'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows -- Part 2' footage ruminates on sacrifice and loss


Image Credit: Jaap Buitendijk

We were warned from the start that the four minutes of footage was rough. But for any lover of the Harry Potter films, it was a preview that would surely strike at the heart.

Though the story has already been finished and published by J.K. Rowling, the final half of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows won’t reach the screen until July 15. For those who’ve faithfully followed Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint over the past decade as they played the boy wizard and his friends Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, the closing of this franchise is bound to come freighted with emotion.

The good news: The finale will lean hard on those feelings, depicting not just a climactic battle between good and evil, but also ruminating on the losses and sacrifices it took to get there. Harry Potter fans know how it all turns out, but this film is determined to remind us that the price for a happy ending is often a lot of unhappy endings.

After the jump, here’s what theater owners gathered at CinemaCon saw (and let us pause to mention the requisite SPOILER ALERT here):

The footage opens with a whisper. Ralph Fiennes’ Voldemort: “Harry… bring him to me.”

Then Harry, Hermione, and Ron are in a room talking to the rescued wand-maker Mr. Ollivander (John Hurt), who assures the boy wizard: “He’s after you Mr. Potter. You really don’t stand a chance.”

Harry responds, defiantly: “I suppose I’ll have to kill him before he finds me, then.”

There was footage of a battle with the white dragon, and Hermione cries, “We can’t just stand here. Who’s got an idea?”

“Don’t ask us,” Ron squeaks. “You’re the brilliant one!”

“I’ve got something, but it’s mad,” she says, and before she can explain it she dives through a stone archway onto the back of the beast.

The footage then cuts to the hills outside of their old school, now occupied by Snape and the Death-Eaters. “We need to get into Hogwarts tonight,” Harry says, but Hermione thinks he’s being rash.

“We can’t do that. We have to plan. We’ve got to figure it out,” she says.

But Ron decides they should just charge in, fearless. “Hermione, when have any of our plans ever actually worked? We plan, we get there, all hell breaks loose!”

Here, the footage takes a more melancholy turn. The camera scans over a hallway full of bodies, not lying peacefully, but scattered and broken with blood smearing the floor. Voldemort’s voice says: “You have allowed your friends to die for you, rather than face me yourself. Join me in The Forbidden Forest and confront your fate.”

In the forest, Harry finds the images of those Voldemort meant, the people who have given their lives for him: His mother, father, godfather Sirius Black…

“Why are you here, all of you?” he demands.

“We never left,” his mother whispers.

“You’ll stay with me?” Harry’s voice is high and fearful, while the ghosts are soothing and calm.

“Always,” his mother says.

“Until the end,” adds his father, which is as ominous as it is reassuring.

What follows is a scene already released in the teaser trailer in which Harry faces Voldemort unarmed, ready to sacrifice himself as the final horcrux keeping his nemesis alive. “Harry Potter, the boy who lived… come to die,” Voldemort says before the almost disappointingly easy slaying. Potter dies without a fight. But ..

Rowling’s vision of the afterlife is a white void, and Harry finds himself facing his mentor, the late headmaster Albus Dumbledore, slain by Severus Snape, who says, “You brave, brave man… ” It’s a simple line, but loaded with meaning for someone known as “The Boy who lived.”

“You are the true master of death, Harry,” Dumbledore tells him, and Potter finds that because he died willingly, he will be able to go back.

In the next scene, he is facing Alan Rickman’s Severus Snape in the Great Hall of Hogwarts, challenging him as thousands of students look on. “How dare you stand where he stood!” Potter screams. “Tell them how it happened that night. How you looked him in the eye, a man who trusted you, and KILLED him!” Anyone who knows the story can read layers of reaction on Snape’s face.

More battle unfolds, as the two armies clash over the battleground of the school. “Let’s finish this the way we started,” Potter tells Voldemort, grabbing him as they both tumble over a cliff as Potter’s voice echoes: “… together… “

But the truly heartbreaking line comes just before the end, as Potter says, “I never wanted any of you to die for me.”

This is what makes the story resonate so deeply. No matter the victory, or whether he lives, this is a character who knows he has survived because others have not. He might wish it was otherwise, but even his world doesn’t have that kind of magic.

For more film news, follow Anthony Breznican on Twitter @Breznican.

Read more:
‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2′ poster appropriately gritty
‘Harry Potter’ finale featurette: Stop. Hurting. Hogwarts.
‘Harry Potter’ set tour open to muggles in 2012
‘Harry Potter’ trio talks war film final installment: WARNING. You might cry.
EW’s Harry Potter Central

Comments (143 total) Add your comment
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  • Suzanne

    Want. Now.

    • PMD

      NEED. NOW!!!

      • kimmy

        i got chills just reading this!

    • Color Me Impressed

      Nothing on earth could stop me from seeing this film at the midnight showing. NOTHING.

