Well, here we are, dear readers.

The end of the line, the final flick.


I have officially seen all of the Harry Potter movies and am now prepared to make an emotional and bittersweet assessment of their importance to the fantasy genre. Remember how that was the point of all this? My goodness how far we’ve come together.

So I will not lie, I was sad going into this last film. I knew that a lot of people I liked were going to die, and not in that dumb “Game of Thrones” kind of way where you just shout “Oh my god, I can’t believe that happened” at the television, in the I actually like these characters enough to show the traditional emotion for human sadness kind of way; traditional human emotions overall being a rather new experience for me.

Now, if the last movie was more of what I wished the rest of the films had been like, this movie was what I wished the last movie had been more like. I can definitely see why these were split up. Coincidentally, this is also the best constructed film in the entire series, from script to execution. It also was able to bring really seamless humor back into the action, giving these characters more life and, for lack of a better term, character, than a lot of them have previously been able to display. It was a lovely change and tempered very nicely with the drama.

The opening of this film decided to abandon the traditional John Williams celesta riff we’ve all one to know and love with, surprisingly enough, a more traditional “Lord of the Rings” sounding overture. The music change alone was such a dramatic shift that I found myself snuggling deeper into my couch in excitement. We get a quick little recap that Voldemort has the Elder Wand, which he has stolen out of the fantastic modern deco lakeside apartment that they clearly based Oscar Isaac’s house in “Ex Machina” on, which also happens to be Albus Dumbledore’s grave.


Showing the demeanors circling the castle, making it clear that this was essentially Nazi territory, was a really powerful and effective touch.

We are whisked away from the harrowing image of a now occupied educational facility to an awkward English seaside cottage where the Hux Weasley brother and his Goblet wife have set up shop with Harry and his ragtag, recently rescued friends.

The “I forgot you were important” goblin who also happened to be rescued from the last film is there, and naturally decides that now is the perfect time to be continuously cryptic despite there being Nazis literally everywhere. Why he was being such a prick was wildly unclear to me, especially since this race of beings was all but set dressing from the first film. That being said, he is the Mr. Toad to the wild ride that is apparently the entire gang needs to sneak into Bellatrix’s bank vault because there is probably another horcrux in there. They also agree to give this Golbin the only thing that seems to destroy horcruxes for the sake of finding a horcrux. I can’t decide if they didn’t think that one through or if they just left out a speech about Harry explaining they wouldn’t need it anymore because he had a cunning plan.

Harry also takes a moment to have John Hurt Story Time and we get to learn more about wands, something that I would have loved to have learned about more in depth before we were in the final chapter of this series, but hey, at least I’m getting it now. Harry has stolen Draco and Bellatrix’s wands and Ollivander explains, without the use of so many words, that essentially, wands are like prison wives. You beat the crap out of a dude in the yard, his prison wife will change allegiances and become your prison wife. That being said, there are exceptions to every rule, as Bellatrix’s wand is deemed “unyielding” by Ollivander. I took this to mean that Bellatrix was too scary of a prison husband to leave, which makes more sense than I wanted it to.


He also puts the very realistic and most John Hurt logic before Harry, explaining that while he totally doesn’t believe in the Deathly Hallows, if Voldemort has in fact gotten his hands on the Elder Wand, Harry’s pretty much dead.

On that grim note, Harry and his surly goblin companion don the cloak that we just don’t talk about clearly being one of the Deathly Hallows, as Hermione puts on the worst couldn’t-be-bothered acting performance of Bellatrix Lestrange for the Gringotts bank crew, rivaled only by Ron’s “Cloud Atlas” beard.


Thankfully, someone recognized my next statement, which is that I feel like teenagers shouldn’t be able to heist a bank with high school level magic that easily. After they some-crazy-how trick the bank employees into letting them on Disneyland’s Indiana Jones Adventure ride, they take a tumble through the depths of the bank. Their disguises are revealed by, you know, bank security, but it seems to be a little too late as they are already at Bellatrix’s vault and proceed to just burgle the place.

Upon entering the vault, we discover that the next horcrux is, you guessed it ladies and gentlemen, a flipping cup. Because thanks to Arthurian lore being so ingrained into fantasy, they’re always a good, grail-like cup. I’m not really sure what made the cup important in this case, as they did not take the time to mention what significance it might hold before boobytraps set in, creating a Smaug-like mountain of treasure crap for Harry to have to fight against to get it. At the last minute, like so much Alfred Molina in Raiders, their goblin companion takes the Gryffindor sword and proclaims that he never told them he would help them get out of the bank, before running off and calling security.

