Sunday, 21 August 2011

50 Greatest Harry Potter Moments: 10-1

Here it is, the final part! Now is probably a good time to mention that there will be an outtake post or two, for the moments that we thought were worth being recognised but didn't quite make the final cut.

Also, another reminder that this is a personal list for Lucy and I, and you may disagree. That's ok, just don't give me abuse for it when I've already warned you.

Again, check out Lucy's here. I think we may have diverged whilst writing up the list, so there may be some differences, but otherwise they're very similar.

Ok, it's the final countdown!

Spoiler warning, again. You know the drill.

10. Fred and George leave Hogwarts - Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

The Situation: It's one of the twins' best moments - fed up of being stuck under the control of Umbridge, they decide that their "futures lay outside the world of academic achievement" and do a bunk. In style.

Why we love it: Why couldn't this happen at our school? In the middle of what is the equivalent to a GCSE exam, the twins ride around on their brooms, set off a massive amount of fireworks (one of which eats Umbridge!) and end up destroying most of the Great Hall. It's a terrific feat of anarchy that really should be done more often in real life. Though of course this would be without magic.

9. The Triwizard Tasks - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

The Situation: Yes, we're putting three into one, because we have a limited number of spaces. Basically, it's the three tasks of the Triwizard tournament.

  1. The First Task - Though none of the four champions are supposed to know, they all find out one way or another that the task involves dragons: namely, to get past the dragon and capture the Golden Egg.
  2. The Second Task - After working out the clue from the Golden Egg, the champions must search the lake for something dear to them which has been taken, encountering plenty of unpleasant things down there as well as having to find a way to hold their breaths for an hour.
  3. The Third Task - The premise is simple - the champions must find their way to the centre of the maze where the Triwizard Cup is located, and the first one there wins. Of course, it's not that easy, and they come across hedges that attack them as well as the Imperius Curse which makes things a little tricky. And then, to make matters worse, the cup is a portkey. But that's a separate issue.

Why we love it: How many reasons do you want? Yes, it's not done in as much detail as the book which makes them less effective (the third task in particular, where is isn't nearly as dangerous as it should be), but it shows magic at a complexity like we haven't seen before, plus the four champions really show feats of endurance, talent, strength and bravery to get through the tasks. They are dramatic, entertaining and they make us feel all anxious and concerned for the champions.

8. Dobby's death - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 1

The Situation: After saving Harry, Ron, Hermione, Luna, Ollivander and Griphook from the Malfoys' dungeon, Dobby meets his end by the dagger of Bellatrix Lestrange. Tears ensue.

Why we love it: Because honestly, who didn't cry? (You are a heartless thing not worthy of being called human if your answer is "me".) Innocent little Dobby lays down his life for the one wizard who showed him real kindness and pays the ultimate price for helping him out. It's a most fitting end for him to die in the arms of Harry. RIP Dobby, the free elf. You were the magical being we always wanted as a friend.

7. Dumbledore and Voldemort duel - Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

The Situation: Harry and co have rushed to the Ministry of Magic, soon joined by Death Eaters and then the Order of the Phoenix. Chaos is occuring. Then, to make matters worse, Voldemort appears! Dun dun dun. But no matter, Dumbledore arrives at the battle in the Ministry just as Voldemort is getting ready to do some serious damage to Harry.

Why we love it: It's basically the two greatest wizards alive in an epic duel. Voldemort breathes fire in the shape of a snake, Dumbledore engulfs Voldemort in a ball of water until he nearly drowns, Voldemort basically destroys the Ministry, and then, when we think it's all over, he possesses Harry to taunt Dumbledore. It's all very exciting stuff.

There's also sexy biceps!

6. Sirius' death - Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

The Situation: Prior to all this Voldemort/Dumbledore action, Harry thought that Voldemort was keeping Sirius hostage so rushed down to the Ministry to save him. He hadn't been captured by Voldemort, as Harry thought, instead having seen a vision of this placed into his head by Voldemort, but since he's now in a sticky spot with Death Eaters and the like, Sirius turns up at the Ministry to help the Order of the Phoenix fight anyway, and Bellatrix finishes him off.

Why we love it: It's a very emotional moment. Harry and Sirius are fighting side-by-side, and then Bellatrix comes along and does away with her cousin. The seconds after in which Lupin restrains Harry, and there is no sound, is almost operatic in how the sadness is portrayed. Daniel Radcliffe is very good at showing anguish. But really it's the fact that Sirius, and therefore Gary Oldman, is gone, and we feel the injustice that he was never free after he was framed for murder, as well as the fact that Harry was finally going to get to leave the Dursleys and be with the closest thing to family he ever felt like he had. It's heartwrenching stuff.

