If this blog post seems in any way incoherent, it’s because I write this completely and totally keyed up beyond rational emotional response after seeing the final Harry Potter movie. I pretty much dislocated my arm due to repeated fist pumping throughout the movie, but this self-inflicted grievous bodily harm will in no way stop me from venting all of my fangirlie responses to you guys. After all, if Neville Motherfucking Longbottom (Yes, his middle name has officially been changed in light of this latest movie) can hobble over in serious pain towards Voldemort when all seems to be lost and still give him sass, I can do this.
You guys, I am not ready for Harry Potter to be over. But I take comfort in the fact that there are loads of you out there who get jokes like, “Is that a hair in my soup or is this Polyjuice Potion?” in an instant and are feeling exactly the same way.
SPOILERS ABOUND! YOU SHALL NOT PASS (ok, wrong movie!) if you have not seen the movie and want to go in completely blind.
I was always looking forward to the final movie the most because I knew it would be the time when Neville pwned all. People who know me in real life assume that Hermione Granger would be my favourite character, because I can pretty much self-insert as her, minus the bushy hair (my locks are dead straight, and curling irons cringe away in awe of how militantly they hold onto this condition). But, no. Neville is the character who captured my heart.
As much as I like Harry, he always had that Big Man on Campus courage vibe. Regular Spidey readers know that I’m not one for grand gestures or showy declarations of love. Similarly, I find smaller acts of bravery from awkward, bumbling characters who have come into their own more powerful than your typical alpha hero facing down his destiny in a Forbidden Forest (that showdown should have occurred within the Hogwarts walls like in the books, with Voldy and Harry circling each other in amongst all of the other characters, amiright?). Or the big moments feel more earned for me if they come from a character who has had many small moments that have made them sing to me and gotten me completely invested in them.
The moment that Neville haltingly stood up to Harry, Ron and Hermione in the first book, in an attempt to stop his friends getting in even more trouble than they were already in at that point, was the moment I first really connected to the world and characters JK Rowling had created. I truly think standing up to your friends takes greater courage than standing up to your enemies, and this scene meant a lot to me because it was obvious had had reached deep into the wells of his bravery to take this stance.
Likewise, Neville handing gum wrappers to his mother, who had been tortured into insanity by Voldemort’s cronies along with Neville’s father, made him even more of a tragic figure than Harry for me. If not for a different interpretation of a prophecy, Neville could actually have BEEN Harry. One of the most fascinating aspects of the series is that Voldemort only created an enemy in Harry as part of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Choice could have connected him to Neville, or no one at all. Neville is a constant reminder for me in the books that it is our choices, not fate, that define us. Never having been a big believer in fate (I think luck is when hard work meets an opportunity), this has been one of the key themes in the books for me.
The other thing about Neville that has always stayed with me is his character’s pervasive sense of never being quite good enough. I can completely relate to this feeling, and it made me root all the harder for him to become a true hero worthy of the Gryffindor sword.
So, a movie filled with Fuck Yeah Neville Longbottom moments is not surprisingly going to end up being my favourite out of the series.
Now that I’ve established that I’m a bit of a Neville swimfan, let’s take a dive into the shallow end, guys.
If you’ve seen the movie, your eyes did not deceive. That Cosby Sweater motherfucker was indeed Neville Longbottom.
Actor Matthew Lewis is like the reverse of a cute child actor becoming horrifically ugly after making their way through puberty. Who knew that my Harry Potter boyfriend would show up and be so insanely hot?
Maybe I have just been too blinded all this time by his character’s many positive inner qualities to notice the hottie struggling to get out from underneath that bowl cut and disjointed teeth. Finally, though, I have seen the light with this movie! Neville Longbottom, once you are finished being a hero, you need to visit my Restricted Section, stat.
I wish puberty had had the same effect on me that it did with Matthew Lewis. Well, okay, not so that I would end up as a scruffy spunk of a man, but just to have the ability to laugh maniacally in the face of my awkward phase, as he is no doubt currently doing.
Erin from Forever Young Adult, a group of high priestesses of young adult fiction and TV/movie adaptations of this fic, laid out the Neville Longbottom effect in a way that cannot be rivaled in her 10 High School Lessons I Learned from Harry Potter (seriously, check out this hilarious list!):
There will come a time when the guy you’ve been crushing on for years becomes suddenly popular. This could happen in a variety of ways. Maybe he scored the winning touchdown in the big game. Maybe he found out he was secretly the child of Big Time Movie Producer, Michael Bay, and therefore has lots of money and Fast Cars. Maybe he sticks a giant sword through a really big snake. I mean, it could be anything. And then, all of a sudden, a bunch of johnny-come-latelies come out on the interwebs and facebook and your twitter feed, all about how the boy you have had a crush on for the last decade is soooo hot. And you’ll be like, “YEAH, NO DUH, I THOUGHT THAT YEARS AGO!” And then they will try to get all up in this guy’s business with their twitter breasts, all, “ooh, Neville, your biceps are just so big!” while you seethe in the background. So the most important lesson Harry Potter taught me was to Lock That Shit Down Early. Get them while they’re still nerdy and no one has figured out that those teeth are fake and he has an awful bowl haircut! Because when he realizes his full hottie potential, he’ll be so grateful to you for seeing into the real him and then he will MARRY you and MAKE BABIES OFTEN. Or, like, not make babies often, cause whatever, that hurts, but he’ll still totally have lots of sexytimes with you. MARK MY WORDS, internet. In related news, I really should have registered fuckyeahnevillelongbottom.com years ago.