      • Woot

        Lightning, tornadoes, monsoons, blizzards, the hand of god, fire breathing dragons, kim jong il….yeah there are plent of things that could stop you from seeing this film a the midnight showing.

      • Michelle

        Impatiently waiting for advance tickets for midnight showing to go on sale!!

  • j

    God, this sounds like its going to be EPICLY AMAZING! As a loyal follower of the series, this is both equally exciting and heartbreaking. I still remember going to see the first film when I was 9 yeas old, and I honestly don’t know what is going to make me cry more: the fact that the franchise is now officially over or the fact that my childhood is now officially over.
    I only wish they had previewed the final scene of the movie, the one that would correspond to the epilogue of the novel. I really want to know how the age progression thing looks (Although even if it looks bad, I am SOOO glad they didn’t decide to use different actors for that final scene. We watched Emma Dan and Rupert grow up in theese films, it would have been a travisty to have the final frame of the movie feature someone else.)

    • Anna

      I completely agree with everything you said. I highly doubt they will use different actors. They will probably just make them look older.

      • Jeremy Sheer

        Um you are not really following this movie religiously. They had to redue the epilogue because he couldnt hear them and the makeup and the setting was terrible the offically wrapped december 2010. instead of june 2010. so stop speculating and follow rather than make assumptions.

    • justink

      I think that this is a little OVERdramatic.
      Calm down, Michael Jackson

    • Lea

      If you really want to know, there is a zillion videos of them over youtube filming the epilogue.

      • Jeremy Sheer

        epiologue is already done the film is all done everything is done.

  • jabrilli

    loved the spoilers….can’t wait to end this series, love the books. loved the article, thx

    • Dal

      Can I just say I started crying just READING the part about his parents and Sirius. I never get through that part of the book and to see it on screen, I’m gonna be a wreck.

      • Chelsea

        Did I miss a mention of Lupin in the recap? Isn’t he supposed to be there too?

      • Dal

        He is supposed to be there. He is the one that Harry addresses when he says the line about not wanting all of them to die. I have a feeling he is cut. They didn’t really build much of a relationship between Harry and Lupin in the movies.

      • Jason

        Lupin will be there, Gary Oldman confirmed it.

      • Hannah

        I felt myself tear up. I’m gonna be a nightmare when the movie actually ends.

      • chris

        that part of DH was gut-wrenching. planning to take kleenex with me to the movie.

  • Brett

    “Let’s finish this the way we started,” Potter tells Voldemort, grabbing him as they both tumble over a cliff as Potter’s voice echoes: “… together… “

    For all the faults of the films, I have a feeling the Harry-Voldemort confrontation may top the book version.

    • M

      Sounds that way, but what I liked about that scene in the book was that Harry still took the ‘non-violent’ approach and that he overcame Tom Riddle (insult to Voldy) in front of everyone. I wouldn’t want Harry to defeat Voldy without anyone there to see him do it.

      • Brett

        The thing about the Harry-Voldy confrontation as it is in the book is it just wouldn’t work on film. Its basically them talking for 6 pages followed by them each casting a single spell at one another as witnessed by at least a hundred people. That worked great in the book but that would be terribly anticlimactic on film. It looks like for the movie theyre going to have Harry and Voldemort have a proper fight on their own, which in a film is more intense and personal, and I think will work better. Its sort of how in the Half Blood Prince book Harry was frozen in place and under the invisibility cloak when Dumbledore was killed. But in the film they made him more of an active witness. That stuff works fine in a book but not a movie.

      • RJ

        @Brett, I disagree about the Half Blood Prince. What made Dumbledore’s death all the more tragic for Harry was his complete and utter helplessness. To watch his mentor/father figure/teacher die and be standing right there, frozen, was such torture. I think that would have played beautifully on screen, Daniel Radcliffe is able to portray emotions wonderfully without a word. That was the part of all the movies that I liked the least, including the ridiculous burning of the Burrow. Was very disappointed also that we were cheated out of the scene between Harry and Dumbledore at the end of OOTP as well. It explained so much, was so heartfelt and moving, and I so looked forward to seeing it on screen. Ah well, still can’t wait for Part II, while dreading it at the same time. Hate to see it end…

      • ash

        They have made Harry a rather passive character in the movies. In the book he literally couldn’t do anything to help Dumbledore, who paralysed him because he knew Harry would never just stand there and witness his death. Which is exactly what movie Harry did.

        And now we have Hermione acting like Harry and climbing onto the dragon first. Hermione’s fear of heights and flights is well-established. In the books this was Harry’s idea.
        Movie Harry is not the rash, determined but fearless Harry of the books.

