This is it, the first titanic installment of the Deathly Hallows, the final book in the popular series was split into two separate films, and worked to wrap everything up in a suitable fashion for Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione (Emma Watson), Ron (Rupert Grint) and all their friends, allies and enemies as everything races to its epic-sized climax.
Harry, Hermione, and Ron leave their homes (Hermione obliviates her parents’ memory so that they won’t remember her, and therefore be protected from the villainous Death Eaters who look down on non-magical humans, muggles) in hopes of tracking down the horcruxes into which Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) has split his soul so that he may remain immortal, even as the evil magician cements his power over the magical world.
Their journey will try them emotionally, uniting them, and forcing them apart, as they pursue their goals, while friends and family fall around them.
Still reeling from Dumbledore’s (Michael Gambon) death, Harry is a little unsure of himself, one of the horcruxes he is carrying and sharing with Ron and Hermione is increasing his hatred and anger, and theirs as well, driving stakes between them, but if they destroy it, and the others, will it reunite them?
Of course, there’s the developing romance between Ron and Hermione, and the blossoming one between Harry and Ginny (Bonnie Wright).
The first film ends rather darkly, after the characters learn what the Deathly Hallows are, magical items, they are captured by the Malfoys where Hermione is tortured by Bellatrix (Helena Bonham-Carter), but a mostly succesful escape aided by a determined house elf brings the stakes home again, even as Voldemort claims the Elder Wand, one of the most powerful magic items on the planet.
Darker, more grown up than the films preceding it, we get glimpses of familiar faces, start getting story threads wrapped up, and ready ourselves for what is to come. What viewers (and readers) know will be an emotional ending, not just because of the story, but because it is the end of the story, and we will be saying goodbye to these characters now.
The cast is epic, and populated with very familiar British faces and names, and the story takes our heroes into the Ministry of Magic, and across the country to track down the horcruxes and stop Voldemort once and for all.
It’s captivating, entertaining, and having grown with these characters over six films, we are so invested in them, that every moment has a resonance, we hurt when they hurt, and we feel their losses and their joy.
And next week, I finish it off as I dive into Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2!