So, after this obscenely long ode to the awesomness that is Neville Longbottom, let’s look at what I liked, what I didn’t like, and what I am genuflecting to the movie gods for not screwing up when it comes to Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part 2. For any Muggles out there, I’ve used some of the levels from the O.W.L.s grading system.
Umm, pretty much every Neville moment in the history of ever… or this movie… Sorry, I’m prone to ridiculous embellishment at the moment! Neville basically pwning Nagini, Voldemort’s henchsnake while holding a sword only true Gryffindors can hold, Neville shouting out, “Yeah? You and what army?” to the Hogsmeade Voldy cronies held back by a magical force field (and him saying “That went well” when pulling himself up from the remnants of the bridge that was broken when the force field was diffused and the cronies chased him all the way back to Hogwarts), Neville basically giving Voldemort the speech equivalent of waving at him with only one finger when Voldy wrongfully thought he wanted to be welcomed into the Death Eater fold… all of these moments and more from Neville were pitch perfect. The fact that he did this while making a Cosby sweater look like the sexiest article of clothing on the planet, even more so than a low slung pair of Damon Salvatore leather pants, was just absolute gold (fighting words, I know those are ;))
“Always”. Has this word ever been said with more loaded emotion behind it, other than perhaps Nathan and Haley from One Tree Hill’s “Forever. And Always” catch cry? Haha, jk – I loved me some Naley but I do have SOME grip on reality. Seriously though, Alan Rickman just said this word with such unrequited longing and sadness about past regrets that I was deeply moved. I was so scared you guys, SO FREAKING SCARED, that the sequence of Snape’s memories in the Pensieve would be screwed up. Amazingly, with a deft hand and light touch, Yates conveyed all of Snape’s deepest feelings for Lily Potter and why Rowling has had many of her characters ram us in the head with the message that love is more powerful than any magic. Snape was I think the most complex of Rowling’s characters and his death scene just really captured the conflicting aspects of his personality, from his inability to let go of his hatred of James Potter manifest in his animosity towards Harry to the end, to his undying love for Lily that meant he was horrified at the thought of keeping Harry alive to kill Voldemort at the right moment – as Snape put it, “raising a pig for the slaughter”. Having Snape’s tears while dying hold the secrets unlocked in the Pensieve was a nice touch.
Ron and Hermione kissage. Was there ever any doubt it would be less than Oustanding? Yes, I cursed Yates when a freaking LONG SHOT interrupted the kiss midway through, but it had this desperate romantic feel to it and made me feel all fuzzy inside. I’m not even a particular shipper for this pairing (more below), but this was a kiss ten years in the cinematic making, and I was excited to see it happen.
Rupert Grint’s many amazing, inexplicable facial expressions and the reappearance of old faithful “bloody hell”. I will miss these violently.
Helena Bonham Carter playing Hermione was an absolute classic. She had all of Hermione’s mannerisms down pat, and it was surreal seeing this evil character all glowy with innocence.
Minerva McGonagall facing down Snape was just awesomesauce and amazeballs and everything else suggesting amazingness and faint hunger.
Narcissa helping Harry to save her son. This was a fantastic moment in the books, showing that you can do the right thing for deeply personal rather than generally heroic reasons, and I was SO GLAD it was kept in.
Snape’s death scene was spectacular. Having Nagini’s attack on him shown through frosted glass was more powerful for me than if we had been shown it unfiltered.
The Kings Cross life/death limbo scene featuring Harry and Dumbledore was just well played by Yates. Along with the book’s epilogue, this was the moment with the most potential to be cringeworthy for me when translated to screen. Surprisingly enough, I felt like it evoked much more emotion in the cinema version than on the page. The blemish of the Voldy baby on the intense white was creepy as hell, and really brought home one of Rowling’s overarching themes that there is a little bad in something good, and vice versa. Extra points for Yates resisting the urge to use a smoke machine in this Kings Cross version of Heaven, or Stairway To. Points detracted because as powerful as this scene was, a little voice in my head was singing at one point, “Beauty school dropout, go back to high school.”