      • Liza

        @Brett, I disagree. I think the final confrontation between Harry and Voldemort as it is in the book would work perfectly fine on film. It’s such a tense moment, and the fact that Harry can stand there, face to face with his twice would-be killer, show no fear, and not resort to violence is amazing and would make for a really powerful viewing experience. Plus, Ralph Fiennes is so creepily perfect as Voldemort, it would be great to watch him in that scene as it’s written in the book.

      • chase

        @ Ash!! Totally agree. Harry seems to be lucky in the movie where as in the books he is more skilled.

    • Jason

      What I love about that is at that point, Harry is showing his bravery and is Mastery of Death. That he has nothing to be afraid of. I’m sure when they are about to reach the ground, Voldemort will apparate them, showing is fear and cowardice of death.

    • Liz Lemon

      That line sounds cheesy to me. I need to hear the way it’s delivered in the movie! But I can’t wait to see it!!!! I’m so pumped! I didn’t read all of the spoilers, because it sounds like they changed up a few things from a book…so I want to be surprised. But I’m literally sick with anticipation!! WB has GOT to release a trailer soon!!

    • Jenna

      I don’t think the rest of the movie being great would make up for it if they changed the final confrontation that much. The ENTIRE POINT is that Harry DOESN’T USE VIOLENCE, he defeats Voldemort by making him feel small through his words and by taking away his power (the horacruxes and his wand). Pushing Voldemort off of a cliff with him is just pointless action, not meaningful, and violence is Voldemort’s territory.

      • District 12

        @Jenna, sounds like you are a true HP fan, that was the same thing I thought while reading about this footage, it seems to me that once again WB doesn’t understand the reasons for harry’s actions and are just going for whatever looks good on the screen

      • Dommerdog

        There’s important public redemption for Snape, Dumbledore, and Harry in the dialogue between Harry and Voldy in their final duel. How will everybody witness that if the scene is trimmed to Harry and Voldy going over a cliff? The final duel also demonstrates Voldy’s faulty reasoning over the true ownership of the Elder Wand and why killing Snape didn’t restore Voldy’s masterful wandwork.

      • ash

        Thank you District 12 . This is the point I have been making for years. And it’s not just Harry.
        I will never forget the scene in GOF when Dumbledore tries to strangle Harry after the names of the Tournament champions are revealed. Pathetic.

      • bea

        @ Dommerdog:
        I agree completely.
        I also hated how in DH pt.1 they omitted Harry finding half of his mother’s letter/picture (amongst many other very important plot points) that lead to such an emotional wallop at the end of DH pt.2 when everything comes together.
        I wonder if they will actually have Harry delve into all of Snape’s memories or if it will just be skimmed over in some other way… That chapter in the book had me sobbing, and then after flipping back to read Snape’s (SPOILER movie fans) final moments.

      • kimmy

        i’m sure they will handle the harry/voldy battle appropriately. i just hope that snape is handled correctly. so much was cut out of HBP and even DH1. i NEED that to be handled well!

  • Becky

    Wow….ok so if that made me cry, the movie is going to kill me. I hate to see it end, but wow what a way to go out. I can’t wait!!!!

  • bluesabriel

    I got goosebumps just reading this. Looks like they’re going to do the final half justice.

  • Beth

    Holy crap. That’s all I can say. Thank you for this! My official countdown to the movie begins now.

    • Rilza

      Glad you are back, I have been checking in and tinnkihg about you. Just yesterday I was planning on sending you an email and yay, here you are. Hope you are well and hope you didn’t suffer from heat stroke running in that high heat!!! XO!

  • RT

    I’m torn. I want to see this movie NOW, but I don’t want this story and franchise to be over.

  • Chelsea

    CAN’T WAIT!! Harry’s walk in the forest is going to ruin me. Every time I read it it just drains me emotionally.

    • Liz Lemon

      Me too. I bawled like a BABY when I read that part.

  • Rudabeh

    Why is Hermione yet again being given lines stolen from Harry and or Ron? God the screen writers have such a hard on for her

    The rest looks exciting though!

    • Elle

      I hear ya, I’m sure Ron and Harry are gonna be badassas in their own right but I agree Kloves screws up again in favor of his favorite character. Can’t wait for this!

      • Jason

        You really give a damn about something as small as that? Bleh.

      • Elle

        If it’s important to me then it’s none of your business.

      • HoneyB

        Au contraire. If you posted your musing, it’s people’s business.

      • Liz Lemon

        What are you talking about? Hermione is the BRAINS in the trio. She’s the one who gets the ideas. You seriously need to read the book again.

      • ash

        Yes but in the books it is Harry who jumps on the dragon first. This is an impulsive, instinctive action, not smart or logical, which is why it occurs to him, but not to Hermione who is terrified of flying.

