spend time with Neville, Luna and Ginny doing awesome stuff?” will probably be there in the movie as well, unless I interpret the trailers correctly and there is some footage of stuff in Hogwarts.
First would be the shot of the Death Eater stopping the Hogwarts Express, then we have Filch going through the corridors of Hogwarts which could either be close before the finale or (hopefully) something that happens between Harry’s sitting sessions.
Here is hoping that there will be some Hogwarts footage, not only as a fanpleaser, but also as a constant reminder what the stakes are. If we see how horrible not only the ministry but also Hogwarts has become, we want our characters to succeed even more.
This might be the weakest point, since it might have already been stated that there won’t be any Hogwarts clips…
5. Less rules, less explanation
Many of my gripes with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows stir from the fact that J.K. Rowling’s world is built on rules that the series has managed to abide with (for most of the time). Rowling while constantly using plot devices knows how to bring them into the story without leading to further complications.
What many fantasy authors and viewers don’t seem to understand is that magic does not equal doing everything one can do whenever one wants to – if you don’t have a strict set of rules for your story, the result is Eragon.
The problem with Deathly Hallows is the breaking of said rules. After having read thousands of pages through Harry Potter the reader knows about how likely a spell or potion can be detected and with each installment it becomes more and more complicated to maintain the rules while still having children wizards fighting against enemies with years of experience.
With Deathly Hallows we know about the defense of places like Gringotts and the Ministry of Magic and we start to see that the situations are orchestrated in a way to make it possible for Harry to enter the Ministry of Magic.
The movies on the other hand are a completely different cup of tea:
Remember in the book how they elaborated the Fidelius charm and how Sirius Black was the one keeping the secret?
How did the movies deal with it: Yeah Black was one of the few who knew the location and betrayed them.
Oh, what about how they go into much detail on how to camouflage themselves and using invisibility cloaks to pass undetected.
What happened in the movie: they just flew with broomsticks since the muggle’s ignore all the magic stuff (one line in Azkaban).
What about the elaborate plot about Umbridge sending the Dementors into Little Whinging?
Nah, just another sign of Voldemort’s rising power.
So generally while this was always a fact that made the movies less attractive than the books, since I don’t like all the convenience in the book, a simpler universe might help me enjoy the story more than I originally did.
6. It’s a different thing to write than to film
Why did the army of the dead fight during the battle of Minas Tirith?
Because in movies it’s not as easy to get away with stuff happening out of the audience’s grasp. In an epic book full of battles it is no problem to have an army appear and fight somewhere else, but in a 3 hour movie that builds upon two battles, there has to be a payoff for Aragorn running around half an hour.
So stuff like Hermione and Ron popping up saying “By the way Harry we destroyed the Horcrux, because we just went into the chamber of secrets” is very very unlikely in a movie. It was hard to swallow during the book that Ron and Hermione imitated parseltongue and destroyed 1/7th of Voldemort’s soul behind the scenes.
Harry, Ron and Hermione are our heroes, so I hope the movie uses this untold story, to bring it onto the screen and kill two birds with one stone: firstly to make this action a little more believable then just a throwaway line we have to accept and secondly it will give Ron and Hermione their moment to shine.
Since Ron kills the first Horcrux in Part 1, he really needs to do something pivotal in the second movie.
7. Nostalgia from the movies
When the Harry Potter movies started, we were naturally disappointed for the most part of it. Not because they were not as good as Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (nothing really is), but because we had lived so many months and years within the world of the books that we have had our imaginations captured in Hogwarts, we had an understanding how the common room looked like, how the trick step halfway up the stairs worked.
The familiarity of Hogwarts was not present in the movies, because they were totally different from what we had imagined. But after nine years of movie history, while they might not have replaced the pictures of Hogwarts, the pictures of movie-Hogwarts have their own place in our memories, the movies have painted a picture of Harry Potter and developed their life outside of the books. This movie nostalgia will of course heighten the drama in Deathly Hallows and if you liked the previous movies this will automatically enhance the effect of the Harry Potter finale.
8. No more Hogwarts, no more distractions
A movie with 2 hours of running time was naturally not going to delve into these details as much as the books did, in the worst case it reduced school activities to mere plot devices to give Harry the necessary hint to figure out the puzzle.
Chamber of Secrets in my eyes suffers most from this, since they only kept stuff that was important to the plot the school year felt like a set-up to give Harry the necessary tools to win the final boss fight. We didn’t mind this in the books because firstly most plotdevices were hinted at already a few books beforehand so we never felt cheated when a magic room popped up in book five and because they also did other stuff during the year that was never important for the plot.
With the Hogwarts storyline gone, everything is geared towards the big finale, there are no more potion classes or anything.
This might seem repetitive, since it is my basic argument, but the point that book 7 deviated so much from the things most fans (or at least myself) liked hurt the book, but the movie will benefit from it quite a lot.
10. Trolling might have helped
Joanne K. Rowling has always been aware of the online activity and hopefully some of the things people complained might have been noticed.
And I’m not talking about fanboy whining like my problems (for example it really annoyed me that Hermione was not wearing a cheerleading costume during the final fight, but I guess Rowling never understood her character…), I’m talking about serious stuff like Harry using the imperius curse at Gringotts and kinda enjoying it or Harry using the cruciatus curse in front of McGonagall with no moral problems, stuff like that (on the other hand, the scene might have worked if the Ravenclaw Common Room would have been filled with Victoria Secret models).
11. No 3D!
Pretty self explanatory, no ugly post conversion to 3D, jayyy!
12. The books are done
My favorite Harry Potter movie is Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. Why? Because one can really feel that 1) the skills of everyone involved have increased and 2) the books were done.
With the early Potter movies the directors were depending on Rowling’s information what would be important. With Chamber of Secrets for example she told Chris Columbus what to insert because it would be important for Half Blood Prince.
I can’t imagine how weird this must have felt for a director: “Yeah I’m gonna insert that… probably it will be important… I guess…”
When Potter 6 was made, the story was done, we knew how it ended, therefore the movie team could decide what to insert and how to restructure the movie to best tell the story.
Like the link at the beginning of the review says: an adaption is not about retelling the events of the book but to tell the ideas of the book using the story techniques of film.
With the final movie going, they don’t even have to care anymore about setting up the next one, so no more “Harry getting the firebolt because he needs it to fight the dragon in Goblet of Fire”, they can really just focus on the themes of friendship, loyalty and love this story has to offer.
So, grab your firebolts, remember the ingredients of polyjuice potion, know that every Slytherin is inherently evil and get ready for the final Potter – well not quite yet.