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HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, PART 2

After ten years of donning capes and brandishing their wands, it must feel strange to the cast of The Harry Potter series to realize that it’s really and truly over. No more sequels, no more special appearances as members of England’s most famous fictitious wizarding world. As the movie posters promise: It All Ends.

As an unabashed fan, the ending is a little bittersweet. I finished the last book years ago when it was first released, so the final events themselves came as no surprise. But if longtime Harry Potter screenwriter Steve Kloves and director David Yates were ever to flex their creative powers and opt to leave out any major part of the book, I wish to god they had cut the final, awkwardly tacked on flash forward.

Even in the book the “19 years later” amendment feels gratuitous, as if JK Rowling couldn’t bear to part with her much beloved characters without giving them a tidily wrapped up sendoff. But in the film it plays like comedy, and the packed theatre I was in erupted in laughter the moment the clumsily aged young wizards enter the train platform with their matching kids in tow. Ron and Hermione have – shocker – redheads and Harry and Ginnny produce a pale, dark-haired boy that looks just like Harry did when he was a first year. Harry is aged with some hard-won stubble and arrives at platform 9 and 3/4 alongside a now unfortunately plump-faced and dowdy Ginny. Ron, with his middle-aged hair cut and pot belly, looks more like a used car salesman than anyone who could have played a major part in bringing down the most evil wizard in the world (Ron has always been my personal favorite, so this new look was a huge blow).

It’s a disappointing follow-up scene to the one that came before – the victory at Hogwarts. Harry has just come back from the freaking dead to vanquish Voldemort and save the world, but instead of reveling in that glory for a little while longer we’re whisked ahead and the next time we see our hero he has kids, a badly dressed wife and a day job. Imagine if Shakespeare hadn’t killed Romeo and Juliet, and the final scene of the play showed the couple 19 years later, putting away groceries and bickering over whose turn it was to do the dishes.

Still, I’ll probably go and see HPATDH2 again, but not for the story, which has all but been lost in the division of the last book into two movies, and unfortunately not for seeing the characters interact with one another, the much criticized strength of part 1, which has also been cut from the second half. I’ll go for the action scenes, which are in abundance and available in 3D, an option I don’t normally choose but if I don’t get to see Harry, Ron and Hermione hanging out or really even having a single conversation (Yates and Kloves bank off all the character development they’ve already slogged through in the first 7 films and evidently feel it’s enough already – except, oddly enough, for Neville Longbottom, who gets even more screen time than my bf Ron) and all I get is wizard-on-wizard, wands blazing, high intensity action, I’ll take it. After all, it’s the last bit of Harry Potter I’ll ever get.