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Dumbledore is dead... again

by David Haber

Almost exactly 4 years ago, as we all read the end of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince together for the first time, we experienced the death of Dumbledore, and this site became into being, as it was originally known as And now, with the release of the movie, we're reliving it, all over again.

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Reader Comments: (Page 2)

First of all thank you very, very much for this heartfelt piece of writing - it was just what I needed to read after watching the movie - all the other websites seem to just publish how much money the film has already made, plus what kind of dress Emma Watson was wearing to the Premiere, etc. So your article on the emotional implications, leaving aside all superfluity, was more than welcome to me!
But to comment on the film now - after I have swallowed (and almost choked on) my disappointment - too many unnecessary interferences while essential plot is being left out, plus unconvincingly connected dialogue pieces that feature none but really none of Rowling's subtle brilliance - I am trying to focus on the plus points: Yes, the tention between Harry and Snape has been completely left out (Snape's lamely delivered message to Harry he should enjoy the rest of his holiday must have been a mistake?) it might have been done for a purpose: to leave Snape's intentions completely in the dark. Maybe Kloves and Yates saw him as this rather controlled person who wouldn't freak out in front of his pupil shouting "Don't call me coward". I can live with this decision. I can also live with Rickman's tortured face and cracked voice when his Snape actually carries out the deed. Gambon's "Please" sounded like a request, there was no pleading in it which could have been mistaken for begging for mercy. It was made obvious here that a conspiracy between Snape and Dumbledore was going on.
The real carrier of this film, however, was for me Tom Felton - he, in my opinion, has always been the most talented of the young actors, but in this piece he really outshone everyone else, even Michael Gambon - who, to me, is an excellent Dumbledore. He doesn't play him as this grand father figure (although he includes elements of this as well) but rather as the ambigious figure Dumbledore really is. And this is why I don't understand at all that they left out all this tension and question of trust between Harry and him - Harry did not, as the film suggests, blindly follow his teacher, but questioned him, enraged him and doubted him! This is the main flaw of the film, it really depicts Harry as this slightly dumb lamb with no of his own!

Posted by Siena from Nottingham, UK on July 20, 2009 08:58 AM

But to conclude with the scenes I really enjoyed: I think they got the cave scene just right, the picture of the open water with Dumbledore and Harry standing on this small rock, the music... excellent! Then furthermore Harry emerging from the water in the midst of the blazing fire conducted by a still very very strong and powerful Dumbledore (this scene so moved me: although he has been weakened by the potion which made him see his worst memory of pleading for Ariana's life he manages the strength to produce this powerful inferno to rescue Harry).
Then there is this scene with Draco standing on top of the astronomy tower, a solitary figure, deep in thoughts while Ron and Lavender, totally oblivious to any rising calamity, kiss in the corridor. Another would be the way the music rises just before the Eaters appear - McGonagall sensing a kind of danger, ushering the kids lurking in the corridor inside, then the camera moves over the castle - yes they got some things right. Unfortunately too much is wrong...

Posted by Siena from Nottingham, UK on July 20, 2009 09:14 AM

Wow - As someone who loves the movie and thinks it is the best yet, I'm a bit surprised reading the very negative reactions of everyone here. Everyone sounds like a purist and despite agreeing with almost everything that has been said, when the movie is considered separately from the book, I think it flows very well and is the most enjoyable yet. Many other book fans I know love the movie too. I'm not sure why people think Columbus should return for the last two films. Given the length of the later books, even he couldn't have stuck to the plot so much. I think the first two films suffered from the way the books were adapted. With the plots lifted straight from the books (along with all the expository dialogue) the films are slower, less impressive, and I think, lack the books' magical atmosphere. I'm not saying HBP's mood is exactly correct, though I love it the most. I think PoA did the best job in capturing the feeling of the books (even when failing to explain the Mauraders) as well as being visually impressive; therefore, it was the most critically acclaimed. Now back to the HBP film...

