Sunday 18 December 2011

Deathly Hallows Part II movie - What is the moral? - Part II


I re-watched the movie Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II last week - which confirmed my early view

(i.e. Flawed, but more importantly contains perhaps the most moving sequence of scenes I have ever seen in any movie - viz from the death of Snape up to include Harry's own death and the King's Cross limbo scene.)


The HP franchise movie's most serious weakness is their deletion of the deepest, and Christian, moral or message from the books.

This leaves the movies somewhat incoherent, and lacking in profundity.


But watching this time I noticed some attempt to replace the Christian core with a modern secular moral.

This moral is a version of the idea that - while there is no real immortality - and nothing truly survives death, the dead continue to 'live' in the minds' or hearts, of those who loved them.

(Yes, I know that this is nothing more than a play on words, but it is what passes for high minded and inspiring spirituality nowadays.)


There seem to be two key moments when this morality is given quite explicitly, and where the text of the novel has been changed.

In the chapter The Forest Again, Harry finds the resurrection stone inside the golden snitch left him by Dumbledore, and recalls from the dead ghostly - but real - images of his parents, Lupin and Sirius, who will accompany him through the forest repelling the dementors.

Harry asks Sirius, "won't they be able to see you?" and in the book Sirius replies no - "we are part of you, invisible to anyone else".

But in the movie, Sirius is given the line: "No, we're here you see" - and on the word 'here' he points a finger at Harry's heart.


In the book, Neville runs forward and tries to attack Voldemort and Nagini, and because he is a 'pure blooded' wizard is is asked to join the Death Eaters.

In the book, Neville replies "I'll join you when hell freezes over... Dumbledore's Army!"

In the movie Neville is given a set-piece speech (which made me cringe) in which he delivers what I felt was intended to be the moral:

"Yeah, we lost Harry tonight (pause) But he's still with us - in here!" Pointing to his own heart on the word 'here'.


My interpretation of these added and visually/ verbally linked scenes in the movie, is that they were an attempt to provide a secular and non-denominational equivalent for the excised Christian morality - and they were about as effective and convincing as such attempts always are - which is to say, hardly at all...



Gabriel said...

I agree with you here! Those lines made me cringe when I heard them, my eyeballs got a few rolls in before those scenes ended. As someone who did not read the books, I'm very grateful they to find out Rowling had not written those awful lines!

On a side note I am a bit surprised you have not written on Christopher Hitchins yet (his death I mean).

Bruce Charlton said...

@Gabriel - Glad to set matters straight.

I don't write on topical subjects on this blog - it's meant to be a 'haven' from 'news'.

But I have commented on Hitchens at Throne and Altar.