My youngest daughter, who’ll enter college this fall, still remembers the day she picked up that very first “Harry Potter” book. Her older brother left his copy on a table two houses ago, and once Lizabeth picked it up and started reading, she read until she finished it — never wanting to put the book down.
“I was eight years old when the first movie came out,” she recalled after seeing the final film in the “Harry Potter” series with friends. She wore a “time turner” necklace to the show after deciding it would be too sad to take her Hedwig stuffed animal along. One of her friends sported a “Muggle” T-shirt and wand.
Lizabeth shared with her dad that she’d cried through most of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2.” But that’s not necessarily a bad thing in her book. Seems she was especially impressed that a friend prone to giggling controlled the urge to laugh at Lizabeth’s sentimentality. The characters in “Harry Potter” aren’t real people, of course, but they feel real to the generation who grew up with them.
One of three friends who saw the film with Lizabeth has never read the books. She mentioned to Lizabeth that she prefers “Deathly Hallows” part two over part one — saying this film has more action and “is more fast paced.” Lizabeth added that the first part of “Deathly Hallows, Part 2” flies by with remarkable speed, a bit like the fictional golden snitch used during Quidditch games at Hogwarts.
Lizabeth mentioned that there were five and six year olds in the theater for “Deathly Hallows, Part 2” but said they had a hard time sitting still. She feels the film is “too scary” for young children given all the blood, dead bodies and such. Death scenes in this film are “gross,” she tells me. Think cracking bodies, shriveling bodies. Plus lots of fire and the image of a dead child. Best to save this movie for those who grew up with the “Harry Potter” series. They’re just the right age for it.
Once she’d seen “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2” I had to ask Lizabeth the one burning question that has plagued me throughout the series — “Is Snape good or bad?” I get the same answer every time. “I’m not going to tell you!” He’s the one character whose motives I can’t quite get ahold of.
But she did share that “there are lots of messages in this movie.” Loyalty. Stepping up to the challenges. People are always there with you, even when they are gone. Bravery. Do what’s right even when you’re scared to do it. Friendship. When I asked Lizabeth how the film made her feel, she offered a single word: “Nostalgic.”
Lizabeth says that seeing “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2” gave her a sense of “closure.” Still, she describes feeling “torn” about the “Harry Potter” series ending. “I want it to continue,” reflects Lizabeth, “but it was time for it to end.”
“It ended in a good spot,” she says — crediting “Harry Potter” creator and author J.K. Rowling with “giving fans everything they needed.” I only hope she’ll feel the same way about us as she heads to NYC in September. Before too long, her father and I will give a final wave of our own. And then, she’ll be off to make her own magic.
Coming up: Outdoor concert fare, Road trip: Utah Shakespeare Festival, Kids who “Glee,” Teachers who “MIM”