Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 opens in theaters this Friday (anyone else going to see it Thursday at midnight?!) — and as the world gears up for “the beginning of the end” of this epic franchise, the Boy Who Lived is at the forefront of everyone’s minds. So it makes sense that there are lots of wizarding headlines making news. Here are some of our latest favorites:
*The Buffalo News explores the first generation of Potter fans, and how they have grown up with the books’ young heroes:
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I” will roar into a cineplex near you at midnight Thursday, followed by Part II on July 15, 2011. The orphan with the lightning-shaped scar on his forehead will emerge triumphant from the Tolkien-style blowout battle with Lord You-Know-Who.
And that will be that — the final chapter of a saga that captured the imagination of the generation who grew up along with the boy wizard, pestered their parents to take them to crowded bookstores for midnight release parties and to midnight movie releases, dreamed of getting their own invitations to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry — and made author J.K. Rowling richer than the queen.
Those original Potter fans — the Potter generation who grew up with Harry — are now in college and still apparently as wild about the Potter-verse as ever. And a new generation of readers still seems to be discovering Harry Potter, but in smaller numbers.
It’s really kind of incredible, when you think about it. It’s been 10 years since the first movie came out, and even longer since the first book was published (1997 in the U.K.; 1998 in the U.S.) Harry Potter has really been a huge part of pop culture for over a decade — and it all started with a book!
* MTV looks at the 10 most surprisingly important Harry Potter characters. We’re pretty much inclined to agree with their list:
3. Ginny Weasley
Who She Is: Ron’s younger sister and fellow Gryffindor student
Why She Didn’t Seem Important: When Harry first met Ginny in “Sorcerer’s Stone,” she was just the little sister of Ron Weasley who wasn’t old enough to go Hogwarts. When she finally was old enough in “Chamber of Secrets,” we only knew she had a huge crush on Harry and accidentally brought about the opening of the titular Champer. But it never really seemed like her importance would rival the Big Three’s.
Why She Is Important: She is Harry’s love and future wife, first and foremost, but Ginny also became a big part of both Quidditch and Harry’s quest. Plus, she’s the motivation behind the best quote of the whole series: Mrs. Weasley yelling, “Not my daughter, you bitch!”
2. Neville Longbottom
Who He Is: Harry Potter’s fellow Gryffindor student at Hogwarts
Why He Didn’t Seem Important: Neville was the goofy friend of Harry’s who always seemed to screw up. He was great for a little comic relief, but not much else.
Why He Is Important: If only both we and Harry had known that Neville also matched Professor Trelawney’s prophecy about the wizard who would bring down Voldemort. It was only because Voldemort chose to try to kill Harry that made their fates forever entwined. That earned Neville plenty of cred in our book. But when he also stepped up to lead Dumbledore’s Army in resistance efforts at Hogwarts while Harry was on the run, we knew he was one of the saga’s true heroes.
1. Severus Snape
Who He Is: Potions professor and Head of Slytherin House at Hogwarts
Why He Didn’t Seem Important: Snape always seemed important, but only as the professor determined to make Harry’s life a living hell.
Why He Is Important: Is he good or is he evil? We don’t want to ruin the end of “Deathly Hallows: Part 2” for you, but let’s just say the answer’s a bit more complicated than that. And it’s the contradictions of Snape’s character that not only make him one of the most important people in the series, but by far the most complex and interesting.
* If you ARE going to a midnight screening (like ME!), NextMovie has some advice for surviving the night (some serious, some tongue-in-cheek):
Pretend you’re getting sick during the day. You’re going to a midnight screening, which means you’re not going to get home until crazy late. Who wants to drag themselves out of bed and go to work or school a few hours later? Let’s face it, you’re going to call in sick on Friday, so at least do some prep work on Thursday. Cough a lot. Or say, ”I think I’m coming down with something…” It’s not really a lie — you’re coming down with Harry Potter Fever.
Get there early. Attending a midnight screenings requires wizard-like discipline and focus. Getting your ticket is just the beginning — now you’ve got to get a good seat. Get there early and get in line. And since you’re getting there early…
Eat before you go. It’s going to be a long night, and you’ll need nourishment for the task at hand. Chow down on some Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans before departing for the theater.
Bring your Harry Posse. A midnight screening is an event, and one that shouldn’t be experienced solo. Bring your own personal Hufflepuff, Slytherin, Griffindor or Ravenclaw and contribute to the communal atmosphere.
See the rest of their sage advice here.
* And if you’re wondering whether there will be any more Harry Potter books … well, it looks like J.K. Rowling has texted Daniel Radcliffe that he can hang up his Hogwarts uniform for good:
“Basically, it amounted to the fact that she felt I had been very good in this ‘Harry Potter’ film, and as a reward for that, she wasn’t going to [write] any more ‘Harry Potter’ [books],” Radcliffe revealed to MTV News.
“I’m sure she will be writing other books,” he continued. “But I can pretty much guarantee that Harry will not be a feature.”
See more at MTV, plus their photo gallery of the NYC premiere.
Dying! Can’t even stand the wait! I would love to go to a midnight show but I don’t think I can make it happen unfortunately. Still, opening day for sure!