I knew that C.S. Lewis and I had more in common than our Christianity when he said, "You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me." Welcome to a celebration of faith, tea, and the written word. I'm always engaged in a book, and whether it's one I'm reading or one of the inspirational historical romances I write, there's always a cup of tea close by. Join me in a cup as we chat about faith, our favorite books and the exciting places our reading and writing adventures take us.

Friday, July 15, 2011

An End to The Magic

Well, today's the day.

Oodles of people, myself included, will be both celebrating and mourning the release of the final film in the Harry Potter franchise, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2.

(Minor spoiler alerts ahead. Nothing big, but if you don't want to know anything, stop reading here.)

Even though I've read the books multiple times (yes, I know, I'm a geek) and I know how the story ends, I'm certain I'll jump out of my seat and shed a tear or two when I watch the film. How can I not? J.K. Rowling's novels about The Boy Who Lived are treasures in my home. While I respect the opinions of those who don't care for the series, we have found them to be more than entertaining, escapist, kid-lit in our house. The themes present in the novels have spurred discussions with our kids about universal topics: love, hate, death, loyalty, intelligence, and sacrifice. What happens when people see evil and do nothing. The bond of friendship, the power of forgiveness, the necessity of repentance. Why love and compassion matter.

You're a Wizard, Harry!
For anyone who hasn't kept up with the Harry Potter phenomenon, the series began in 1997 and follows an orphaned boy who learns that he isn't just a wizard, but The Most Famous Wizard Ever for surviving the curse which killed his parents and sent the evil Lord Voldemort into exile. Many of Voldemort's followers have dangerous plans for Harry, and when Voldemort himself comes back, it's only a matter of time before he and Harry face off for the battle where only one of them will survive. In the meantime, Harry goes through the joys and pains of growing up alongside his best friends, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger.

Harry, Ron, and Hermione aren't the only characters we readers have come to care about. The financially-poor but love-rich Weasleys are a delightful second-family to Harry. Mentor and headmaster Albus Dumbledore is a study in wisdom, care, and the long-term effects of carrying a burden of guilt. One of my favorites is the often-dissed Fleur Delacour, a self-absorbed beauty with hysterical lines extolling the virtues of France and her own good looks, but she's loyal, brave, and generous when it counts. As a writer, I wish I could spend an hour in J.K. Rowling's head to figure out how she creates such multi-dimensional, fun-to-read characters which are often short-shifted in the movies.

Neville holds the (bloody) Sword of Gryffindor
Personally, I hope to see a few scenes on the screen and hope they're accomplished with justice. While the film is full of action that is sure to be spectacular (breaking in--and out--of Gringott's and the Battle of Hogwarts), I'm anticipating scenes which are more emotional, both heart-breaking and empowering. There's one involving the memory of potions professor Severus Snape that will probably have me tearing up under my 3D glasses, as I'm sure I will be during a gut-wrenching death. Or two. Watching "round-faced" Neville Longbottom brandish the sword of Gryffindor is on my list, as is the comeuppance of psycho-Death Eater Bellatrix Lestrange, both sure to be cheer-aloud scenes. I'm also both anticipating and dreading the final scene of the movie, a bittersweet, tender moment which signals the end.

While there may not be any more Harry Potter books or movies forthcoming, I don't think my family's enjoyment of the series will end anytime soon. I am not exaggerating when I say that our hardback copies of Books 3 and 6 have fallen apart, and we'll be tuning in to J.K. Rowling's new website, Pottermore, when it launches in a few weeks. In the meantime, we'll be talking as a family, about love and good and evil...one of the greatest gifts we've received from Harry Potter.

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