Thankfully, Gringotts has an albino Bank Dragon, who is officially my favorite creature in all of these films. Hermione frees Bank Dragon and they all jump on his back while he slaughters his petty goblin captors before bursting through the roof and all four ride off into the sunset.

For the record, I would have watched a whole film about the adventures of Harry Potter and the Bank Dragon. Sadly, we don’t always get our way in life.


Voldemort can feel it every time a horcrux gets destroyed, so we are quickly shifted to his temper tantrum at Malfoy Manor, where he has killed the remaining Gringotts employees who could not prevent the theft of his horcrux. Another charming extra of this scene, Jason Isaac’s 5 o’clock shadow does not disappoint. It is decided that it’s time to full on invade Hogwarts to make sure that the horcrux he has hidden there remains safe. But because of Harry’s and V-Man’s Vulcan mind meld, Harry gets the inside mental scoop that the other horcrux is probably at Hogwarts.

Harry and gang Apparate to Hogsmeade, where they are immediately met by alarm spells set up by Death Eaters. It’s literally just parachuting into enemy territory and running, and it was very compelling to watch as the whole sequence really did play out like a classic World War II country village fight. In fact, a lot of this battle reminded me of the guerrilla tactic fighting that was reported to have been used by those trying to fight within and free Nazi occupied France.

They are almost captured, before being pulled into a home to hide by none other than Dumbledore’s weird, previously unmentioned until the last film but it was super brief, brother.

This is the only part about this film that I genuinely didn’t like, and not just because I’m not a Dumbledore gal. Dropping in a whole character backstory like that in literally the final part of this huge epic story that’s not about Albus Dumbledore is a remarkably odd choice and it really chopped up the action of this film in an odd way. The pacing from start to this point had been so genuinely seamless, but suddenly we had to not just pump, but slam on the breaks of the narrative so that we could learn about Albus Brian Dumbledore’s estranged brother and tragic sister backstory, but not really. I will say, I enjoyed Aberforth Dumbledore for one reason and one reason alone. He knew his brother was a real piece of shit. The only thing we really get out of this scene is that this house is also another secret entrance to Hogwarts, which seems awfully strange for the old headmaster’s estranged brother to have in his home. I chose not to dwell on the matter.

Neville meets up with Alpha Squad Prime at the portrait front of the passage a little worse for wear. Apparently the Death Eater faculty floggings have continued until morale improves, so most of the students we have met up to this point who have had an association with Harry Potter have taken to hiding in the Room of Requirement all year. In a scene where Harry has finally earned the hero applause he receives when entering a room, he is met with it and then some as everyone is relieved that he, Ron and Hermione are still alive.

They all want to help and all sit down to pow-wow over what the next horcrux might be. Someone suggests that maybe this one might have to do with Ravenclaw, which didn’t make much sense to me, but I figured something was lost in translation here from book to film. My darling Luna Lovegood suggests that maybe it could be Rowena Ravenclaw’s diadem, where they then proceed to have a three minute long conversation about what a diadem is.


But of course Cho “Why Are You Even Still Here” Chang has to point out that no one alive has ever seen it. Because she is a Negative Nancy buzzkill lady.

But speaking of Harry’s nebulous lady adventures, Ginny walks into the room. This is followed by yet another moment of my inane shouting at the television for Harry Potter to hug his flipping girlfriend like a goddamn normal person. She however is here to reveal that the now Headmaster Snape is aware that Harry is somewhere in the castle and is calling for a school wide assembly in the Great Hall.

We get a super nifty sequence of the Hogwarts students’ equivalency of goose stepping. They’re all very soldierly and it’s really a great little throw back to all the World War imagery that has been ever consistent throughout these films.

We get a classic evil dude speech calling for those with information to reveal the location of the hero-in-question, lest they be met with punishment. They gave Alan Rickman the most eye makeup to date in this film, so honestly it was hard to concentrate on the speech itself. I mostly just got the cadences.