      • Liz Lemon

        @ash: Oh yeah. Maybe I need to read it again. But I like that they have Hermione do it. Girl power! :)

      • bea

        @ Jason:
        It’s actually a pretty big deal – by constantly (and it was consistent) giving Hermione most of Ron’s lines and some of Harry’s they changed the dynamic of the trio on screen just because they felt that Emma Watson was the superior actor. Rupert Grint was ROBBED!!!! I saw Wild Target, and he was quite good and held his own with Bill Nighy and Emily Blunt. I digress – In the books there is great friendship between the three, but Harry and Ron are just a little bit closer and while Harry loves Hermione (as a friend) he does, in fact, find her annoying from time to time. And she doesn’t ALWAYS have the answer to EVERY situation.

    • Kristin

      Well to be fair, Ron got a bunch of lines that were originally Hermione’s in the first few movies, so I guess it evens out.

      • Dove

        No actually Hermione got Ron’s lines in the first few movies. I dunno what you’re talking about.

      • ash

        Dove is correct. She’s given Harry and Ron’s lines and even Dumbledore’s in CoS in the scene where they first meet Lucius Malfoy.

    • Liz Lemon

      What lines did they give her? Hermione does get that idea in the book.

      • Sabrina

        and i quote:
        ‘ “This way!” Harry yelled, and still shooting Stunning Spells at the advancing goblins he sprinted towards the blind dragon.
        “Harry – Harry – what are you doing?” cried Hermione.
        “Get up, climb up. come on-”
        The dragon had not realized that it was free. Harry’s foot found the crook of its hind leg and he pulled himself up onto its back.’

        Harry gets the idea, Hermione has no idea what the hell he’s doing… just one example of how they always make everything Hermione’s idea in the movies, like the other two are just bumbling idiots (especially Ron). I hate how they cut down his character!

    • S

      I KNOW!!! Though I think it has more to do with a hard on for Emma Watson than it does for the character Hermione. Don’t get me wrong, she’s a decent actress but she seemed to peak first out of the three child actors in terms of ability and range and ever since it’s seems like they haven’t wanted to give Rupert Grint a chance. There’s quite a few things from the books that Ron does, ideas he comes up with or emotions he displays that are downplayed, omitted or given to another character in the movie. For example, the reason he originally hooks up with Lavender – his outburst at Ginny (there’s another character they really screwed up in the movies), followed by his insecurity over Hermione’s past. I also didn’t like how the movie handled Ron’s return/Hermione’s outburst in DH pt.1 – where was the passion, over the top anger?
      I’m nitpicking, I know….

    • phorbin

      Because the director appears to have a thing for Hermione.

      Ron seems to be present mostly for sentiment and the director does him, and the story a terrible disservice by not showing Ron’s strengths.

      Weasely is our King…. version 2

  • Kim E

    OMG! I’m tearing up reading this! This is what I try to explain to people, but they just don’t get it. I say its more than a kids story, it kind of grew out of that after the 3rd book. Its about sacrifice, friendship, & love. Oh I’m starting to get emotional and my friend is looking at me wondering what’s wrong with me.

    • Adalynn

      It’s about a boy trying to find his place in the world. I get it. I think it would be way cool if they released this movie on July 31st, one big birthday party in honor of the boy who lived.

  • Too Old to be this big a fan

    All this sounds amazing, but…

    Why no Neville? Where is Neville?

    • Chelsea

      Oh, I heart Neville so much! I really hope they don’t change his part in terms of book vs movie that much. I want to see him whack Nagini’s head off!

    • Adalynn

      Whenever Neville comes through the tunnel from Hogwarts I swear my heart bursts with pride for who he has become. His journey and Harry’s are both struggles in different ways and his (Neville’s) triumph as a leader is one of the most satisfying wrap ups in the whole series. Neville is one BAMF.

      • kimmy

        hopefully they get this right. i can’t wait to see him pull out the sword from the sorting hat!!

    • Elle

      Yes to the Neville. He’s gonna be awesome.

    • Stacie

      I could have sworn I saw some portrait of Neville all messed up (cuts, bruises) so I’m sure he’ll be in. Grandma Longbottom may not.

      • Elle

        She’s in I read that on snitch seeker.

      • Jason

        They also added a scene where he takes on a army of Snatchers and defeats them all. If anything, they are adding to his BAMFness.

    • Liz Lemon

      He’s definitely in the movie. The first DH Part II still that was released featured Neville. There have also been shots of him holding the sword.

  • Elle

    Omg I want DH 2 STAT!!!

  • lettergirl

    i need to re-read the books NOW so i can be totally (more) hyped when the movie opens. yippee!

  • dani

    i can’t wait for this movie to come out
    Harry Potter has been my childhood…..
    i know i’m going to see this movie more than one time :] the way you guys describe it sounds like the book i can’t wait aaaaahhhh Harry Potter ROCKS !!!! i just can’t wait for ‘The Prince’s Tale” Snape’s story i’m so freaking excited Accio July 15th ;p

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