Film

Harry Potter: A Retrospective

Lindy West Goes Deep Nerd

Harry Potter: A Retrospective

HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 2 Mmm, goblin-y!

Well, it's over, you guys. Seven books, eight movies, however many horcruxes, hella snogging, buckets of nerd tears, one gay Dumbledore, one million nonsense words about "wandlore," one billion dollars in J. K. Rowling's bank account, one trillion hilarious wizarding jokes by me ("Muggle, please"), and Harry has his mother's eyes and you can't apparate into or out of Hogwarts and Hermione is STILL the only person who fucking bothered to read Hogwarts: A History (HONESTLY, RON). I'm going to miss it all. So much.

That is, I mean, until the Great Harry Potter Movie Franchise Reboot of 2031 (I'm being generous with that date—they're probably starting on it as we speak), starring Hugh Grant as Dumbledore (he'll be 70!) and Zac Efron as Gilderoy Lockhart (he'll be 43!) and the kid who plays Neville Longbottom in a hilarious cameo as Florean Fortescue, the guy who sells wizard ice cream (RIP). But until then, all we have to keep us warm at night are seven books, eight movies, however many horcruxes, one gay Dumbledore, etc. (See paragraph one, above.) So in honor of the final installment, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, I decided to take a look back at everything we've been through together. Join me.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001)

This movie is notable/interesting/good for almost zero reasons (I'm sorry, but is director Chris Columbus a worse person than the actual Christopher Columbus?), besides the fact that it introduced us to the adorable actor-children that we'd be saddled with for the subsequent fucking decade no matter what kinds of weird shapes their heads grew into. It also introduced perhaps the greatest character in the entire Harry Potter universe: the witch who runs the snack trolley on the Hogwarts Express. Hey, lady. HOW SHITTY OF A WITCH DO YOU HAVE TO BE TO GET STUCK RUNNING A SNACK TROLLEY ON A TRAIN FOR CHILDREN!? For that matter, does the Hogwarts Express do anything besides take kids to and from Hogwarts twice a year? How is that a responsible allocation of funds? And who built it? Who laid the tracks? Where did they get the steel? Did they buy it from Muggle steel distributors? These are the kinds of questions that keep me up at night.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)

This is the one with Kenneth Branagh and the big underground snake. Chris Columbus returned to direct, and to infect the local centaur population with smallpox. Dick.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)

The only legitimately good Harry Potter movie, Azkaban was directed by Alfonso Cuarón, who is an actual movie director instead of an overturned bucket with eyebrows and "big ideas."

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)

Okay. Logistics question. So if the entire Tri-Wizard tournament—this entire year of school—was just a long con set up by Voldemort to get Harry to eventually touch a portkey and be transported to that stupid graveyard, then why didn't Mad-Eye Moody just say to Harry ON THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL, "Oh hey, Harry, could you just hold this quill for me for one second—" BAM!!! Portkeyed. Done. Slice 'n' dice. Did Barty Crouch Jr. just really really like grading papers? Seriously, J. K. Seriously.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)

AND WHILE WE'RE ASKING QUESTIONS, WHY DOES FUCKING SLYTHERIN EVEN EXIST!? Even the Sorting Hat's like, "Ohhhh, if you're brave like a lion, you can be in Gryffindor/And if you're boring and a nerd, it's Ravenclaw for you/And the rest of the people just go in Hufflepuff, because whatever/And for the evil fucks, let me direct you to our dark wizard factory in the basement called Slytheriiiiiiin!" It makes no sense.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)

Uhhhh, I'm running out of space. Snape kills Dumbledore.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010)

We're almost done, y'all. Here's what I wrote when this one came out: "Oh, dude, shit is going DOWN. V-mort is totally taking over the Ministry of Magic. Hermione just obliviated her parents' brainz. Snape is wearing more eyeliner than ever. Ron drank too much Muscle Milk and Hedwig is dead and wandlore is confusing and Dobby is gross and I sincerely hope you read the book because otherwise I'm basically Gary Busey speaking Esperanto right now. You're fucked." It's true. You are.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)

And here we are!!! The final movie. If you still haven't read the books, go ahead and take the amount of fucked that you were in the last movie, multiply it by double-fucked, feed it to Gary Busey, wait two hours, fish it out of his bidet, and fuck it. Because you aren't going to understand a word. That said, Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is slightly awesome. Director David Yates does something smart here: Rather than attempt loyalty to the book, he skims valiantly through the opening Gringotts set piece and goblin exposition (zzzzz) so that he can actually settle in, take his time with the Battle of Hogwarts, and build to an actual climax. The battle is the movie—slobbering giants, whispering horcruxes, embarrassing steampunk werewolves, the Snape-didn't-do-it montage, that horrible red baby, Kingsley Shacklebolt's stupid fucking hat, Voldemort's Nehru collar of doom (all rendered in outrageously pointless 3-D). See you in 2031, nerds. Hopefully, Chris Columbus will be dead by then. recommended