Neville using the line, “My name may not be Luna, but I sure know how to Lovegood” being a canon possibility in the films. JK Rowling dashed the hopes of Luna/Neville shippers once upon a time, saying that she felt Luna’s flights of fancy would be too much for Neville, although later retracted this and said she could see the possibility of a love connection between the two. Thank God Yates saw the wisdom of this realization and had these characters hook up instead of Neville marrying some random like in the books.
Luna being spick and span when she plops down next to Neville on the Hogwarts battlefield even though everyone around her is covered in muck and dust. Heehee!
“Not my daughter, you bitch.” Why not Outstanding, you ask? This deserves at least a decent grade because it was an awesome moment in the books. Unfortunately, it lost impact on screen. It would have been better if we had seen Ginny in mortal peril rather than just standing behind her mother while Bellatrix gave them cray-cray eyes. Plus, the fact that this kickass statement was framed with Molly standing all mama bear in front of several Weasley cubs made this very specific sentiment just seem out of place.
Lupin and Tonks reaching for each other’s hands while facing down the enemy and not quite touching was an epic metaphor for their relationship, and how they were always so close to total happiness but never quite found it within their grasp. I mean, they went through all that angst about Lupin feeling like he couldn’t be with Tonks because he would endanger her as a werewolf but Tonks wanting to be with him anyway (omg! Forwood unicorn angst better be this good)… only to die in battle after sorting their shit out and having a baby son Teddy who now would be orphaned in the way Harry was.
The portrayal of Albus Dumbledore. In the book series, I loved how Albus Dumbledore’s arc destroyed every wizened mentor cliché and revealed him as a good man who ultimately could be ruthless and was prone to being corrupted by power. The movie did gloss over the details of his story outlined in the book – I guess it would have been tough showing the intense character study required for us to understand the suckier moments of Albus Dumbledore while still loving him enough for the King’s Cross scene to have weight, within the time constraints, so I wasn’t too fussed. I feel like Snapes, “raising him [Harry] like a pig for slaughter” drove home the moral ambiguity of Dumbledore’s decisions quite nicely and subtly. I’m just glad they gave us hints of the flawed individual he was, because I was afraid he would be whitewashed in this final instalment in favour of a more heavy-handed good/bad distinction. Plus, the delivery on the line, “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean it is not real?” resonated so much with me and is really just a great war cry for fangirls and fanbois over the world, no?
A gratuitous shirtless shot lingering on Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint’s happy trails when really us females would have preferred to see Tom Felton and Matthew Lewis stripping off.
Sadly, we may never know what these GQ Motherfuckers are like minus the GQ
Ron and Harry are absolutely adorable nerds who I love and the actors are insanely likeable, but I felt like I’d just ingested a Puking Pastille when watching that scene. Hermione, who was looking on, probably wanted to revive S.P.E.W. for entirely different reasons that an ongoing commitment to elfish welfare. *ducks tomatoes thrown by Dan and Rupert fangirls*
Zilch chemistry between Harry and Ginny. It’s unfortunate, because Hermione and Harry’s dance in the last film was just exploding with sexual tension, as controversial as it might have been because of its departure from the source material and characterization. I could go into my it-didn’t-fit-the-whole-Harry-is-a-stoic-hero-who-didn’t-know-how-to-handle-Hermione’s-feeelllllllllllings-about-Ron-leaving-in-the-book-thing, but I won’t. Heh. I always multi shipped Hermione with Ron AND Harry (I always felt like the trio was just crawling with hetero and homoerotic tension and Ginny was just an unwanted insertion into that dynamic – sorry Harry/Ginny fans), so it didn’t bother me too much, but I did want my hero to appear to have at least a vague connection to his lady love. Alas
ear wax, it was not meant to be.
The epilogue. It was cheesy as hell in the books and made me feel like blood was gushing profusely from my eyeballs at the time, and I regret to say that the movie did nothing to remedy this reaction in me. It was kind of weird that everyone was all aged up and Emma Watson still looked young and hot, but whatevs. Sentimental streak, I do not have one.
The glossing over of the existence of Teddy. Rather than the epilogue that left me reaching for a Nosebleed Nougat, I would have preferred more focus on the kid who brings Harry’s whole story full circle. It moved me in the book that despite Harry thwarting evil, there would still be families broken much like Harry’s own in the wake of the recent wizard war, and Teddy represented that most poignantly for me. So, a noble remark from Ghost!Lupin about his son was not enough for me.
This is all I can think of right know. My mind is all fuzzy because I can’t quite process that this is the last Harry Potter movie EVER, and my heart feels like it has been rampaged by stampeding Hippogriffs.
What did you enjoy with the strength of a love potion? What did you hate? Who did you ship when you read the books? In your opinion, is it blasphemy for me not to have a definitive answer on the Harry/Hermione vs Ron/Hermione preference?
Sound off! 😉