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!

Monday, 15 August 2011

50 Greatest Harry Potter Moments: 20-11

Major apologies for the delay in getting this out, but I've been very busy. It's here now and we should be back to normal posting schedule. Plus, there's much more coming up on the blog soon, including a couple of reviews for you lovely people.

We're getting close now! Enjoy part 4! As ever, Lucy's version is here.

Spoiler warning... yada yada yada.

20. The Quidditch World Cup - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

The Situation: For the first time in many years, the Quidditch World Cup final is being held in England, and the Weasleys, Harry and Hermione head on over. It's all jolly good fun until those blasted Death Eaters make their debut and spoil it.

Why we love it: It's the first major spectacle of the wizarding world, and the introduction to foreign wizards, which of course plays an important role in this film. It's also the first appearance of the Death Eaters and the Dark Mark, suggesting from an early stage that the film will be dark and dangerous, just as we like it. The effects are breathtaking, from the stadium itself to the Krum showing off on his broom. He's a magical equivalent of an exhibitionist footballer. Plus, there's the great post-match celebration in the Time Lord tent with Harry and the twins singing at Ron, which is a bonus.

19. "Kill the spare!" - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

The Situation: Thinking it's another part of the Third Task of the Triwizard Tournament, Harry and Cedric are transported to a graveyard that Harry recognises as being horribly familiar. Wormtail then appears, carrying what appears to be an infant Voldemort, and kills Cedric. As if it could get any worse, Harry is then trapped and forced to aid Voldemort in gaining a full "human" (is it? Who the hell knows?) body again. The Dark Lord is back...

Why we love it: It's the moment everyone has been waiting for for three and a half films - the return of Voldemort. And there's so much going on in this scene. It's the first major death in the film series, another indicator that the series is now probably beyond children's film level. Voldemort returns! And with a SEXY V-NECK! Massive duel ensues. It's all very epic, to say the least.

18. Felix Felicis - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

The Situation: Harry finds himself in a pickle as he tries to work out how to get Slughorn to relinquish his mysterious memory, until he remembers that he has a bottle of "Liquid Luck".

Why we love it: Apparently there is some kind of super-strength alcohol in Felix Felicis, as Harry becomes ridiculously comic. It is one of Daniel Radcliffe's best performances in the whole series, and you have to laugh every time you see it. But not only that, but this part also reveals maybe the most major plot development: the revelation of the Horcruxes.

17. Harry's First Quidditch Match - Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

The Situation: It's Harry's first time playing Quidditch as the Seeker of Gryffindor, and the first opponents are Slytherin. It's an action-packed game, to say the least.

Why we love it: There's just so much going on! Blatant fouling on the Slytherin's part as they swiftly knock captain Oliver Wood and another Chaser unconcious, taking the lead in the match, and then Harry's broom is jinxed, supposedly by Snape! Golly. But it's victory for Harry in his first ever game as he plays a determined game (despite the fact he spends most of it dangling precariously from a broom or watching the match instead of doing his job), and he catches the Snitch. In his mouth. Don't worry, it's relevant later.

16. Dance Lessons with McGonagall - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

The Situation: To prepare her house for the upcoming Yule Ball, McGonagall takes it upon herself to teach the Gryffindors how to dance. Ron ends up as her dance partner. Hilarity ensues.

Why we love it: It's one of the best scenes in the whole series for comedy genuis. Fred and George quite rightly take this immediately as an opportunity to mock Ron, encouraged by Harry. But we mustn't forget Neville. Bless Neville. When all other boys refuse to partake in the dancing, Neville stands up, defiant, and learn how to dance. Reason number 3973 to love him.

15. The Seven Potters - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 1

The Situation: To act as diversions in order to get Harry out of Privet Drive safely, Moody gives six other poor people Polyjuice potion to look exactly like him. They then set off to the Burrow, until they are attacked by Death Eaters who have heard that Harry is to be moved that night. And Voldemort comes along too.

Why we love it: Besides the visual comedy of the characters all changing into Harry doppelgangers, Daniel Radcliffe is actually very good at getting everyone's little mannerisms down, and it is quite hilarious to see them all react to looking like him ("Bill, don't look at me, I'm 'ideous!"; "We're identical!") The battle then provides a nice dose of action early on in the film as we get stuck straight in, which tells us from the start that this film is going to be action-packed and non-stop*. There is also the loss of Mad-Eye, a major blow for the Order of the Phoenix, and an indication of the dangers ahead of our three heroes.

