Movies

10 Critical Thoughts About… Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I

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Highly specific observations on the seventh blockbuster epic in J.K. Rowling's
wizardry series.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I is the first installment of the two-part conclusion to the Harry Potter series. Harry is on the run from the bloodthirsty Lord Voldemort and the Death Eaters, who are committed to seeing the boy wizard die. Harry, Hermione, and Ron spend their time hiding from evil while also searching for Horcruxes, magical objects that could lead to Voldemort's demise. 

1. Things get intense right away.
The previous installments of this series usually feature a series of goofy hijinks between the opening credits and Harry's arrival to Hogwarts. But as those who've read the books know, there's not much room for levity in this movie's story, and Harry never even gets to Hogwarts because he's too busy trying not to get murdered.

2. I know an alarming number of spells.
From easy-peasy stuff like lumos to slightly more complicated maneuvers like expecto patronum, watching Hallows made me realize that I've memorized by heart a considerable amount of magical mumbo-jumbo. While this is surely standard for the hardcore dress-up-for-the-midnight-screening devotees, I'm merely a casual fan. So the fact that I've somehow earned a fractional Hogwarts education is a testament to how deeply these British stories have embeeded themselves into American culture.

3. Fred and George are sharp dressers — perhaps too sharp.
The rakish Weasley twins are, by most accounts (though not all), the most handsome of their clan, and they've got style to boot. Here, particularly in the early scenes, the boys don their Sunday best, wearing outfits that seem more likely to be found in a BlackBook fashion spread than on a pair of middle-class brothers who run a joke shop. It feels a little iffy, but then again, this whole movie looks like a Barney's catalogue (see #7).

4. There will be blood.
Hallows isn't gory, of course, but there is a fair bit of blood. It drips down people's faces, it dries on people's hands, it stains people's clothes. So, yeah, prepare for that.

5. Ginny Weasley is really hot.
I can say that. I checked.

6. Things get gangster-y.
It's weird to associate Harry Potter with HBO dramas like The Sopranos and The Wire. Yet Hallows — especially a certain diner scene — conjures the morbid apprehension typically associated with gritty gangster fare. It's like the third act of Goodfellas, except with Horcruxes instead of cocaine.

7. So. Much. Outerwear.
Not to keep harping about their outfits, but, my goodness, the wardrobe department behind this movie really earned its keep. The central trio of Harry, Hermione, and Ron travel to a number of places in the British Isles, all of them cold. And because apparently all British women are more or less Mary Poppins, Hermione has a bottomless purse full of garments to keep her and her boys warm. Each day, they wear something new: tweed blazers, fisherman sweaters, lambswool turtlenecks, cashmere v-necks, wool peacoats, herringbone pullovers — it's as though they think outerwear alone will protect them from Lord Voldemort.

8. Draco Malfoy has seen a lot of things.
Sure, Harry's been through a lot, but he's less of a spectator and more of a combatant. But Malfoy? Dude's seen some crazy shit. What Mexicans call El Día de los Muertos, this kid calls Tuesday. Which just means that the kraut-goth band he'll inevitably start in college will be all the more sick.

9. Don't expect too much to happen…
As you know, this is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I, which is a fancy (and lucrative) way of saying, "You have absolutely no right to be annoyed if nothing consequential happens, because this is just a means to an end."

10. …But someone dies.
"Who is it?!" you ask. I won't tell, of course, but unless you're Voldemort Jr. or something, you should probably bring a tissue.