We are approaching the end of an era. In just eight short months, fans and fanatics of the Harry Potter series will see it all come to a close with part 2 of the Deathly Hallows movie, set to hit theaters July 15, 2011. Sentimentality has already hit the Harry Potter fan community as they look back over the last nine years of cinematic history. In nine years, we bid a fond farewell to Sir Richard Harris, we watched Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint and the rest of the cast grow from awkward ‘tweens into graceful adults, we have laughed, we have cried, we have loathed Death Eaters and admired Professors.
In nine years, we’ve watched the movies and rewatched the movies, on DVD, on the ABC Family channel marathons, and we’ve inevitably chosen our favorite scenes of all, the ones that bring us to tears, break our hearts, make us laugh until we hurt, make us cheer like the Quidditch fans we all are. These are my Top 5 Cinematic Harry Potter Moments:
Number 5: “Master has given Dobby a sock.” (Toby Jones, voicing Dobby the House Elf in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets) Just thinking about it gets me a little choked up. Sweet house elf Dobby opens Lucius’ book to find a sock tucked neatly between the pages and his Kewpie Doll eyes start to glisten with tears of joy and so do mine. Behind him and without him ever knowing, young, clever Harry raises his pant leg to show Lucius his bare, unsocked ankle, a knowing grin spreading across his face, and I can’t help but smile right along with him.
Number 4: “Good? That was bloody brilliant!” (Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) Sometimes the scriptwriters change things from the way they were in the book, ever so slightly, but that tiny little change can make or break the whole film. In the Prisoner of Azkaban book, Hermione Granger slaps Draco Malfoy for insulting their teacher, Rubeus Hagrid. In the film…she punches him. “You foul, loathsome, evil little cockroach!” prefaces a mean right cross from the up-until-then goody-two-shoes and it is punctuated by a declaration that “That felt good.” And a raucous “Attagirl!” from me.
Number 3: “More than one innocent life could be saved.” (Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) The getaway. I love Sirius Black. He’s tied for my favorite character, ironically, with his cousin and murderer, Bellatrix Lestrange. Every time I watch the Prisoner of Azkaban, I feel a kind of inexplicable swelling of pride and accomplishment (is that what it is?) when Sirius and Buckbeak the hippogriff fly away from Hogwarts to freedom.
Number 2: A thousand points of light. (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince) I got into reading the books late so Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was the first movie I saw AFTER reading the book so I went in knowing how it was going to end. For me, the lump in my throat started to form as Harry touched Dumbledore’s face, it grew bigger as Ginny tried to console him, I choked on it as Hermione started to cry, but when Minerva McGonagall held her lighted wand in the air, it was all over. I’m crying now just thinking about it. No joke, kids.
And finally, number 1, the best for last: “Expecto Patronum” (Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) Is it possible that the Prisoner of Azkaban is my favorite Harry Potter movie? Perhaps. That same swelling feeling of pride and accomplishment I feel when Sirius and Buckbeak fly free of the castle, I also get when time-turner Harry figures out that it was his stag patronus, not his father’s, that saved Sirius and himself from the Dementors. It gets me a little choked up and all giddy smiley. I love that feeling and that’s what makes this my favorite scene of all in the first six Harry Potter movies.