Last weekend, we headed into Oxford for the day. Those of you who are Harry Potter fans will know that a number of the locations used in the films are there. It’s a beautiful city, with it’s university and architecture that largely hasn’t changed in the last 500 years. It inspired us (my partner and I) to watch a Harry Potter film. We ended up watching them all!
Here’s the things we learned from re-watching the films:
- The acting really isn’t as bad as I remembered: Actually most of the time, it’s pretty good! I remember the first film being really fun, but three leads and some of the other child actors being, well, sweet but overly enthusiastic. But re-watching it, they’re really not as bad as I remember. Except for Ron Weasley… He’s consistently one night throughout the series.
- Harry would be nothing without Hermione: OK, so for obvious reasons I might be a little biased, but when you’re watching these films, she really is the person that saves their butts every time. And so often, problems could have been avoided if they just talked to her sooner. I think in the books, Harry’s inner life and skills get more time spent on them, but here in these films, it’s all Hermione.
- Ron is kind of a jerk: He gets jealous of Harry and doesn’t believe his friend didn’t put his name in the cup in Goblet Of Fire. He puts Hermione down constantly even though she saves their asses on the regular, including a “pity invite” to the school dance. When Hermione has a nice date to a dance, he tries to ruin it for her and makes her cry. He leaves Harry in the lurch in The Deathly Hallows… He’s not really a nice guy, I have no idea why Hermione ends up with him. It’s lame.
- There is very little safety at Hogwarts, concerningly so… OK, so I don’t have kids, but I’m pretty sure if I did that I’d be a little concerned about their casual approach to safety. No helmets when they’re learning to fly their brooms, let alone during Quidditch matches. There are several scenes where Snape hits kids with their textbooks. There are scenes where children handle dangerous animals and plants that could easily kill them. The Womping Willow is delightful, but also concerning.
- A huge number of the cast are dead: OK, this is a sad one. The first Harry Potter film came out about 16 years ago, and on re-watching it’s wonderful to see so many familiar faces of British actors, but tragic to think that several of them are gone from us. John Hurt, Alan Rickman, Richard Harris, Richard Griffiths, Elizabeth Spriggs, Roger Lloyd-Pack, Dave Legeno, and tragically Robert Knox, who was stabbed outside a bar. And sadly, many more.
It was actually really fun to watch these films, seeing the cast grow up from film to film and the story unfold. It feels like a really pertinent story in the face of the modern political climate out there. It’s also a wonderful story world to visit, even if you’re not a huge fan (I’m not, but I did enjoy watching and totally understand why people love it). I know some of you will have huge objections to what I say above, it’s only meant in fun.