Harry reveals himself amongst the students, giving a hero speech to parry Snape’s evil guy one just before the Order of the Phoenix busts in. For a series of guys who had a literal whole previous book named after them, they’ve really only been notably useful in a handful of situations. Snape attempts an attack, but is blocked by Professor Mc Friggin’ Gonagal, who here in the eleventh hour has finally decided to nut up and be known for more than just being the lady with fabulous hair who is way to into Quidditch. This causes Snape to GTFO and Apparate, just in time for Voldemort to mentally project his voice into literally everyone in the castle, giving the oh so classic ultimatum (strikingly similar to the one we just heard) of “just give me Harry Potter and all y’all can go free”.

At this point in time, I have to say I was genuinely disappointed in the next part, though for the sake of pacing I can see as to why it was, hopefully, just simplified to this.

Some weird girl from Slytherin House shrieks for someone to grab Harry. I would have thought it would have been pretty clear at this point in time that this wasn’t going to happen, but here we are. The result of her over the top screeching is that they decide to detain the entirety of Slytherin House in the dungeons, while literally the rest of the school applauds. As someone who discovered that they are a Slytherin at the beginning of this process and doesn’t fancy themselves a complete racist piece of two dimensional garbage, I would like to point out that this kind of treatment is what gives good Slytherin boys and girls complexes and is a terrible teaching method. But hey, what do I know.

Regardless, the castle begins to ready itself for battle like so much cool Helm’s Deep. If I’ve called the magic work in Yate’s past films good, everything about the Battle of Hogwarts is disgustingly, transcendently inspired.

Molly Weasley is here to prove the cannon fodder, I mean calvary, are in fact present and ready to do their part for the good of the story. Maggie Smith proceeds to bring the giant statues of Hogwarts to life in an awesome little sequence, and then giggles about how she’s always wanted to use the spell that made it possible. It was the most precious war preparation ever. Meanwhile, Molly, Slughorn and the choir teacher who’s name I honestly never caught cast the coolest flipping shield around the school. After that, I was ready to rock and roll.

But first. Harry storms off in the most Harry Potter fashion towards the Ravenclaw dormitories hoping to find a clue, where he is thankfully stopped by Luna. I genuinely, constantly appreciate that her character is not only recurring, but much like Neville Longbottom, she continues to be useful. She recommends to Harry that perhaps, since no one alive has ever seen the diadem, perhaps someone dead has. Some pretty sound advice, honestly.

She takes Harry to meet Helena Ravenclaw, the now-ghost daughter of the house founder, who I was giddy to discover was played by vastly under appreciated Kelly Macdonald. This sequence was a nice way of showing the ghosts of the castle, who quite frankly I had forgotten existed, were actually relevant to the plot and not just dropped as cool ideas from the first two stories. After some arguing with an overly sensitive dead lady, who thankfully isn’t as crazy as Moaning Myrtle, it is revealed that the diadem is hidden in “the room where everything is hidden”.

So you know, the room where everyone hides all of their secret crap in these movies. Quite frankly I’m surprised we didn’t start looking there when all this horcrux shit started to go down.

Thankfully Ron and Hermione are on top of their shit, having already made their way down to the almost completely forgotten Chamber of Secrets to snag a leftover dead Basilisk fang. There’s a drop in of how Ron can totally speak parseltongue now because apparently Harry talks in his sleep, which I’m pretty sure is not how parseltongue works, but at this point, fuck it. They grab only one fang, which considering how much Hermione loves to over prepare, I found to be an overwhelmingly poor decision.


They use it to destroy the cup, which triggers a super tsunami within the chamber that they narrowly escape, and then proceed to have some quality kiss-face time before returning, you know, to war.

We’re met with the burning of the Quidditch Pitch, because all wartime distractions be damned now, as Voldemort and his army descend upon the school. They launch a magical volley at the shield, which was magnificent to watch, before the V-Man dissolves it completely and this super cool ultimate battle begins.

It seems like this did a little bit of damage to the Elder Wand, but there had been no indication up until this point that a damaged wand was really going to make much of a difference against Harry. I’m assuming that was a book moment.

A beautiful battle ensues. We see giants, spiders, giant spiders, Death Eaters, students, literally every little piece that could be crammed in from the past, they made relevant if not just for a moment in this amazing battle throughout the school. Apart from being the coolest magic battle I have ever seen put to film, it’s a really dynamic war battle, as it has to be fought within the three dimensions of a the school, as compared to just wave after wave of dudes clanging against each other on a flat field.

