I am not ashamed to admit that I was crying at the end. Having read the books, I knew what was coming, I knew about all the emotional twists and turns, I knew about the losses that Harry and his trusty company face in Deathly Hallows. So when it had finished and people had started filing out of the still dark cinema, I sat still for a while and waited. Ten years on, I wanted to give the final film its due; a tiny moment of reverence.
It was hard not to think about ten years ago, when we first sat in a cinema with bated breath, wondering whether the first Harry Potter film would be any good, whether the director and producers would manage to replicate any of the magic of a book that had been so unexpectedly and unashamedly magical. Ten years ago, I was still at university, career less, with nothing more important to do than attend the next lecture on time. Ten years ago, the world was a very different place. I couldn’t help but think, sat there in the dark, watching the credits roll, about all the things that had changed in the time it took to tell the stories on celluloid.
When He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named was a whisper in the dark in The Philosopher’s Stone, only a distant threat for Harry, we still lived in the shiny world of New Labour, when things could only get better. While I know it is a leap to make the analogy, it is there to be made. Now, in the time of the Deathly Hallows, we live under a Tory government. In The Philosopher’s Stone, the Great Hall at Hogwarts was filled with light and cheer, a sense of expectation hung in the air; in the final Deathly Hallows film, the Hall is a muted place, regimented and ruled by fear.
A leap further? In the final Deathly Hallows, it is the teachers and their students who defend what is good and pure and just. Maybe our strike is just the first step in a greater battle.
Anyhow, enough of the analogies. I grew up with the Harry books and movies. I, too, learned who I was and what I was meant to do. Harry found it hard, lost friends and loved ones along the way, and so did I in some ways. Harry had to fight for what was right and I hope that I have done that. What Harry did for us is make the process of growing up a less lonely one because along the way, we learned that all of us have a bit of Harry in us somewhere.
Thanks Harry. I don’t know what the last ten years would have been like without you.