Tuesday 20 December 2011

Twelve Days of Christmas 8: Harry Potter

Because of each book in the Harry Potter series spanning an entire school year, Christmas features in each of them. I found it difficult to choose just one moment, so I chose three Christmas scenes that stood out to me.

Philosopher's Stone:

After a childhood of neglect, Harry discovers that people actually like him enough to send him Christmas presents. Among other things, he receives a knitted sweater from his best friend's mother, who he's met for all of about five minutes, and an invisibility cloak from an anonymous sender with the instructions to use it well. Venturing out into the school at night to explore, he comes across a room containing a mirror. But no ordinary mirror: the Mirror of Erised shows his deepest longing - himself with his parents, who died when he was just a baby.

Goblet of Fire:

The Yule Ball, from Harry and Ron's point of view is, frankly, a disaster. Neither of them particularly want to be there, having taken as their partners two girls they have no interest in. Harry would far rather be dancing with Cho Chang, and Ron - well - he seems more than usually grumpy at the thought of Hermione partnering Triwizard rival Viktor Krum. Odd, that! But this is a major turning point in the series for Hermione Granger, the first point in which she is seen as a girl rather than a nerdy know-it-all. When the film came out, this was the moment that seemed to be hyped up above the main storyline: the point in which Hermione becomes pretty. (Considering that Emma Watson had showed up at premieres dressed up nicely, it was less of a big deal to viewers than it was to readers, but still. It was a lovely moment - until Ron ruined it. Nice one, Weasley!)

Deathly Hallows:

The last months have been a nightmare. Fleeing for their lives and wanted by Lord Voldemort, Harry, Ron and Hermione have embarked on the seemingly impossible task of tracking down Voldemort's horcruxes - which could be anything, anywhere - and destroying them. The quest has put strain on their friendship, and Ron has left. Harry and Hermione turn up in Godric's Hollow, the village where the Potters lived and died, in the cold. They search for Harry's parents' grave, and they hear the church bells ringing and people singing carols. It's Christmas eve, and they didn't even know it. The scene is sad subdued, far from the innocent joy of his first Christmas at Hogwarts, but the longing is the same, for what he's never known. It is a beautiful, but heartbreaking pensive moment, the calm amidst storms.

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