Harry rejoins the group, the group in this case being Ginny and Neville, where Neville in a triumphant moment of awesome decides that he’s going to go find Luna because he’s got a crush on her and wants her to know in case one and/or both of them die because why not.

At this, my cold, unfeeling witch heart finally melted and I became a real girl, squealing from happiness and joy.


Harry, upon seeing that visual affection might be the way to show that you have romantic feelings towards another individual, finally kisses his girlfriend before heading to the Room of Requirement. It is remarkably stagnant and far less cute and I continue to be furious that this is the point of Ginny Weasley.

But there, after grading the damn tiara, Harry is met by Draco, who I can now honestly say is a completely underutilized character in these films. There’s a lot of interesting stuff to work with that just constantly gets skirted around. “Half-Blood Prince” spoiled me into wanting to learn more about this kid, only to have his treatment in this final film be luke-warm at best. He’s basically steamrolled by Goyle, who has been nothing but a henchman up until this point in time, before being interrupted by Ron and Hermione rejoining the fight. Goyle casts a fire spell that oh so quickly spirals out of control and the whole room is set ablaze, causing the dynamic trio to have to save their childhood bullies.

The diadem is destroyed in the fire, thusly causing Voldemort to throw an even more epic shit fit, resulting in the death of his puppet Minister of Magic. This moment of weakness also gives Harry insight to the fact that the last horcrux is Nagini the snake.

I would like to take a moment at this time to gloat, because I got all those goddamn horcruxes right. If that doesn’t prove that JK Rowling blatantly ripped off another fantasy series, I don’t know what to tell you people.

We proceed to have the trio run through the castle, showing a portion of the devastation this battle continues to reap, part of which is another prediction of mine come to life as it is revealed that Colorname Colorname is being eaten by a wolf man.

Hundreds of demeanors suddenly descend, and I am reminded that it has still never been explained why these terrifying pillars of prison law and order are controlled by Voldemort or the Death Eaters. It continues to be wildly unclear. Theirs are the only, shall we call them magical rules of this universe, that are vastly under defined. I hope that this was made clear in the books, as it continues to task me like so much Khan Noonien Singh. Regardless, the battle rages on.

The gang runs down to the boathouse where Harry saw Nagini in his mind, only to stumble upon Voldemort and Snape having some serious wand talk. After a brief reminder about prison wife wand rules, Voldemort straight up slits Snape’s throat with magic and while I have had ambiguous feelings at best about this character, it was pretty brutal to watch. Harry takes a moment to awkwardly collect Snape’s tears, which is a super weird request even if they are technically memories, before leaning over and super creepily whispers “You have your mother’s eyes”, before dying.


Thankfully we get some almost immediate payoff on an explanation of that because it is, and I cannot stress this enough, the creepiest thing you can whisper to a person who literally knows next to nothing about you before you die. Like it almost sounds like a clickbait list line of just the creepiest last words.

Anyways, at this point in time we get another internal Voldemort megaphone voice across the entire battlefield, as he puts on his benevolent dictator pants and declares that his enemies may take time to bury their dead with dignity. I will say, they do a really great job of making this guy charismatic, despite have a misshapen baby penis head for a face.

As the trio comes back through the castle, it is revealed that at least 2 of my friends owe me fifty bucks, because I called 3 out of 4 of these flipping deaths. Lavender Brown? Boom, super dead. One Weasley twin? Nailed it. And I was wishy washy on if it would be one or both of the Lupin/Tonks situation, so I’m willing to just take the win at just one for that one, despite it technically having been both.

But while I was joyously celebrating my bets over the death of fictional characters, Harry has an existential crisis about it, bringing him to contemplate life, love and war in Dumbledore’s old office, conveniently where the Pensive is. It is here where, and I thought it had been the Dumbledore thing but hot damn if I wasn’t surprised to learn, SEVERUS SNAPE’S ACTUAL WEIRD DEAL.


Apparently there’s this super intricate backstory with Snape and Harry’s mom being childhood friends. They were also apparently friends who lived in a Miss Peregrin’s novel, because that flashback sequence was different from any other flashback sequence they had shot to date. But the pensive memory follows from them both being accepted to Hogwarts where they were sorted into different houses and eventually, as puberty hit and Snape developed a crush, he lost her to his childhood bully, James Potter. It is revealed that Snape’s patronus is a doe, representative of Lilly Potter, the idea of which was probably the most romantic thing written into these stories. It is a very interesting backstory, and one where now I can see why so many people have mixed feelings about it.

