We start the Top 7. You finish the Top 10.
So we've been following these spell-casters (Harry, Ron & Hermione) for quite some time now, and it’s hard to believe that, a decade after its debut, their journey is finally coming to a close. It's been interesting to see Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint grow up on screen, and throughout the past ten years, it's been a lot of fun knowing there's another Potter film just around the corner. But that's a fun that will be no more. And so, with the closing down of the franchise, one can't help but get a little melancholy (nerrrrd) about the fact that this weekend's installment is truly the final in the Harry Potter saga.
With this weekend's release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, with the final chapter of the epic franchise upon us, the time is right to take a look back, to take a few moments to list off what I'll miss most about Harry Potter and all of his magical adventures [sigh].
So, before I start tearing up [whimper, whimper], here are the Top 7 things I'll miss about Harry Potter:
7. Sirius Black (Gary Oldman)
Recap: A pure-blood wizard, and heir to the House of Black, he disagreed with his family's belief in blood purity and ignored tradition when he was placed into Gryffindor House instead of Slytherin at Hogwarts. As Sirius' relationship with his family dissolved, he became friends with James Potter, Remus Lupin, and Peter Pettigrew. The four friends joined the Order of the Phoenix to fight against Voldemort. Sirius later became godfather to Harry Potter, son of James and Lily Potter. However, Peter Pettigrew betrayed James Potter and his family to Voldemort, and Sirius was framed for the betrayal of James and Lily Potter, as well as the murder of Peter Pettigrew and some Muggles. Sirius was imprisoned at Azkaban for twelve years, eventually becoming the only person to escape the prison unassisted. Sirius later exposed Pettigrew's treachery. After Voldemort's return, Sirius rejoined the Order.
Reason: So what if he has the stupidest name ever, he's played by Gary Oldman, and that makes him awesome (and people think George Lucas gives goofy names, sheesh). Appearing in six of the eight Potter films, Sirius is pivotal character, and is initially introduced as a villain, only later to be cleared of false charges, and reintroduced as a hero. His story is a detailed one, a convoluted one, and an interesting one. I always enjoyed seeing him screaming behind bars in the full-motion newspaper prints, that made for a lasting image. Gary Oldman was perfectly cast, as he's made quite the career out of playing villains, and though Sirius Black is, in the end, not a villain, he was certainly introduced as one, and Oldman made this whole moral teeter-tottering believable and exciting.
Recap: The most popular wizarding sport played on broomsticks. This game is played by two teams of seven people (three Chasers, two Beaters, one Keeper, and one Seeker) and involves four balls (a Quaffle, two Bludgers, and a Golden Snitch). The Keeper guards the goal posts. The three Chasers score goals with the Quaffle by tossing it into one of the opposing team's three goal posts. The two Beaters keep the Bludgers away from their team and hit the Bludgers towards the opposing team. The Seeker catches the Golden Snitch to end the game. The object of the game is to score more points than your opponents (surprise, surprise!). Each goal is worth ten points and catching the Snitch is worth one-hundred fifty points. The game ends when the Snitch is caught.
Reason: Quidditch is a lot of fast paced fun, and works as a big middle-finger of sorts to all those jocks out there that think you can't both read books and play sports. It's an enjoyable hybrid of real life sports and fantastical dreamlike excitement.
5. Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint)
Recap: A pure-blood wizard and the sixth son of Molly and Arthur Weasley, Ron was sorted into Gryffindor House at Hogwarts. He soon became close with fellow student Harry Potter and later Hermione Granger. Together, they faced many challenges during their adolescence, including keeping the Philosopher's Stone from Quirinus Quirrell, saving Ron’s sister from the Chamber of Secrets, forming Dumbledore's Army, and fighting in many a monumental battle. Ron skipped his last year of school in order to accompany Harry and Hermione on a quest to destroy the Horcruxes of Voldemort.