*it isn't. This is one of the best bits of action in the whole film.

14. Lupin and Tonks' death - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2

The Situation: Being part of the Order of the Phoenix, the couple fight valiently side by side. And then, during an intermission where Voldemort allows Hogwarts to treat their injured and dispose of their dead, we see them lying together, having died in battle. Sad stuff.

Why we love it: It's a very emotional scene, where we can see the human suffering of the battle so far as well as some of the destruction of the castle too. It may be more emotional in the books due to the film almost completely cutting out the fact that Lupin and Tonks have a son (one little line in the forest does not excuse that!), but it is still sad to see, especially because, let's face it, Lupin was the best DADA teacher. The emotion is heightened through Harry as we see him taking in the deaths around him, and as he spots his former mentor lying dead, it's a very sad moment.

13. The Shrieking Shack - Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

The Situation: It's the big reveal of the film: a dog has inexplicably dragged Ron and his rat into the Whomping Willow, Harry and Hermione persue, and the dog turns out to be escaped killer Sirius Black. Not looking good. But then Lupin turns up, and everything that Harry thought he knew about these men is completely turned on it's head.

Why we love it: It's Gary "G-Man" Oldman's first real appearance in the films, and he's wonderful. His interaction with Lupin and Snape is so believable, and even at this early stage we start to fall in love with Sirius. But his innocence is only one secret that comes out in the Shrieking Shack: Ron's rat, Scabbers, is an Animagus named Peter Pettigrew, the one who really betrayed Harry's parents to Voldemort, and Lupin is actually a werewolf. The remaining Marauders are together again! But not for long...

12. The Sexy Malfoy Bathroom Scene - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

The Situation: Malfoy's all angsty again, and then Harry goes and attacks him because he knows he's done some bad, bad things. But that's not the real reason... it has to be Draco leaning over the sink, looking beautifully troubled. We even overlook his crying because he's that damn sexy.

Why we love it: Um... basically Draco looking sexy! And brooding, that too. But not only that, but tension between Harry and Draco comes to a head (maybe not in the way some shippers want, but in a way appropriate for a family film). They end up destroying the bathroom as they each take their frustrations out on each other, until Harry nearly kills Draco by using an unknown spell he found in his little potions book. Not cool, Harry. Snape to the rescue!

11. Gilderoy Lockhart - Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

The Situation: Like David Tennant (see here), it's not really a moment so much as a celebration of a brilliant performance that should be recognised in it's own right. Kenneth Branagh was absolutely amazing as the conceited, arrogant Lockhart.

Why we love it: He was essentially the best part of this whole film. A vain, lying fraud who takes claim for other wizards' achievements, as well as claiming multiple times that he has knowledge that he clearly doesn't (read: Harry's arm), he finally gets his comeuppance when his memory charm backfires and, in possibly the best part of the entire film, he questions Ron on who he is. Genius acting. It's sad that he never came back, really.

That's it for this post! Next will be the top ten, the final installment, the Big One. Have you guessed the top spot yet?

And here's another little treat for you... I leave you with this:

Sunday, 7 August 2011

50 Greatest Harry Potter Moments: 30-21

Part 3! What do you think so far?

Again, Lucy's version is here.

Spoiler warning... you know by now.

On with the show!

30. The Howler - Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

The Situation: After stealing his parents' flying car to get to Hogwarts instead of just waiting for them to come back and sort the situation out that way, and then destroying said car on the enchanted Whomping Willow, Ron receives a Howler from his mother - an angry letter which screams at you. Nice.

Why we love it: Julie Walters screaming at the top of her voice so the entire Great Hall can hear Ron being scolded? It's comedy gold. Not to mention more of Ron's fantastic facial expressions. They never get old.

29. Harry's Patronus - Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

The Situation: In this particular instance, it's Harry, having gone back in time using Hermione's Time Turner, using the power he knew was in him to save himself and his godfather, Sirius Black, from having their souls sucked out by Dementors.

Why we love it: It's an epic moment where Harry demonstrates ability far beyond what normal 13 year olds can do, plus he stops the absolutely brilliant Gary "G-Man" Oldman from "a fate worse than death".

28. The Dementor on the Train - Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

The Situation: On their way to Hogwarts, our trio are interrupted by the arrival of a dementor, one of the guards of Azkaban prison, who is looking for escaped convict Sirius Black.