The version that they played on screen was actually very sweet, a young boy who just never really stopped loving his high school crush and grew up, only to try protect her during a time of war when he came across her years later. That being said, and since I haven’t read the books I don’t really feel super comfortable speculating on this, that sweetness could turn real sour fast if he was a more of a friend zone-y creeper in the books. It really, genuinely makes me wish they had taken the time to fill out more Marauders stuff in these stories.

All I have is the information portrayed on screen, which honestly was a very nice cap and really beautiful surprise for the story arc overall.


Oh, and I guess it’s also revealed that he was a double agent the whole time and also Harry is, you guessed it, the final horcrux.

Harry tries to make his way to the Forbidden Forest to final countdown with Voldemort, but is stopped by Ron and Hermione. They chat about what he’s about to do, and there’s a nice moment where Harry points out that Hermione obviously already figured this out. He tells them to stay behind to kill Nagini and Harry determinedly walks out into the forest.

Without finding, or hugging, his fucking girlfriend.

Harry Potter is the worst romantic lead of all time.


While walking through the woods, he for some reason pulls out the the snitch that Dumbledore gave him and admits that he is ready to die, and as if that was the magic fucking phrase, the snitch that Dumbledore gives him opens up as its cryptic message of “I open at the close” finally makes sense, and the resurrection stone of Deathly Hallows fame is inside.

We get an remarkably creepy and staggeringly unnecessary ghost scene with everyone who has died because of Harry surrounding him and telling him that death isn’t so bad. It is also revealed that Remus had a son, which because it was previously unmentioned I think could have been the first thing cut from a first draft of this script. But the death pow-wow thankfully ends as quickly as it begins.

The act itself is actually brief. They semicircle it out, Hagrid is there for some reason, and then Harry just closes his eyes and Voldemort blasts the crap out of him.

Harry apparently enters the Matrix to join a misshapen Volde-baby and Dumble-Gandalf. I feel like this was great for kids who read the books, but like the four different endings of “The Return of the King”, as a non-book person this sequence was odd, to say the least. We get a little speech about how it was more than fate that brought Voldemort and Harry together. At this point in time I just shouted, “WAS IT MAGIC?!” at the television and proceeded to sing Final Countdown and do Gob from “Arrested Development” magic hands until the scene was over.

Harry re-awakens because resurrection stone, but plays dead for Voldemort. We get a cool Mama Bear moment with Narcissa Malfoy, my favorite underutilized evil Disney Queen, where she fakes stating that Potter is dead to the Death Eaters as Harry indicates that Draco has been kept alive.

They do a big parade back to Hogwarts to show the other side the body of their now dead leader, hoping for the effect of surrender. This does not happen, as Neville Longbottom is once again a friggin’ boss, shouting “I have something to say”, forever instilling in my mind that I demand he be cast as Kurgan in the “Highlander” reboot. He gives an awesome speech, resulting in an epic moment of pulling the Sword of Gryffindor of out of the sorting hat, like Harry was able to do in the Chamber of Secrets. This was actually a nice payoff moment for something I had originally deemed stupid and machina-esque. I’m glad to be wrong.

Ginny Weasley finally gets a moment of acting, as she is witness to her now dead boyfriend. Also Draco, who has been standing with the Hogwarts students, kind of has a weird sheepish moment of retreating back to his mother.

This character got no pay off, it makes me furious.

But, Harry quickly reveals that he is alive, Neville being the super bamf that he is, kills Nagini and the crew quickly retreats inside the castle. The Death Eaters began to abandon Voldemort and Narcissa and Malfoy literally walk out of their poorly executed storyline. Lucius is poorly coaxed by Bellatrix to stay but after all that has happened he just runs off to join his family.

We get our final awesome super magic showdown. Bellatrix is killed by Molly, which was a nice classism duality moment. It wasn’t the most organic moment though, so once again I assume this was a bit for book people. But due to more weird wand allegiance complications Harry emerges triumphant and Voldemort is erased from existence for real real this time. Cake and party hats for all.