Reason: Ron's a major player. He's not the most likable character in the saga, but he's complex and interesting enough to enjoy. Rupert Grint portrayed him very well, and brought a very human element to his character. I enjoyed the tension surrounding the love triangle strife (whether imagined or real) between he, Hermione and Harry.
4. Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Recap: Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is a British boarding school for magic-users. It's centered in a castle is in the mountains near a loch (that's lake, to you). The precise location is unknown as the school is hidden by the most powerful spells imaginable. Don't even try to imagine what spells these could be. Don't. Even.
Reason: The CG renderings of the Hogwarts campus and its neighboring grounds are breathtaking without fail. With each subsequent film, it's always been a real treat to return to this incredibly epic castle, with all of it's winding corridors, secret passages, beautiful courtyards and panoramic vistas. Certainly, this location, and it's many intricacies, is one of my favorite things about the entire Potter franchise. It's the coolest castle imaginable. Don't even try to imagine a cooler castle. Don't. Even.
3. The Score of John Williams
Recap: For those of you living in Pakistan, John Williams is an American composer who composed the soundtracks for the first three Harry Potter films. Massively respected in the film industry, he has frequently collaborated with George Lucas and Steven Spielberg to score such films as Jaws, E.T., Jurassic Park and the Indiana Jones and Star Wars sagas. Yes, you've heard his music.
Reason: Though he only composed the soundtracks for the first three films, his sonic footprint on the Potter franchise is indelible. John Williams scored these films absolutely flawlessly, and perfectly captured the mystical wonderment of the subject at hand. His themes flow in and out of every Potter film, and they never fail to perfectly augment the emotional push of the scene, whatever that particular emotional push might be.
2. Hermione Granger (Emma Watson)
Recap: The daughter of dentist Muggles. At the age of eleven, she became aware that she was a witch and had been accepted into Hogwarts School -- she was also placed into Gryffindor House. A brilliant student, Hermione became close with fellow students Harry Potter and Ron Weasley (but then, you knew that already). In her fourth year at Hogwarts, she was the driving force behind the creation of Dumbledore's Army, and fought in many important battles. Hermione also decided to skip out on her last year of school in order to accompany Harry and Ron on the quest to destroy Voldemort's Horcruxes.
Reason: She's winsome, adorable, cute, and other such redundant adjectives. Enough said.
1. Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe)
Recap: A half-blood wizard, the only child and son of James Potter and Lily Potter, and one of the most famous wizards of modern times (in his world, and ours). He's the sole survivor of the infamous Killing Curse (Voldemort tried to kill him when he was an infant, but failed of course). Harry was orphaned and taken in by his only remaining Muggle relatives, the Dursleys. At the age of eleven, Harry learned that he was a wizard. He began attending Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and was placed into Gryffindor House. While at school, Harry became best friends with Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger.
Harry became the youngest Seeker in over a century and eventually captain of his house's Quidditch team, winning two Quidditch Cups as part of the team. He became even better known in his early years for protecting the Philosopher's Stone from Voldemort and saving Ron's sister from the Chamber of Secrets. Harry played a significant role in many major battles and, perhaps most impressively, hunted down and destroyed Voldemort's Horcruxes with Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley (I suppose that's a SPOILER, but hey, everyone knows this stuff already, right?).
Reason: Yes, the number one thing I'll miss about Harry Potter is Harry Potter. He's just a great character. He's both weak and strong, conflicted and focused, confused and enlightened -- he's all of these things -- just like any teenager. Sure, he's a fictional wizard, but he's human, and people can identify with his humanity, they can relate to his being a "half-blood," and with all of his epic conflicts.
Not only is he a great character, but Daniel Radcliffe personified the role perfectly. I love Radcliffe's toothy grin, his boyish charm and his cheese-ball machismo, he was most definitely perfectly cast.
I've really enjoyed watching Radcliffe and his compatriots grow up on screen -- it was really fun returning to Hogwarts with each subsequent year. However, with the saga now complete, a bittersweet wisp of magical smoke is all that's left in its wake.
There’s the Top 7, now what should be in the Top 10?
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