I think the tension between Harry and Snape is there. Rickman's expressions are always impressive and convey this. Snape's message at the party tells us that Dumbledore is away and he doesn't tell us where. Spinner's End is wonderfuly played by Carter, Rickman, and McCrory. As for it being obvious Snape is working with Dumbledore - I think the main problem is the placement of the scene where Snape and Dumbledore argue (they should have mentioned Malfoy because then the argument would have been more likely to be taken in a different way). I love the Astonomy Tower scene. Gambon delivers all the lines wonderfuly, except perhaps the "Severus, please," and I don't think this is delivered horribly. I like Gambon's expression at the time. There are non-book-readers who not catch this - they take it at face value. Movie Snape has always been far more controlled than book Snape. It would have been out of character for him to scream at Harry as he does in the book. Originally, the movie had a line where Snape tells Harry "You might have your mother's eyes, but you're as dim as your father." I was disappointed when it was reported this was cut, but now I think people would have said it makes it obvious Snape loves Lily.

The waitress scene and library scene don't seem out of character for movie Harry. They actually flow in the story. The Burrow attack does not, though it doesn't stand out or spoil the movie - it's just for cheap action and could have been replaced with the memory of the Gaunts or a DADA class.

The trio's acting is so much better. Emma doesn't overact or use her eyebrows too much anymore. Dan is actually very funny and better at crying. Rupert is hilarious. The love potion scene with him is so wonderful. I wouldn't cut any of the romance (Jessie Cave and Fred Corma couldn’t be better), which is mixed appropriately with the shots of Malfoy in the Room of Requirement. This gives a movie an ominous feel and I love how Draco is dressed, in that all black suit. I've already said on the previous page that Tom plays him perfectly. It's so easy to feel sorry for Draco, like when the bird he uses to test the cabinet comes out .

Hero Fiennes Tiffin and Frank Dillane are also wonderfully cast. We can see the darkness in the character of Riddle in the memories and also the charisma. Broadbent doesn’t have to look like the book’s description of Slughorn to be Slughorn in the movie. The new teacher at Hogwarts has always been perfectly cast and Broadbent is no exception. I like it when Harry says he and Professor Snape don’t see “eye to eye.” It’s also wonderful that as in the book, Harry’s dialogue when trying to get Slughorn to divulge the memory follows the dialogue of Tom Riddle. Dan is so funny under the effects of Felix, but I love how the burial scene goes from funny to touching with Broadbent’s monologue.

I liked all the foreshadowing put in for DH, i.e. Ron’s expression when seeing Harry comforting Hermione, the way Harry twitches his neck when touching the Horcrux and Dumbledore’s expression that shows he realizes Harry is a Horcrux.

I guess I don’t seem to agree with a lot of people here on my order of favorite HP movie because I would say HBP, PoA, OotP, SS, CoS, and GoF. I think HBP is a very good adaptation and that points obviously have to be changed to make DH work. I think with two movies for DH, Yates can do it.

Posted by Anonymous from Arizona on July 20, 2009 11:10 AM

I was just wondering if anyone had seen the movie in the 3D imax? There are so many conflicting reports on how much is in 3D. some say 12 minutes, some say 20 some say 30. I do not want to know how many minutes I want to know what part does it begin and what part does it end. Ive seen the movie (am hoping its better 2nd time around) so I'll know what you're talking about it you can tell where 3D begins and where it ends. Again, not how many minutes I'm looking for the parts in 3D. Thanks so much.

Posted by sm from usa on July 20, 2009 3:16 PM

I haven't seen the movie in IMAX 3D, but people (on a forum) who have, say it is from the beginning to when Harry apparates to the Burrow (12 minutes).

Posted by Anonymous from Arizona on July 20, 2009 4:07 PM

I only have myself to blame for my disappointment in the movie - having just re-read THBP prior to opening night. I believe the books and the movies must be judged separately. So, I'll give it some time, and when I watch the movie again, it probably won't be so bad.

For me, the ending where Harry says he won't return to Hogwarts is what created such feelings of disappointment.
Rather than Hermione and Ron showing their support for Harry in promising to help him find the horcruxes, the dialogue insinuates that Harry can't possibly hope to be successful without them. Didn't Snape say somewhere along the way that Harry is a mediocre wizard who has surrounded himself with more talented friends? This ending seems to just reinforce that belief.

As for those who have posted wondering how they show this or that during the final movies since so much has been left out - we should all know by now that the story be rewritten with parts left out, new parts added, characters changed, and becoming its own story. So, again, we shouldn't judge the movie(s) based on the books. They are, and must remain, separate.

Posted by Sara from Arkansas on July 20, 2009 8:17 PM

Dumbledore is Alive...