I wish wands had been more important earlier, as this stuff would have seemed less like a mental chess game and more natural within this universe.

The result of this battle is that Harry inherits the Elder Wand, but rather than, I don’t know, burning it for example, he breaks it in half and throws it in the lake around Hogwarts, thusly ensuing that in about 20 years, someone will win the rights to Harry Potter off of JK Rowling in a duel and produce the next round of books, as more young Hogwarts students find the want pieces and proceed to fix it.


But as if that wasn’t enough, we get a weird epilogue with this movie! In a series of revelations that the budget was all used on magic VFX and removing Ralph Fiennes’ nose in every shot that he was in, 19 years later we are shown the worst old age makeup to ever be applied to 20 year olds. It’s so bad in fact, that they only use it on half the actors, which they try to fix by just giving those actors a different haircut. A series of ugly children are paraded in front of the Hogwarts Express as proof that all of the trio have, in fact, had sex in the past 19 years. For some reason Draco and his unknown wife are there, everyone seems to be shockingly ok with this considering the wet fart he kind of left on. Luna and Neville and what I can only assume are their pageant ready babies are nowhere to be found.

That being said, we get a cute moment as Harry’s son asks what happens if he gets sorted into Slytherin. It is revealed that the child’s name is Albus Severus Potter and I cracked a smile because that’s pretty nice. Harry gives a nice response that snake people are good people, and the children are sent on their way, parents watching adoringly.


So there we had it folks. I have officially done what I set out to do. Would I consider myself a Harry Potter fan now? I would say yes. Also to answer many an inquisitive mind, I will be going back and reading the books over the holidays.

But I do want to get back to my original reasoning for doing this series of Mel at the Movies, which you all have been so lovely to join me for. Considering that this is the highest grossing film franchise of all time and, by the conclusion of the “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” prequels, soon to be the longest fantasy film franchise of all time, is Harry Potter really worth all of the hype it has received in becoming an international phenomenon, and how does it hold up to a modern fantasy standard.

Here at the end of my watch through, there are only two conclusions that I can keep coming back to.

Conclusion the first:

These are not well written stories. They’re sloppy, and I don’t need to have read the books to have come to this conclusion. The number one thing that was unexpected but staggeringly obvious throughout my watch through, was that each story seemed to be out of order considering what had happened in the previous installation. The love stories are two dimensional at best, if even necessary. I genuinely don’t think the story needed any of them.

I’ve mentioned this since my watch of “Deathly Hallows Part 2” to a few of my die-hard Harry Potter pals and I’ve been given a litany of excuses as to why that is, but quite frankly, I don’t really care, as this is part of what I was out to see. Without the bias of childhood nostalgia, I think that this is something important worth noting. A Dr. Seuss book has a better linear narrative than the Harry Potter franchise. While the books themselves I’m sure have more fleshed out details, as an adult reader and analyst of literature it’s pretty clear that JK Rowling is not a good writer; she was a lady with an idea.

Conclusion the second:

Here’s the thing though, and it makes me academically furious to say this, all of that doesn’t matter. That idea that JK Rowling had? It was literally genre shattering.

Whether you like them or not, the Harry Potter films are the most important thing to happen to fantasy nerds. It’s impossible for me not to hold a reverence to the series, if not just for that fact.

Being a fantasy fan used to be purely academic. Pre-galfridian traditions that would later lead to the solidifications of Arthurian lore, The Chronicles of Narnia, or The Lord of the Rings trilogy was something to be discussed over a tea with friends, presumably with giant arm chairs and a fireplace.

In the 1920s, the early films “A Trip to the Moon” and “Tarzan of the Apes” were released, and that was technically how the fantasy film genre was born. The 70s saw a smattering of flicks, but it wasn’t until 1986 when “Labyrinth” and “Legend” were released in America that the more modern definition of fantasy movies was really solidified in everyone’s brains. They were whimsical, they were odd, they were often times confused with bodice rippers.

This was also the year though that the Satanic Panic, for those of you who are fans of the game Dungeons and Dragons, was at its peak. There was literally a 60 Minutes special done talking about how children who dressed up in wizard robes, performing magic, were destroying the very fabric of the country. There was a campaign to check your children’s sock drawer for wands, spell books, and dungeon manuals, and what to do if you found them. I wish I was making this up. This is where so much of that anti-nerd based material of interest really got solidified in American minds. It’s why when you watch a TV show, if you see kids playing D&D, it is universally acknowledged that those kids are clearly huge fucking nerds. After that, liking fantasy meant you were different, possibly dangerous due to your anti-social nature of needing to escape into a fantasy word, and should be treated differently.