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Comments (40) RSS

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Posted by cedarthvader http://open.salon.com/blog/cedar_burnett on July 13, 2011 at 9:22 AM · Report this
cedarthvader 2
And I'm still laughing about Chris Columbus infecting the local Centaur population with smallpox. Hi-larious!
Posted by cedarthvader http://open.salon.com/blog/cedar_burnett on July 13, 2011 at 9:24 AM · Report this
Mike Smith 3
I am currently re-reading "Goblet of Fire". Give yourself an A fucking Plus, Lindy, for calling this out.
Posted by Mike Smith on July 13, 2011 at 10:35 AM · Report this
Roadflare 4
The third movie was my least favorite movie. It probaly took the most liberties with the book, I did not like the way they characterized Lupin and Harry's budding relationship, and it was just a cluster fuck. I hated it, maybe because it was my favorite book at the time and I'm super nit picky. To be fair, I haven't really enjoyed any of the movies, except for part 1 os the seventh. They finally have time to explore the plot!! Oh, and I thought the Triwizard tournament was fun (in the book)! After all, Voldemort had not regained his powers completely yet and had to be tricky in order to capture Harry! If you remember he was being very careful about being public, he needed to hold on to wizards disbelief for as long as he can so he could properly set up his operation! Yes, I'm a huge nerd.
Posted by Roadflare on July 13, 2011 at 11:03 AM · Report this
5
I can out-nerd you. I've given this some thought, and it seems like the train goes to Hogsmeade, rather than directly to Hogwarts (there are places in the books where they say this, but I'm entirely too lazy to go find them). So I think it normally makes stops throughout magical villages, or whatever, and then runs a special express on certain days for Hogwarts kids.

I hate myself for thinking about this.
Posted by n.b.e. on July 13, 2011 at 11:53 AM · Report this
6
I love you Lindy, I love you.
Posted by Lilzo on July 13, 2011 at 12:41 PM · Report this
BritishRichard 7
Back off #6

I love her more.
Posted by BritishRichard on July 13, 2011 at 2:15 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 8
I'm waiting for the 3D Harry Potter MMORPG that will release in 2014.
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on July 13, 2011 at 3:35 PM · Report this
9
i love you lindy west, i want to have your babies.
Posted by daviska56 on July 13, 2011 at 6:01 PM · Report this
10
The tracks and the steel were provided by Hank Reardon, a character from another series popular for its mystical and incoherent view of the world!
Posted by quasigentrified on July 13, 2011 at 6:09 PM · Report this
11
My favorite part about the second movie was the giant spiders. :)
Posted by Arachnid on July 13, 2011 at 7:05 PM · Report this
12
The problem is the books are too long to adapt with the way Rowling writes. Since they have to shove 2 hours (can't be longer than 2 hours because kids have no attention span), stuff gets cut and the movies end up just coming off as Cliff Notes.
Posted by Bartleby on July 14, 2011 at 10:01 AM · Report this
13
You speak some damned purty Esperanto, Lindy.
Posted by -ink on July 14, 2011 at 10:09 AM · Report this
CharlesF 14
Lindy, will you go out with me?
Posted by CharlesF on July 14, 2011 at 10:20 AM · Report this
15
Re: Goblet of Fire

Voldemort's plan was to ostracize Harry from his friends. If you kill him when he's at the top, he'd be a fucking martyr. Can't have that happen. Get his classmates to make "Potter Stinks" badges and then murder him. He's less of a liability that way.
Posted by PotentMenagerie on July 14, 2011 at 11:57 AM · Report this
16
So is everyone else moving on to Game of Thrones yet? It is well written and the show has titties... Ladies. ;)
Posted by Spike1382 on July 14, 2011 at 12:56 PM · Report this
17
"I'm basically Gary Busey speaking Esperanto right now". Lindy West, you make me laugh.
Posted by tacomagirl on July 14, 2011 at 1:04 PM · Report this
18
Maybe in the interest of public transportation and saving fuel (it's a COAL FIRED locomotive, for Chissakes & that can't make for a good carbon footprint...) the Hogwarts Express could make a stop at Narnia? We could call it the Magical Mystery Tour Limited or something. As it is they only have that wardrobe so this could really perk up the local economy even if it's only kids and wizards bankrolling the local tourist economy....
Posted by Whiteboyfunfark on July 14, 2011 at 3:16 PM · Report this
19
Best thing about the movie series: family get-together for opening night, every single time.
Every family needs traditions. Now what are we going to do?
Posted by The mayor on July 14, 2011 at 8:57 PM · Report this
dangerousgift 20
"Muggle Please" is my favorite Ol' Dirty Mudblood record
Posted by dangerousgift on July 14, 2011 at 9:18 PM · Report this
21 Comment Pulled (Spam) Comment Policy
22
Umm yeah. its a fucking fairy tail. Doesn't have to be literal. And if movies followed books to the letter. We would have seven hour boring ass movies. So lighten up.
Posted by bashido79 on July 15, 2011 at 6:31 AM · Report this
23
Harry Potter 1-8: magic shit happens and you keep wondering whether Hermonie is old enough for you to feel comfortable being attracted to her.

There, I just saved you 20 hours and $100 bucks.

