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Ten Years Later Potter Mania Still Alive

photo credit: blogs.indiewire.com

Thunderbolt-shaped scars and maroon and yellow scarves were sported by muggles in packed movie theatres. After a decade following the story of a boy wizard and his friends, the journey is nearing its bittersweet end. “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1” opened Nov. 19 ready for fans to participate in the second to last installment.

What sets this film apart from other Potter films was the maturity, isolation, conclusions and emotional touches that run through it. No more is the nostalgia of Hogwarts, pumpkin juice or Quidditch padding Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger’s (Emma Watson) lives. They’ve severed themselves from family and most friends to embark in their civil war between good and evil. They rely upon each other as they find the Deathly Hallows and horcruxes that reason the end of Lord Voldemort.

“No one else is going to die – not for me!” says Potter in the film.

Director David Yates, who also did the fifth and sixth films in the series, plunges head-first into showcasing the grown-up angle on this film. He opens up with an agonizing scene where Lord Voldemort, Potter’s enemy, played by Ralph Fiennes, hangs a Hogwarts professor. Following that, there is a somber moment when Hermione casts a spell to erase herself from her parents’ memories.  Torture scenes consistently arise – one even including a member of the trio – that also sets the viewer on edge. This is not the wholesome Harry Potter from ten years ago.

“The anticipation has been intense,” said Francheska Jimenez, a junior English major who founded Stony Brook University’s Dumbledore’s Army. “We’ve discussed the movie at almost every meeting from analyzing the trailer to coming up with theories of what would be different from the book.”

On opening day, tickets had to be purchased hours in advance. By two in the morning, movie theatre parking lots were still filled. Jimenez attended the midnight showing where the “line was eventually out the door” – despite getting there two hours early.

“I personally didn’t dress up but there were so many people in costume that I almost regretted it,” Jimenez recalled of opening night. “Everyone seemed thrilled to be there and when the movie started, the theater was silent. But as soon as the title appeared, everyone applauded and cheered.”

Stony Brook University’s Quidditch team was also supporting Team Harry at midnight. Their group is comprised of over fifty members – half of whom attended the midnight showing.

“Anticipation has been no higher than any other group of people,” said freshman Biology major Dan Ahmadizadeh.  “The anticipation was more so for getting back to Stony Brook in time for the movie.”

Durring  the Quidditch World Cup in New York City, the Stony Brook Quidditch team beat teams from New York University and Johns Hopkins. Ahmadizadeh founded the Quidditch team at Stony Brook and also plays as a Chaser, one of the three on the team who are responsible for scoring, and serves as co-captain.

Aside from the restlessness prior to the movie, the film itself had moments of climactic apprehension, whispers of humor and compelling imagery. The most memorable scene was one written solely for the movie: Harry and Hermione dancing tenderly to the crackling music from the radio. It added a sliver of hope at a moment when all else seemed dark.

“It is even scarier than when the books ended because there will soon be no new Harry Potter to look forward too,” said freshman Psychology major, Matt Bracaglia, a member of Dumbledore’s Army, about the ending of the series.

The approaching end marks a point for a pop-culture phenomenon that has engraved itself in literature and film. Despite cracking the movie down the center, it ends on a sentimental yet villainous note. The emotion one may experience at the end may be the justice sought in our imaginations and lives after all these years.

The movie has already conjured $61.2 million in box office sales, according to ABC News. The next installment, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” is expected to release July 2011.

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