Study Guide

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 Introduction


Release Year: 2011

Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama

Director: David Yates

Writer: Steve Kloves

Stars: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint


Well, folks: your patience has finally paid off. The end is nigh.

You're no longer stuck in the limbo—which apparently looks like a glowing, clean version of King's Cross—of the middle of the Potter saga. You're not left hanging at the end of the first half of the last installment. You're almost done watching the transformation of a group of baby-faced young kids as they morph into brave, dashing, near-adult wizards.

This is it. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 is the legit final chapter of the HP series.

Quick recap: We left off at the end of Part 1 with Voldemort getting his hands on the most powerful wand in the world, and Harry still struggling to find all the Horcruxes he needs to destroy the Dark Lord once and for all.

So, things are looking a little dicey for our lightning scar-sporting hero. He has to rush around finding itty-bitty pieces of Moldy Voldy's soul all while keeping out of sight of the Death Eaters, protecting his buddies from nefarious spells, hoping against hope that Hogwarts hasn't completely become a doom-filled nightmare castle, and grappling with the fact that, if the battle against evil is lost, it'll be all on him.

That would be bad enough if J.K. Rowling's brilliance hadn't set up even more obstacles in the path of The Boy Who Lived. The dude has to break into the most-heavily guarded bank in London, fly a dragon, break in to Hogwarts, talk with a petulant ghost, and figure out how to McGyver a Horcrux-destroying implement…and that's all before he even realizes the darkest, most sinister secret in the movie.

It's no surprise that people were excited to see this David Yates-directed final chapter. The film's opening weekend raked in $169,189,427—which, as of 2017, left it sitting pretty in the list of top ten all-time opening weekends. The Harry Potter series typically got pretty impressive box office action, but the finale pretty much blew all the other films in the series out of the water on that front. (Source)

Was it worth all the build up (and having to sit through a "Part 1" before getting to the juicy finale)? Well, you'll have to judge for yourself…but we'd say that Yates and the Harry Potter crew definitely saved the best for last.

What is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 About and Why Should I Care?

Because Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 has such a pithy, roll-of-your-tongue title.

Snark aside (but seriously, what a mouthful o' title) you should care about this movie because it sets forth prime examples of not one, but two kinds of heroism.

We're going to get a little spoiler-y here for a second, so look away now if you don't want the big twists revealed.

*

*

*

You're still here? You're sure you're okay with spoilers? Okay, here goes.

The first kind of heroism, of course, is Harry Potter's. It's kind of an open secret that a boy called the "Chosen One" has a little bit of a Christ-figure thing going on. Harry's path isn't anything even close to "zero to hero"—he was presented as an antidote to evil from the very beginning of his time in Hogwarts.

But Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 makes the parallels between Harry and Jesus even stronger.

Harry, like Christ, eventually realizes he has to be willing to die in order to defeat evil. What's more, he has to embrace death in order to make sure Voldemort can be defeated, which sounds more than a little bit like the New Testament's description of how Christ was willing to die to save humanity.

So Harry, whose bravery definitely gets him a spot in the Gryffindor Hall of Fame, allows Voldemort to kill him so that the rest of the wizards and witches of the world can be saved.

But Harry's not the only hero in this film. The other is Snape.

Snape represents a kind of heroism that's light-years away from Harry's. While Harry is surrounded by friends and surrogate family members, Snape goes it alone. While Harry is lauded for his brave deeds, Snape has keep his bravery under wraps. And while Harry works towards the good of the world with a pure heart, Snape has to work towards the good of the world…while also working to keep his attraction to the Dark Arts under control.

If Harry is kind of a Christ-figure, Snape is more like…um…well, he doesn't actually fit any of the traditional heroic tropes.

He's not an anti-hero—the audience doesn't really root for him all that much until he's already dead. He's not a Byronic hero—although he's lovelorn, he's not romantic or rebellious. You could almost see him as a tragic hero—except it's his heroism, rather than hamartia, that gets him killed.

So what is Snape? We think his inability to be classified is exactly the key to why he's so interesting. He's self-sacrificing, yet drawn to evil. He's secretive, yet openhearted. He's loving, yet full of malice. And ultimately, he does the right thing.

And that's the genius of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2. It may not have a short 'n' sweet title, but it serves up two very different—but equally admirable—heroes. One fits a classic heroic mode to a T, and the other is beyond easy classification.

Trivia

The filmmakers made over 200,000 coins for the bank vault scene in Gringotts. If they lived in the Wizarding World, they'd be mega-rich. (Source)

Kate Winslet was almost Helena Ravenclaw, but her agent nixed it. (We've already seen her pale and ghostly in Titanic, we guess?) (Source)

Believe it or not, Part 2 was the shortest film in the franchise…and you'll probably be surprised to see which one was longest. (Source)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 Resources

Websites

Pottermore Does the Hallows
No shocker: The website devoted to all things Potter has a site on the story's final installment. (It's the book, not the movie, but close enough, right?).

Wiki Hallows
Just in case Pottermore didn't have enough deets for you, there's also a Potter Wiki.

Book or TV Adaptations

Is there a book? Let us think…
Yup, there's a paper version—and we've done a learning guide on it.

Articles and Interviews

The Reviews Are In
And they're pretty good.

Cast Party
Check out what the cast had to say about the film just prior to its release—but be warned, there are spoilers.

Video

Beasts, Spells, and Cursed Fire Snakes…
…all the ingredients you need for a good Harry Potter trailer, right? They kind of give away one of the big surprises, though.

Beasts, Spells, and Cursed Fire Snakes…in LEGO
Yup, this is pretty much the standard trailer, but in LEGOs. You're welcome.

Straight from the Horse's (Director's) Mouth
Hear what director David Yates had to say about wrapping up the series.

Audio

Deathly Music
Can't get enough of thunderously scary music? You're in luck: the entire soundtrack for the film is online.

Images

Bruised, Battered, and Defeated?
Harry's looking kind of rough in this poster for the finale…should we be getting worried right about now?

A Warmer, Cuddlier Snape
Let's take a moment to appreciate Snape's deep, deep love for Lily Potter (as he ignores poor traumatized Harry in the background).