Now go watch the new Winnie the Pooh movie or admit you hate America.

Posted by justicekid_2013 on July 15, 2011 at 8:14 AM · Report this
24
#10, you fucking made me laugh. A lot.
Posted by science chick on July 15, 2011 at 6:34 PM · Report this
25
Even better Logistics question- In The Prisoner of Azkaban, Hermoine borrows an object called a "Time Turner" from Dumbledore in order to go back in time and take multiple classes. So then Dumbledore has the ability to go back in time at his leisure, but chooses not to?
Posted by UNPAID COMMENTER on July 15, 2011 at 8:44 PM · Report this
26
holy crap, i was just about to argue with some of you about the incongruities of these books. what the hell is wrong with me?
Posted by cb on July 15, 2011 at 9:57 PM · Report this
27 Comment Pulled (Spam) Comment Policy
28
Wait, Lindy, you left out the inevitable attempt at a TV series. If we're lucky, it'll be on HBO or something like that... if we're not lucky, it'll be on the CW.
Posted by Queerly Yours on July 16, 2011 at 5:33 AM · Report this
29
To Lindy and others: The Triwizard Tournament was not set up for Harry to be Portkeyed. The schools were already planning the tournament and Voldemort took advantage of that. Also, the reason Moody/Crouch couldn't just do the "Hold this pen." thing is that a) Voldemort wasn't prepared or strong enough yet to return; that's why the Dark Mark on the Death Eaters' shoulders got darker THROUGHOUT THE YEAR and b) Moody/Crouch wanted to get away with it; if he had done the pen trick, everyone would've known he did it.

To #25: Hermione did not borrow the Time-Turner from Dumbledore; is that what the movie said? Because that's not true. I wouldn't know; I haven't seen the movies. Anyway, McGonagall got Hermione's Time-Turner approved by the Ministry so she could get to all her classes on time since she was taking more classes than possible. It is said that the Ministry is very strict about time-turners and McGonagall had to promise she would ONLY use it for classes, etc. So no, Dumbledore could not have used a time-turner whenever he wanted.

The End.
Posted by quinnopolis on July 16, 2011 at 12:40 PM · Report this
Laurangelica de las Angeles Lechón y Lentejuelas 30
Haven't read a single harry potter book. Haven't seen a single harry potter movie. But you, Lindy West, are a Fucking brilliant writer.
Posted by Laurangelica de las Angeles Lechón y Lentejuelas on July 16, 2011 at 1:48 PM · Report this
31
Oh, how I love these books. Our daughter started reading them when she was about 11 or 12. By the time she was 15 we were attending our first HP con, the very first one in Orlando. We went to 6 over the years, and I gave a paper at the last one we went to. I was also lucky enough to be working in a bookstore when 7 came out and was able to plan part of our party. It's been a literary experience like no other.

DD is probably the last person who would want to revisit the past, judging from his conversation with Harry in Kings Cross in book 7. And even if he had wanted to, he knew that he wasn't allowed to change anything, so what would have been the point?

Posted by mischiefmanager on July 16, 2011 at 3:12 PM · Report this
JonnoN 32
I made Busey speak Esperanto..

http://i.imgur.com/G1rC8.jpg
Posted by JonnoN http://www.backnine.org/ on July 16, 2011 at 3:35 PM · Report this
33
I really don't like or enjoy the way you write Lindy. It's just that I care about what people think about movies, but you write like a college student (that knows everything) with a Myspace blog.
Posted by anal smith on July 16, 2011 at 5:46 PM · Report this
34
Hey Lindy, I think I'll see you next Tuesday.
Posted by montex on July 16, 2011 at 7:23 PM · Report this
35
I stopped watching the movies after number two, cause I had just hated both of them. I didn't like the way they built the setting, Hogwarts castle just looked so dirty, I hate looking at dirt, and I preferred my imagination. Loved the books. Couldn't stand those stupid movies.
Posted by I have always been... east coaster on July 17, 2011 at 9:01 AM · Report this
36
@33: I'm sure that the opinion of someone who goes by "anal smith" weighs heavily in Lindy's world.
Posted by also on July 17, 2011 at 12:49 PM · Report this
37
WHAT IS UP WITH KINGSLEY AND HIS DASHIKIS?
Posted by missgizmo on July 17, 2011 at 8:52 PM · Report this
38
I'd love to see Tonks take out Bellatrix and Narcissa. I'll bet they went out for beers after shooting.

Yeah---what was up with Snape? He started looking like a crying raccoon at the end!

Thanks, Lindy!!
Posted by auntie grizelda on July 17, 2011 at 11:43 PM · Report this
39
Hogwarts security doesn't allow portkeying/apparating in and out at will. Does it?
Posted by hanzeethefish on July 18, 2011 at 11:20 PM · Report this
40
Time-Warner is kicking themselves that they didn't think of this part 1 and part 2 stuff earlier. True, the kids would be pushing 30 by the time they wrapped, but damn, 14 pictures sure sounds more lucrative than 8. The reboot will begin closer to 2021 than 2031.
Posted by Functional Atheist on July 19, 2011 at 5:07 PM · Report this

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