Monday, August 1, 2011

Thoughts on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part Two

So I finally saw the last Harry Potter movie last weekend. I know you all saw it the moment it came out, but I'm not keen on camping outside movie theaters, thanks.

Yes, I'm taking on Harry Potter. I'm sure you know more about it than I do, so feel free to share your opinion in the comments, if you can get past the dreaded CAPTCHA. I hear it's been pretty surly lately.


You've been warned. Don't read any further if you don't want to know how the movie ends.

Snape is Harry's father, Ron Weasley dies twice, Neville was the Chosen One all along.

But srsly, kids:

Wizards and Witches Get Married Really Young

At the end of the films/books, we get to see all the proud wizard daddies and witch mommies sending their kiddies off to Hogwarts to be educated and exposed to several years of mortal danger, presumably. 

Lots of people think this happy-ending add-on is cumbersome and unnecessary. I think it's nice to know they didn't all get divorced five years later, like you'd expect considering they were about 18 when they got hitched.

It's true that people who undergo stressful situations together tend to bond more closely, because stress makes the brain produce oxytocin, a hormone responsible for feelings of emotional closeness. There could be few things more stressful than taking a stand against evil with an army of 12-year-olds at your back.

Besides, maybe they don't have many options. The magical community looks rather small. There are, what, a few hundred kids at Hogwarts, possibly a dozen teachers. Also the Ministry of Magic guys. There are at least two other schools somewhere and it's implied that there are also several magical towns. So there might be thousands, tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of magical people in this fictional universe, but that's still a flash in the pan assuming that there are six billion people in total on this fictional planet.

It doesn't look like these kids are encouraged to go out into the wider world, where they might meet non-magical people. No one ever mentions university. No one ever says, “You know, after this, I might just go traveling.”

Although I sure as hell would.

Harry Potter's Son is Understandably Terrified

So we get this final scene where Harry Potter (who's supposed to be in his late 30s but still can't grow a beard) reassures his son, Albus Severus Potter, that everything's going to go smashingly at Hogwarts, and he, Albus, surely won't be sorted into the dreaded Slytherin House. 

If Voldemort is dead and the magical world is safe, what's the big freaking deal? If Slytherin House is that bad, why not give them sensitivity training, or something? Actually, maybe the other houses need it more. Imagine if everyone assumed you were a total bastard and treated you as such, on little more than the word of some headgear. You'd go to the dark side eventually.

I'm sure they'd like to pass off this moment as the normal sort of worry you'd expect from a child going to boarding school for the first time. But if this poor kid's heard of half the things that happened at Hogwarts while his dad was there – and you KNOW he has – it's no wonder he looks nervous. He's afraid he won't graduate alive.

This Movie Needs Some American Wizards

We spend most of our time throughout the Harry Potter series with the British wizards and wiz-lets at Hogwarts. Other wizarding schools appear in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, but no mention is made of any wizarding communities outside of Europe.

That's a shame, because American wizards could only improve this story. Picture it: Voldemort's forces have breeched Hogwarts' defenses. Most of its defenders are running around shrieking because they're 12. Enter the hard-drinking, hard-riding cowboy wizard on a hobby horse broom. “Yeeeeeee-HAAAAWWW!” he shouts maniacally as he rains down firey Yankee vengeance on the invading troops. His proud mustache shines gloriously in the light of exploding bombs.


Then again, that would be kinda hard to write in.