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Like most adults, I came across Harry Potter when book 3 was released, about two years before the first movie. Kids had been aware of the books since day one. They were an immediate hit, selling millions of copies. However, most adults hadn’t heard about them. It was only when a TV station in the US was doing a little research for a small article on kid’s reading habits that they realised that these books were outselling videogames and movies without any huge publicity or advertising campaigns. It all boiled down to word of mouth. That, of course, changed almost overnight. Suddenly there was a two month waiting period for the books in the US. An American friend of mine was so stunned that he was able to buy all books (four at the time) in a bookshop in Dublin without any problems that he bought four copies of each and sent them home. He was the best uncle in the world that Christmas.
Anyway, as I said, I came across the books at book 3 and have read them all as they came out. The books, cleverly, grew up at the same rate as the characters and readers; Starting off as a book for kids with magic sweets and happy, fluffy magic. But there was still real danger and excitement in the book and the author never talked down or patronised the readers. As the books went on the books got larger, the characters grew up, the danger and excitement more extreme, favourite characters changed and even died. And the books grew more and more popular. The hysteria surrounding the release of a book would only be matched by the hysteria surrounding the next book.
And then the films came out. Everyone was concerned: How close to the book will they stay? Who will play the teachers? With a big American studio behind them and an American director and market will Harry suddenly become Troy? And who will play the kids? We need not have worried. The movies stuck VERY closely to the books (At times cutting out unnecessary plotlines that actually improves the story). The adult cast was fantastic. The late, great Richard Harris played headmaster Dumbledore (replaced with the equally great Michael Gambon after the death of Harris), Maggie Smith, John Cleese and Ian Hart all played their parts brilliantly. However Robbie Coltrane and Alan Rickman were BORN to play Hagrid and Snape. The kid actors were all pretty good also. Daniel Radcliffe a bit nervous and stilted as Harry (He’s to be honest, not the best actor in the world) Rupert Grint as his best friend, Ron was funny and appealing and Emma Watson was perfect as their know-it-all friend Hermione. As the books went on and new characters were introduced the casting was uniformly excellent: Kenneth Brenagh, Ralph Feinnes, Brendan Gleeson, Gary Oldman etc.
So, at last, we get to the last movie. Was it worth the wait? Oh yes! As readers will know, Deathly Hallows Part One covered about more than three quarters of the last book. So Part two was going to be mainly the action packed finale. And it lives up to the challenge. Think the battle of Helms Deep in The Two Towers but with more wands. The action is thick and fast when it needs to be but knows when to calm down when it needs to also. After a five minute build up we are thrown into a daring bank heist with a dramatic and destructive escape. Another few minutes of tense calm and we start the battle of hogwarts. Once bumbling characters are suddenly turn into action heroes and we see other characters in a whole new light. Cool characters get even cooler. Well loved characters rise to the challenge or die without any OTT melodrama, they just die. Most of the actors return even if they don’t have a single line of dialogue which is a testament to their respect for the films, books and fans.
write by Artemis