“He’ll be famous–a legend–I wouldn’t be surprised if today was known as Harry Potter day in the future–there will be books written about Harry–every child in our world will know his name!” –Professor McGonagall, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
This weekend I will go see my very last Harry Potter film in the theater. I will see the final new movie. Ever. As I wrote yesterday, this is exciting and incredibly sad for me.
These movies are so special to me, and the memories of watching them are sweet. It is a bit surreal to see the book that I loved played out in front of me, see how the images match up with my own imagination. I moan and whine when directors make choices that I would never have imagined (cough REMUS LUPIN cough) and swoon when things appear exactly as I had dreamed them. But the movies are more than that. They are connections, memories, a world I share with people I love.
The first film I saw in the theater was Azkaban. I was returning from college and went with my friend A. We went to a late night movie, sitting far in the back of the theater. When we left, we saw many, many friends had filled the dark theater in front of us. We sat wrapped in scarves–scarlet and gold striped, of course–that my mother knitted for us to wear to the movie. It is one of the last memories I have of A before she moved across the country, but every time I see that scarf, I think of her and my mother’s love. I remember being in a small town, in a dark room, enjoying being young. It was love.
The only midnight show that I was able to go to was Goblet of Fire. E and bought our tickets ahead of time for a theater as far from our campus as we could find. We waited in anticipation and the afternoon of the film, loaded our bags with books and notes and went to sit in line. We sat on the sidewalk in front of the theater surrounded by middle schoolers and those special breeds that dressed up. We intended to study, but the evening faded into darkness and we simply talked. I’m sure we discussed the book and the films, but mostly we were just happy. We laughed and shared a night that no one else has shared with me. We smuggled hot Starbucks in with us and settled in for a late, long movie. We found out the next day that plenty of our friends went to the theater about a mile from our school, but our secret adventure made the night all the more magical.
Order of the Phoenix was another beast altogether. It came along at an odd time, was a bit more inconvenient–the summer after my graduation. I actually saw that film twice. I saw it first with my parents, sitting in the back of a theater while they visited me. Then I saw it with a friend that I had classes with. In our Modernism class, we discovered a shared goofiness, disregard for pretense, and love of Harry. It was different, going with her and her friend, and not nearly as cozy as my other movies, but it was wonderful because it was yet another way that I connected, a friend of my geeky heart.
Half-blood Prince was the summer again. I was alone in a big city, missing my movie buddy E. I reconnected with an old college friend and we met up for an opening day matinée. The line was surprisingly short and we watched the film further back than I would have chosen to sit. As I rewatch this in my living room right now, as I write, I remember very little of the film. I remember the book well, its heart-shattering end. I remember being very dissatisfied, robbed of my beautiful grief. And I remember talking with my friend after the film, enjoying when our criticism or kudos aligned. It was delightful to have someone to talk about it with passion, who loved the books and world as much as I. It was a wonderful recognition of a friend who is far more like myself than I realized.
Deathly Hallows was my last venture into cinematic Hogwarts. This time, E was back from deployment and living in my city again. We were reunited and it was as it should be. A tiny twinge of guilt shadowed the night because we both had other people who we should have gone with, but we had to see it together. We hadn’t been in the same city for long, and it was a special chance for us to embrace what makes our friendship wonderful. As the film ended, we were determined to end the series together, but that was not to be.
So now I anticipate going to see the very last movie for the first time. A sent me a message, reminding me to wear my scarf. My mom will be visiting next week, and I have a hunch a movie is in our future. My dad and I talked at length about the lead up, about what is to come. E is deployed and we will have a movie night when she returns–she has already emailed me to ask how it is. And I will go back with my excited Half-blood friend. We are making an early day of it and enjoying a morning show. I’m excited to talk with her about every word that strays from the book and sends a pain through my soul. And we’ll enjoy the final reveal, the last moment of this adventure, and it will be another magical movie memory.
“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that.“ –Albus Dumbledor, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone