One boy screamed: “We love you Harry” as the credits began to roll as the rest of the auditorium were still recovering from the emotional last two hours of Harry Potter film footage. I grew up with this boy wizard and I cannot deny I feel a strong bond to the magical series. In fact I think I have a 1st edition of the first book somewhere - I remember my mum proudly guessing it would big before anyone else had cottoned on.
But all good things must end, and what an ending this is. More sincere than the other films, Harry, Ron and Hermione (Daniel, Rupert and Emma in the real world) have truly grown up, and there is a great deal more conviction in all three performances here. The direction is superb from David Yates, conjuring up this now familiar fantasy world with a persuasive depth and passion. Here we see Voldemort more frequently than before, and Ralph Fiennes gives a suitably chilling performance as the evil villain. Needless to say the 3D technology is really a massive help for the scare factor.
My only qualm is the lack of the usual magical fun: the common room frolics, enchantingly silly sweets and Quidditch matches -the final book is so much more serious and lacks any light-hearted drama. I felt exhausted by the end! Strangely the horrible curses and killings in the film felt less otherworldly in the aftermath of the Norway massacre, more believable. The special efforts are dauntingly realistic especially in the final battle, a real credit to the creative team.
A hilarious final sequence shows the three main protagonists 19 years later, all mature, hair combed and pretending to be real adults! My fellow audience members found this all ridiculously funny, and I have to agree they do look daft. But it is a nice ending, and one that, if needs be, lends itself to a new chapter of the franchise, with the innocent Potter and Weasley kids off to Hogwarts for the first time. After eight films, 10 years and $2 billion in domestic box office takings we are back where we started at Platform 9 ¾ Kings Cross Station, and you have to admit it’s nice to see some defining UK landmarks rather than the usual American scene. It is a stunning finale for these life-changing books.