Why we love it: It's our first glimpse at the dementors, and they are truly terrifying. Harry is all but passed out before out lovely Lupin comes to the rescue, in his first appearance too. This is probably the first instance where the audience knows that this film series is getting dark... very dark.

27. "There's a TROOOOOOLL in the Dungeon!" - Harry Potter and the Philospher's Stone

The Situation: Somehow, a troll has managed to get into Hogwarts, causing mayhem. Professor Quirrell is the one to inform everyone of its presence, running into the Great Hall screaming and interrupting the Halloween feast.

Why we love it: Like many of the moments so far, it's because this scene is hilarious. Quirrell in a panic is something that I would pay to watch all day. Also, Malfoy's scream surely breaks his jaw, as it stretches further than what can be possible for a boy of 11.

26. Malfoy the Ferret - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

The Situation: Draco is, as ever, taunting Harry, this time because of his participation in the Triwizard tournament. New teacher Professor Moody sees this and decides that Draco needs a little alternative punishment, and transforms him into a ferret.

Why we love this: Do I really have to explain? The fact that Moody puts him down Crabbe's trousers and Goyle tries to retrieve him is a moment that haunts you for a while.

25. Neville and Luna - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2

The Situation: Usually I am adament about the films sticking to the books religiously, but in this case I was overjoyed that they decided to deviate from them. In the middle of the Battle of Hogwarts, Neville decides this is the right time to declare his feelings for Luna ("I'm mad for her. I think it's about time I told her, since we'll probably both be dead by dawn!").

Why we love it: Because this is one of the most disappointing things about the book series - the fact that Luna and Neville did not end up together. Yet here they have their moment. It's unbelievably cute. By this point, our Neville-love could not be stronger. It's two of our favourite characters ending up as it should have been.

24. Silent Study with Snape - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

The Situation: Some students are clearly in silent study, being watched over by Snape, but Harry and Ron have to deal with the problem that they are still without dates for the Yule Ball, and discuss their options. Needless to say, Snape is not happy at the disturbance.

Why we love it: It's Snape dealing out physical punishment! It's so fun to see Snape become more and more exasperated with the pair of them as the scene goes on, and that sleeve-hitch is one of Snape's best moments.

23. Pre-title sequence - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2

The Situation: A personal favourite of mine: this scene shows the state that Hogwarts has deteriorated into since Snape has become headmaster and Voldemort has taken over the school. Students march, dementors float menacingly above the school and Death Eaters patrol the corridors. Snape observes, while other well-loved teachers have stayed behind to protect the students.

Why we love it: It's actually an incredibly moving scene, and it's the very first one! It's haunting to see what the school has become since Voldemort has taken over compared to other films where it was much more cheery, and  it's so sad to see Snape standing there, watching something he has no control over.

22. "Not my daughter, you bitch!" - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2

The Situation: Bellatrix Lestrange attacks Ginny, and Molly gets pissed. Bellatrix then regrets it.

Why we love it: It is the one-liner of the series, and is just brilliant. There's a sense of satisfaction now we know that Bellatrix is gone - she finally gets her comeuppance after all her heinous crimes, even if we are sad to see Helena Bonham Carter go.

21. Defending Hogwarts - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2

The Situation: Knowing that Voldemort and his Death Eaters are going to infiltrate the school, McGonagall leads a mission to set up defenses everywhere, and has some brilliant one-liners in doing so.

Why we love it: It's preparing us for the epic battle that is to come really. The staff and Order of the Phoenix are clearly resigned to what has happened, and their defensive stances regarding the school are touching. But really, we love it because this is where Maggie Smith finally gets her chance to shine as she takes control, and lets out the kick-ass teacher we knew to be in there. It's her best dialogue, i.e:

Plus, this conversation:
Neville Longbottom: Professor, you're actually giving us permission to do this? To blow it up? Boom?
Minerva McGonagall: Boom!
Neville Longbottom: Wicked. Um, and how exactly do you propose we do this, Professor?
Minerva McGonagall: Why don't you confer with Mr. Finnegan? As I recall, he has a particular proclivity for pyrotechnics.
Seamus Finnigan: I can bring her down.
Minerva McGonagall: That's the spirit. Off you go.
Seamus too gets his moment of glory! See, there's just so much goodness!

And that's it for part 3! Top 20 starts tomorrow, keep your eyes peeled for it.