*THERE ARE MAJOR SPOILERS IN THIS BLOG. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!*
Last Monday, Ryan and I had a morning date to go see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two. We enjoyed our bagels and headed into the theater.
I KNEW. I knew, or at least I thought I knew what it would be like. I was racing through the book - which I had read already - so that I was all caught up. I thought I knew what I was getting into, the emotional cave-dive that is Harry Potter.
It was rough. Brilliant, touching - the combination of imagination, terror, whimsy and danger that J.K Rowling does so well - but also rough.
To say I cried a lot would be an understatement. It started when Harry walked back into the Room of Requirement - Harry's back at Hogwarts, where he belongs. *Level One Tears Commence: I felt a tear trickle down the right side of my face. Sometimes I'm a one-eyed crier, much like Snape. He confronts Snape in front of everyone. This was upsetting because - he didn't know that Snape is his protector, after all these years. When I read the books, I ALWAYS knew Snape was good. I just knew it. Deep in my heart, I knew he was good.
I had a whole theory about how Dumbledore wasn't really dead "That bird was his BROTHER!!" after the 6th book, because I was convinced Snape was honorable. That bird was NOT his brother and all my other theories were wrong (Dumbledore as secret Animangus) but I was right about that ONE thing. Snape is good. So, I started crying then, when he told Harry to look at him, because the last thing he wanted to see in this world was Lily's eyes. Then I cried even more during Snape's flashback in the pensieve, especially when Harry's mom whispered to him "Harry. Momma loves you. Dadda loves you. Be brave Harry." And watching Snape cradle Lily's body - heart-wrenching. Nice job, Alan Rickman.
Also, I knew what was coming: The walk. The walk through the forest. Where Harry, in a clear symbolism of Christ, acknowledges that he must die for good to triumph. Scared, heart-pounding in his chest, he walks through the forest - an innocent lamb on his way to be slaughtered to kill the evil that infects all. *Level Two Tears Commence: Mild sniffing, lots of eye tears. Then he whispers to the Snitch. "I am ready to die." *Level Three Tears Commence: Tears are running down cheeks and dripping off nose and chin. Loud sniffing and eye wiping is occuring. Then, Harry's loved ones appear - his parents, Siruis and Remus - who died like ten minutes ago. He talks to his parents. Lily Potter says "We are so proud of you". *Level Four Tears Commence: Mild wailing, choking sobs, trying to hold it together and not be a loud ugly crier....and then it happens.
Harry says "Will you stay with me?" And James Potter says: "Until the End."
*DELTA Level Five Tears Commence: ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE ON MY FACE. I'm not sure what is happening, but I am sure of this: I will never stop crying.
It was ridiculous. Ryan looked at me like "Um, honey? You are crying really loud." He tried to comfort me, but it was in vain. I was beyond help. Part of the reason that line made me cry like a lunatic is because at the beginning on book 7, the dedication reads "And to you, if you have stuck with Harry until the very end."
It was a closing of things. A closing of the doors to an adventure that has taken up about 9 years of my life. Sure, it's just a book, but it was the greatest work of children's literature that I have ever read. Sure, they are just movies, but I watched child actors grow into adults before my very eyes. Sure, it's just a pop culture phenom, but I have so many memories of discussing Harry Potter with my new husband, going to the movies with friends, introducing my sister to the books, sharing the books and thrilling when someone new discovered them. Sure, they are just a story - but it's a story that has deep theological meaning, and to me, is one of the most clearly Christian stories you will find in this century.
So I cried a lot. Then he died. And was in "King's Cross Station", which they repeated about 9 times. "Where are we? King's Cross. King's Cross you say? Yes, King's Cross." Harry gets his answers. Dumbledore is still a loving mentor, even if he wasn't a perfect man. Harry returns. As the quote from the book's opening pages reads (And the bible verse that it originally came from in Corinthians 15:26:) "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death." I think of this as Harry awakens on the forest floor.
Then in a master stroke, a mother's love changes everything. Only this time, it's not Lily Potter's love that changes it all - it's Narcissa Malfoy's. Even Death Eater's love their kids, and a mother's act of defiance and courage would STILL change the fate of their world.
There are lots of explosions, wand battles, and Harry trying to pull Voldemort's face off with his hands (What was THAT all about?). It's cool and awesome, and has all sorts of action movie thrills.
Neville kills the snake and people cheered in the theater.
I was more touched by the way Ron and Hermoine clung to each other when they thought they were going to die from the snake. So loving. Finally.
And then it was done. And it was the epilogue. Harry and his kids, Ginny with some fake hips and a Mom haircut. Goofy as it was, it was also perfect. No one but J.K Rowling had the right to end this story, and so she did. And it ended at the perfect place. King's Cross Station, with the Hogwarts train - filled with excited children. The whimsy was back, with chocolate frogs and every flavor bean. It ended at the beginning of the story.
And so the train pulled out of the station. There was a close-up of Harry, the boy who lived, as the train pulls away. It is time - this adventure ends. The Hogwarts Express leaves and our hearts ache and twist as it fades into the distance. We say goodbye to all the beloved characters, locations and imagination. Harry Potter has broken all sorts of box office records, and it just goes to show - people still love a good story. What is successful is not defined by what your budget is, or by who your stars are, or by what product placement you can sneak in - it's about story. Write a brilliant one and people will come. I'm sure in my lifetime I won't see another Harry Potter. We'll see. I'm not worried about it. I'm sure that kids 50 years ago felt the same way about Narnia - grateful to witness something so magical first hand.
But I digress. I watched the Hogwarts Express leave the station, with all the kids waving goodbye. A little piece of my soul broke off, my own Harry Horcrux.
Still, as the last line of the book says, "All is Well." The movie fades to black.
*Level Six Tears Commence*: Hysterical loud sobbing in theater for five minutes as husband helplessly looks on as if struck by confudus charm.
I had to add this, you know, to cry some more. Ron crying! Them hugging! "This is my life!" TEARS GALORE!