In HBP, Could the Horcrux in the Quartz chamber be Dumbledore’s Horcrux? Prof Snape (HBP) creating the original potion that held the Horcrux in the podium.

RAB (classmate of Snape?) stealing the original dark one's Horcrux. Giving it to Dumbledore in the past.

Dumbledore ing Aragog *King of Spiders to create his Horcrux and Slughorn helping to recreate the potion to relock the Horcrux in the podium. Dumbledore's blood to gain entry to the chamber.

Dumbledore's pleading when drinking the potion; saying "this in my fault".

Why the the scharade? To protect harry's memories and authenticity of the horcrux ruse. Sharing memories with the dark one etc... This would help place Dumbledore at the scene of the final battle.

Posted by stig from sydney on July 21, 2009 02:40 AM

Sara and Anonymus, you are probably right - seeing the books and the films as different works of art is something i probably have to learn... but still, when the film, which still claims to be based on J.k.Rowling's texts, deliberately cuts out important plot, it is hard for me to handle. How are they going to resolve the Snape mystery now in DH; they ever tell that he was the one who delivered the phrophesy to Voldemort? I mean this is one of the key points of the books, or am I wrong - and also one of the most exciting, as it gives answers to the questions on why Harry's parents were ed, why he was the chosen one. Just letting the film Snape utter: "How grand it must be to be the chosen one" isn't enough information in my opinion. The second bit missing is the conflict between Dumbledore and Harry. Harry's doubts and anger whom to really trust are really really essential for the plot development in DH - for me, this was part of Harry's great struggle and added interest to both him and the character of Dumbledore - Harry and Dumbledore are far too one dimensional in the films. It annoys me that the director/writer often excuse this omissions by saying it would complicate the story too much. But I mean - these omissions are the story really or not? And most of the viewers have read the book and can surely cope with seeing the plot development on screen.. and those who haven't read the books leave the film very very confused...

I liked you (Anonymus) mentioning Harry saying "He (Snape) and i don't exactly look eye to eye" - as this is exactly what they (hopefully) literally do in DH, so there might be hope they won't deviate from the plot too much here. By the way, where did you get the information from about this particular line being cut from Snape's dialogue that you mentioned as well ("You might have your mother's eyes but you are as dim as your father.")?

I also have to agree with you about Rupert Grint - he was really wonderful in HBP, his facial expression when facing Cormac wanting him to introduce him to "his friend Granger" were spot on, and so was his love potion induced swooning... The casting was well done too as you said - for all of the "new" characters, Voldemort (young and older, they even resembled each other) and then Lavender and Cormac, they were all brilliant.

Posted by Siena from Nottingham, UK on July 21, 2009 05:28 AM

Ahhhhhh I feel vindicated. Having read the articles from Jack - London, Angie Brewer- Bognor, Winnie- SYD, and Melanie -Ohio.

I totally agree with all of you! Plus why make up stuff, if the books are so rich? Weren't they complaining that they can't show everything? Of course you can't if you have to include your own crud. Plus, can someone explain to me, how Harry is ever going to remember / find Rowena's Crown since he did not hide the half-blood book himself?
I mean, Peter Jackson managed to satisfy the Lord of the Ring crowd, why can't they do the same for us?

Posted by Lumos586 from Switzerland on July 21, 2009 10:11 AM

I agree with you too, Siena. I think one of the major flaws in the OotP film is how the prophecy is severely underplayed. They didn't use HBP to fix this mistake, but since it was missing in OotP, it makes sense, considering this movie alone, that it isn't mentioned. But of course, the filmmakers have to consider DH. I guess they still can reveal this information about Snape in his memories in DH. Snape still comes off as fairly ambiguous in the movies, to me. Harry still mistrusts Snape, as shown by his argument with Lupin, which is more heated than it is in the book. Harry and Dumbledore do not have their argument about Snape in the film - Harry does not have as much of an idea in the movie as to what Draco (along with Snape) is doing, as in the book (Since the battle is cut), so he can’t really argue his case - but Harry also tells Lupin that Dumbledore can make mistakes, showing he is not blindly agreeing with whatever Dumbledore believes. Before this, Lupin had said: "It comes down to whether or not you trust Dumbledore's judgment. Dumbledore trusts Snape, therefore I do." When Dumbledore and Harry return to the school after their trip to the cave, Dumbledore tells Harry: “Whatever happens, trust me.” (I think these lines are wonderfully delivered by Gambon.) I know these lines don’t make up for what was omitted, but I think they show Harry has questions on who to trust, but ultimately trusts Dumbledore, and therefore Snape when Snape motions for him to be quiet on the tower. Harry’s misgivings about Dumbledore’s past life don’t start until he reads Rita Skeeter and listens to Muriel. I can actually forgive this omission, despite its importance.

