Harry Potter Rewatch

Earlier this month Colin revealed, to my shock, awe, and delight, that he had not seen all of the Harry Potter films. Of course he’d watched Wizard People, Dear Reader, comic artist Brad Neely’s brilliantly comedic narration of the first HP film, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. But Colin had yet to view the other 900 films that make up the Harry Potter franchise. Naturally, we had to set about marathoning through them.

prisoner of azkaban cover

Is it incredibly dorky for me to admit that I got really excited about this undertaking?

I’m not one of those millenials who “grew up” with Harry Potter. The series came out when I was just old enough to be too cool for it. I was fourteen, and starting to get into what I considered “real” literature—Brave New World, 1984, Catch-22. I ignored the whole YA genre as best I could, to better distance myself from, what seemed to me, childish pursuits. Once I’d reached an age and developed (what I presumed was) a certain air of maturity, I felt secure enough in my grown-up-edness to give Harry Potter a try. I figured even if I did find myself liking it, I could still admit it and not risk losing any coolness points for delighting in something so clearly juvenile.

The second book, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, was out on film by this time. I watched the first two films and they proved my undoing. I was lured in to the story line and wanted more. I read the third book, whizzed through the fourth, and then drummed my fingertips waiting for the fifth. Eventually, I became one of those types who wait at the movie theater for hours anticipating the midnight showing, and those half-delirious nights staying up until 3 A.M. with friends just to watch the books enacted on film, then stumble through work the next day, have given me some of the best memories. 

I hadn’t watched many of these films since I first saw them in theaters, so watching them with Colin has been delicious. The other night we finished up the final film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2. I was curious to see what his outsider’s take on the series would be, and, by rewatching the films, assess whether my esteem for the films was in any way justified beyond a simple book-lover’s affection for seeing well-loved novels come to life. Though some of the films were goofy beyond all get-out, the later ones absolutely held up to my critical analysis, and for the most part Colin enjoyed them as well. I fell back into appreciating the beauty of the shots, the subtle ways the filmmakers translated otherwise complex plot details, and the gorgeous special effects. These were things I had glossed over in my initial viewings of the films, when I’d fixated on soaking up the glory of the movies finally being released and analyzing how closely the films remained faithful to the original books. 

It’s been great looking forward to the films each night, and of course I sobbed at the parts that never fail to make me cry. But now that we’re finished with the rewatch, I’m left with a new little blip of sadness, the slight tinge that comes with accepting that something is over. Luckily, the last half of Breaking Bad‘s final season starts up again today, and we’ll have something else to occupy our brains for a little while. Until the next series, and the next, and the next, on and on, ad infinitum, like an endless spell that keeps bouncing off the walls of our living rooms, flickering with a soft blue glow.


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