A sad lot, we Muggles, this bleak and lonely Monday. Our boy hero, in truth a man grown — the point reinforced by Daniel Radcliffe, elfin as ever but with a jawline visibly bristling with stubble — has come and gone, almost certainly never to return. The second part of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the film adaptation of the concluding novel in the epic fantasy series by J.K. Rowling, has stormed the multiplexes, bringing in an estimated $168.6 million, the richest opening weekend in American history, with an additional $157.5 million in overseas markets. But for those of us who spent the past decade eagerly anticipating the next installment, a certain void ballooned in the pits of our popcorn-filled stomachs the minute the credits began to roll.
It’s over, you see. No more morning trains to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, no more Sorting Hats, no more feasts washed down with pumpkin juice. No more skulking through the castle after hours, hidden in an invisibility cloak. No more squabbling between Ron and Hermione, no more snogging with Ginny Weasley, no more sneering from Draco Malfoy. No more broomsticks or boggarts, curses or Quidditch, potions or Petronuses. No more Hagrid, no more Dobby, no more McGonagall or Slughorn or Snape. Worst of all, no more Dumbledore.
Dumbledore, nevermore. It’s almost too much to bear.
Then again, the empty place in our bellies has been there, aching, since 2007, when the last of the Harry Potter books was published. There was always something anticlimactic about the movie versions. In a rare and perhaps unparalleled occurrence in our time, virtually everyone who saw the films had already read the novels (or had their plots recited to them by their children, with or without their consent), largely draining the movies of suspense. In the end, the films, which necessarily omitted much from the text — and took occasional liberties with it, though never of any consequence — were a sideshow to the main event. For all their special-effects wizardry and indelible performances (especially by the majestic Michael Gambon as Dumbledore, Alan Rickman as Snape and, in the finale, Ralph Fiennes as Lord Voldemort, an amalgam of Hitler and Milton’s Lucifer), the movies were never half as satisfying as the books, which conjured a world significantly more complex — darker and more ambiguous, more swathed in layers of symbolism and allegory — than anything possible in the cinema.Read the rest here.