5. Fred and George - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows parts 1 and 2

The Situation: Yes, we have grouped their suffering, but only because they should not be parted! In the first part, George's ear is cursed off by Snape, and we see the tender affection Fred shows to him, despite his awful joke ("I'm holey, Fred!"). They then have a little moment in DH2 before it all kicks off, and it's the last time we see them together, because, alas, JK breaks our hearts and kills off Fred. It's incredibly sad, even if we wish to have actually seen it happen.

Why we love it: Because it's the twins! These moments evoke such reactions in us that we had to put it on the list. It's bad enough that we see one twin damaged in Part 1, and then they are cruelly parted forever as Fred becomes a fatality in the Battle of Hogwarts. They are genuinely two of the saddest moments in the entire series. We tear up at George's ear because we see the connection the twins have in the moments afterwards, and then full-out sob in Part 2 when we see them together for the last time ever as Geroge mourns his other half. JK, how could you do this!?

4. McGonagall and Snape duel - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2

The Situation: Harry has infiltrated the school and the Order of the Phoenix have arrived. Snape makes a move to attack Harry, but McGonagall's having none of it. They then fight it out in the middle of the Great Hall, watched by all the students, before Snape bottles it and flees.

Why we love it: It's two of our favourite characters battling it out over Harry! McGonagall shows the true level of loyalty to her students, and Badass Minerva comes out! To see the two best teachers at the school go head-to-head is really something to behold, and it's actually rather satisfying to see McGonagall take down Snape!

3. Neville's speech - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2

The Situation: Harry is presumed dead by everyone in the battle. Voldemort seems to be on the verge of victory and is calling for anyone to come forward and join him before he kills the remaining people defying him. Neville steps forward and there is an intake of shocked breath, before we learn he is to make a truly heartfelt speech about death not being the end of people, and that they live on through others' memories of them.

In fact, here is a transcript of what he says, because it's so lovely:

"It doesn't matter that Harry's gone. People die everyday. Friends, family. Yeah, we lost Harry tonight. But he's still with us, in here [gestures to chest]. So's Fred, Remus, Tonks... all of them! They didn't die in vain! [to Voldemort] But you will, cause you're wrong! Harry's heart did beat for us, for all of us. It's not over!"

Why we love it: It pretty much seals the deal on Neville being in the top three characters in the whole series. We see how much Neville has developed as a character, since the first film where he was a little tubby boy who was so nervous he could barely stand up to Harry, Ron and Hermione, to someone who steps forward in front of Voldemort and demonstrates his loyalty to Harry and the side of good. The Neville love peaks here. He is truly a wonderful character, and will forever be one of the favourites in the series.

2. The Final Duel - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2

The Situation:  It's the end! The very end! Starting inside the school, Voldemort seems to have the upper hand, but gets carried away with his gloating and showboating, giving Harry time to move outside to a balcony. Once Voldemort has him cornered, he decides to fling them both over the edge (in a hug!) where they then continue brawling mid-air as they fly around the grounds. As they land, the final duel occurs, but, since the Elder Wand's allegiance lies with Harry (unbeknownst to Voldy), his spell backfires and he finally meets his end. Once Voldemort floats away as a million little flakes, it's really over. But it's so epic while it lasts.

Why we love it: It's the climax of the climax! We know that it's going to be over with this battle, and it has us on the edge of our seats the entire time (though everybody knows the outcome). It's fraught with tension, and was done really well in terms of giving it the full attention it deserves. Harry emerges victorious, and that's the series over, really. No more conflicts.

Our one slight quibble about this is the fact that Voldemort does turn into little flakes and floats away. Harry therefore has no proof that he's actually gone, as nobody witnessed the fight and there is no evidence to say he's dead. Hey ho.

And now... dun dun dun... Number 1!

1. Snape's backstory - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2

The Situation: Having just been fatally injured by Voldemort in a move he thinks will give him control of the Elder, one of the Deathly Hallows, Snape gives Harry his memories which shows his true allegiance. We finally find out what's been driving Snape throughout the films and uncover the complexity of his character. And love him for it.

Why we love it: We always knew Snape was good! Alan Rickman deserves at least an Oscar nomination for his performance at this bit, where we see him grieving over Lily Potter's death, clutching her body as baby Harry continues to cry in the background. The level of devotion he has to a woman that was never his is beyond words. Both us and Harry have new respect for him and his bravery, going double-double-agent all to protect the son of the love of his life. The emotion here is through the roof, and there wasn't a dry eye in the house when we saw it. It shows why he is the best character in the series, really.

So, that's that. All done. That's our top 50! Again, there will be outtakes posted in the next week or so, so look out for them too.

Hopefully this was better than the ITV one and left you a little more satisfied. Do you agree/disagree? Leave us a comment with your thoughts!

I leave you with... the evolution of our trio throughout the films.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 1

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2

Adios for now!

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