People who saw the test-screening last September confirmed Snape's line about Harry's parents, but advance-screening viewers who saw the completed movie a few weeks earlier (a few weeks before July 15, I mean) reported that the line was cut.

Posted by Anonymous from Arizona on July 21, 2009 11:19 AM

Lumos586, I have to respond to your comment that "Peter Jackson managed to satisfy the Lord of the Ring[s] crowd, why can't they do the same for us?" I think that what Jackson did to please the LOTR crowd simply would NOT have pleased the Harry Potter crowd.

To be fair, I must admit my bias. I've read the Lord of the Rings (LOTR) trilogy as well as all the Harry Potter Books. Given my age, I read the LOTR books while in grammar school while I read the Harry Potter books in my 20s. I enjoyed the Harry Potter books immensely, but you never forget the first set of characters you fell in love with as a kid.

Just my opinion, but very few of the LOTR crowd I've found thought there was any chance that Peter Jackson would get every plot turn, story arch or character into his three movies and would have to do things to summarize hundreds of pages in a few "movie" moments. The books are entirely too long for even three movies. Indeed, my favorite character (Tom Bombadil) was written out of the movies, and the narration at the beginning of the third LOTR movie is nowhere to be found in any of the books but is a summary of what was written in more than one of the books. By and large (based on the many reviews and exchanges on the internet by fans that I've read), the LOTR crowd did NOT love the movies because Jackson slavishly followed Tolkien's text. Rather, on balance, people genuinely believed that Jackson communicated what Tolkien would have wanted had he been limited to similar media.

Harry Potter fans (again, based on what I've read on these pages and others and people to whom I've talked) believe that either (i) the film makers could get nearly all of the information in the movies by lengthening or modifying them, or (ii) the film makers must follow Rowling's text as closely as possible with no detour. These expectations are different from those held by the LOTR fans I know or heard from. Accordingly, what Jackson did to please the LOTR crowd would simply NOT please the Harry Potter fan base.

Lastly, the LOTR crowd had decades between the books and the movies. Through book sales, you'll find that Tolkien's books were more famous in the 70s than they were prior to word that the movies were being made. Because Harry Potter fans are in the unique position to evalutate the movies after only a couple of years after the books were published, this lack of time might lead to their expectations of what can be done in a movie.

All of this being said, I agree that there are parts of the movies that I don't get/agree with. My favorite example is in Goblet of Fire where Dumbledore appears to cower just before the Goblet throws out each champion's name. Simply put, Dumbledore would never cower -- not even to Sauran.

Posted by Manesh from Houston, Texas on July 21, 2009 12:48 PM

Yes Dumbledore is again and this time he has not managed to inform Harry even that much he could manage last time. WHY WERE LESSONS CUT SHORT IN THE MOVIE? Leave apart the fact that they failed to give due weightage to the OOP, DA, Prophecy, Dobby, Kreacher under inheritance of Harry. did anyone see any Tiara in Room of Requirement? How Harry learn about other 'possible' Horcruxex? The whole point that Harry needed to learn about his enemy to vanquish him and the support he needed from his friends was played down. I was highly disappointed with the end when they did not bring Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Luna and Neville for fighting along with OOP members, same as in last movie.

However scenes of Attacks on muggles, Weasely’s shop and the fire scene in the cave were good. Acting of Daniel in the Aragog burial scene was very good and surely they have drawn attention towards Elder wand.

Coming to elder wand, it has been made intentional on part of Dumbledore to let Draco disarm him as if it was his plan.

I think Yates has got it all wrong when it comes to the power of love. He seems to got it all mixed with teenage love. Most of the time it seemed just a triangular (2) love story.

They have also failed to bring it to life that Harry understands the difference between entering arena with your head high and being dragged to the arena. The point is all lost by them THAT IT MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD.

Posted by swati from India on July 21, 2009 9:58 PM

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