By the time “The Lord of the Rings” film trilogy came around, New Line Cinemas knew it would be a money maker, but that was the result of what Weta was doing for film overall, not so much just the fantasy genre. Those films are dripping with accolades for really putting in the work to make an awe inspiring movie with an epic, coherent tale behind it. But overall as a fan of the original literature that this awe inspiring cinematic feat was a vehicle for, I was still shoved in a locker for liking those movies in high school. This was literally an internationally recognized, phenomenally important film series for the way we look at how to make future media, but it didn’t matter because it was still cloaks, swords, weird languages, and creatures. And that shit was for nerds.

After having seen all of these films now, I’d say I can soundly argue that Harry Potter’s world is what made the fantasy genre relatable to non-geeks, therefore making it a traditionally socially acceptable genre again. These books didn’t need to be academically sound, or award winning, or quite frankly, well written, because the journey is not what we connect to. We’ve connected to the characters and their world.

For starters, these films provided a very different, violent, and visceral look at how magic can be used. Until this point in time, the mass populous’ idea of what magic in a movie looked like was the traditional shitty wizard-off we all remember between Gandalf and Saruman involving lots of spinning and vague acts of swinging a staff. The amount of parodies on how ridiculous this fight was on the internet is staggering. But as the Harry Potter films progressed, the magic only got cooler, we’re given an arsenal of more interesting ways to use spells. We can fight, protect, grow things, change our appearances, even fly. We’re even given ways of literally letting non Native American people discover their flipping spirit animal. These films helped magic become cool. That is super important.

The world of Hogwarts and Diagon Alley, Gringotts and the Burrow, are places that we can drop ourselves into and choose to live out our own stories. We can wear the uniform and interact with Harry and Ron in our minds, or go to Hogsmeade to have a butterbeer and catch up with our friends in other houses. For relating back to nerds, this was a world you didn’t have to go to a Renaissance Fair or a LARP to be a part of, you could build it in your living room. Y’all didn’t have to dig into the bowels of the internet the way I did with my early age “Lord of the Rings” fandom, it’s at your fingertips. Harry Potter holds the number one slot on FanFiction.net for fic based on a book series, clocking in at a whopping 775K, beating out Twilight for first place by a full 500K. I bet similar statistics stand on most fan based sites.The actual sandbox of the created universe is more traditionally relatable and because of that, fans not only can, but are more actively inspired to build our own narratives.

But most importantly, and this is honestly what really drives so much of this home, you don’t have to wear the uniform. These films presented a world where it was so common for them to not be in their school uniforms, in conjunction with the work that had been done to make magic cool, every non fantasy person who was dragged to a Harry Potter movie from “Prisoner of Azkaban” onwards wasn’t being taken to a traditional fantasy movie. After being shown for so long that wizards were elderly wise men with beards and stupid hats and basically wore dresses, they were being taken to a movie where magic was different and badass, and you could do it in jeans and a tee shirt. There is now a visual normalization of the fantasy genre. That’s genuinely unprecedented on a scale this large, until now. Ten years ago if you said you played D&D to a person, they’d look at you like you had three heads and asked if you had to wear a costume while you played. Now if you say you play D&D, people might give you a moment of weird before having the revelation of “Oh yeah, like Harry Potter or something”.

What a fucking time to be alive, dear readers.

So, normally as you all know, I would end with some final thoughts, but we at Rogues Portal have a special treat for you all.


This coming Saturday, if you are able, come join me at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood! I will be exploring Hogsmeade with my newly acquired Harry Potter knowledge, and would love to share my final thoughts with all of you, in person, over a nice english breakfast at the Three Broomsticks.

Information for the Meet Up can be found by clicking the link below:


December 10, 2016
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood
10:00AM – 2:00PM

So thank you all for coming on this wonderful journey with me. It has truly been a pleasure. I’m proud to now be able to wave my wand and throw on my scarf with the rest of the world as I can honestly say,

I have seen every Harry Potter film!  

(And I know Snape’s weird deal)

Melinda Gross

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