Dragon*Con: 4 days and counting!

Dragon*Con begins in Atlanta on Friday, and for this Grown-Up Fangirl, this year is shaping up to be the best since I began attending back in 2007.

All of my favorites will be there: guests/panels on “Supernatural“, “True Blood”, “The Vampire Diaries“, “Being Human“, and of course, Harry Potter. I have the privilege again this year of attending on a media pass, representing Examiner.com (I am the Atlanta Sci-Fi Movies and Atlanta Sci-Fi TV Examiner), and I will also have a chance to display my love for Harry Potter by sitting on two panels this year: Harry Potter: From Page to Screen (Friday 8:30pm), and The Hero’s Journey of Neville Longbottom (Saturday 1pm). Both panels are part of the Young Adult Literature track; stop by and say hi!

Also, I have received an invite to one of the press conferences being held for Jim Beaver, who plays Bobby Singer on “Supernatural”. This will be my first press conference, and I’m very excited at the opportunity.

You can look below to see what panels I will be attending, and if you have any burning questions for any of the stars, please let me know and I’ll try to get your answers posted.

Supernatural guests: Jim Beaver (Bobby), Mark A. Sheppard (Crowley), Misha Collins (Castiel), Samantha Ferris (Ellen Harvelle), Julie McNiven (Anna) and Christopher Heyerdahl (Alistair)

True Blood guests: Kristen Bauer van Straten (Pam), Jim parrack (Hoyt Fortenberry), Joe Manganiello (Alcide Herveaux), and Denis O’Hare (Russell Edgington); Charlaine Harris will also be there (author of The Southern Vampire Series, the books upon which “True Blood” is based)

Being Human guests: Sam Witwer (Aiden), Sam Huntington (Josh) and Meaghan Rath (Sally)

The Vampire Diaries guests: Sara Canning (Jenna), David Anders (John Gilbert) and Michael Trevino (Tyler Lockwood)

Harry Potter guest: Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy)

If you are a reader of the blog and will be at Dragon*Con, please let me know…I love meeting new people face-to-face. You can message me here or via Twitter.

Dragon*Con is the largest multi-media, popular culture convention focusing on science fiction and fantasy, gaming, comics, literature, art, music, and film. Every Labor Day weekend, about 40,000 people crowd the streets and take over the hotels of downtown Atlanta to meet friends, celebrities, cosplay and totally geek out. Ticket information can be found on the official website.

You can read more about my experiences at Dragon*Cons past at this link.

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2”: Mischief Managed

All was well.

That’s really the only appropriate beginning to any review about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, isn’t it?

The final, climactic chapter of the tale of the boy wizard finally hit theaters last Friday, and it did not fail to deliver: the series went out with a HUGE bang. Beginning with a first day total of $92.1 million (domestically), the films has already broken records and is now officially the top-grossing film franchise ever, beating out previous record holder Star Wars.

I was at the theater fairly early on Thursday night (in costume), with about 30 of my fellow Potterheads to share in what was most certainly expected to be an emotional end for those of us who have been following Harry – if not from the beginning – for the past few years. It was an experience I wanted to make sure I shared with the right fans: not just the ones who “like” or ‘love” the series, but those who eat, breathe, dream, and live their lives with Harry as a major part of their being.

That being said, I also wanted to wait to post my thoughts on the film – knowing that I would never be able to say everything I felt after just one viewing, especially since I spent the majority of the film in tears and amidst all of the sniffling and cheering in the theater, missed some things the first go-round. Now that I’ve seen the film again, I think I can “properly” voice my thoughts on the end.

(Just in case you may not have realized, this post will be very detailed and very spoilery, so if you haven’t seen the film by now, you may want to wait before reading this post). Now that I’ve given my warning, let’s get down to it, shall we?

Overall: Overall, I think the film was brilliantly done. I think my first impression of the film was “perfect”, but there are a few minor tweaks I would have liked to have seen. That being said, I still think Deathly Hallows – Part 2 was probably as close to perfect as we could have asked for within the constraints of filming all eight installments. Here are just a few of my likes and dislikes on the film.

The Good: One of the things that I loved about DH2 was that all of the key scenes (translate: fan favorites)  from the novel were included. Unlike Half-Blood Prince, where major plot points were completely disregarded, DH2 filled in a majority of the gaps created by the previous seven films. Snape, Molly Weasley, Neville, Gringott’s – it was all there.

“The Prince’s Tale” – where Harry gets to look at Snape’s memories and find out where his loyalties truly were – was probably the best sequence I’ve seen in any of the films, aside from “The Tale of the Three Brothers” animated sequence from DH1. If Alan Rickman doesn’t receive some type of award nomination for his performance in this film, I will be no less than disgusted. To see him go from seemingly cold and callous to an emotional, distraught wreck whenever Lily Potter’s name was even mentioned literally broke my heart. His death played out more viciously than I ever imagined it in my head, and his final scene with Harry was poignant and well-played. Anyone who didn’t cry during Snape’s final moments onscreen just didn’t get it, in my opinion.

Credit: Movies.comThe Weasleys – whether it was just seeing Arthur cast a spell to hold off a Death Eater, or hearing Ron’s anguished cry over the body of his dead brother, I am SO very glad that the Weasleys finally got their due. In previous films, one of my main complaints was that the Weasleys were never shown to their full potential: Arthur was mainly shown as a silly wizard who only had interest in Muggle artifacts, and Molly was often presented as overbearing and weak (who would really believe that Molly would stand by and let her home burn down? Really?). In DH2, we see that Molly was as powerful as any other prominently showcased witch in the series (NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU BITCH!) but in a very realistic way. Bellatrix was one of the most powerful witches in the entire series, mostly because the cruel and sadistic nature of her personality enhanced whatever evil she was involved in. She cursed and killed for pleasure, not necessity, and that was one of the things that made her the most feared of all Death Eaters, and most respected by Voldemort. When Molly first attacked, you could see her fear on her face as Bellatrix retaliated. For me, that brief glimpse of fear is what made the scene real for me, made me believe that Molly really had what it took to defeat Bellatrix for good. And her triumphant smirk at the end was perfect.

My only complaint for the Weasley family is that we did not get the full emotional impact of Percy’s “Prodigal Son” return that we did in the books. I’m sure that most film-only fans probably don’t even know of what I’m referring to, but I think that it would have been a great addition to the films if that part of the story had been kept intact.

Ron & Hermione’s kiss: FINALLY!!! We get to see what a proper kiss in the Harry Potter film world looks like! Did anyone not cheer when it happened? Granted, the scene was different than it should have been (I really wanted to hear Harry’s “Oi! We’re in the middle of a war here!”), but it was still a great kiss nonetheless. The fact that they went from such an adult kiss and then erupted in teenage giggles made the scene even more enduring.

Harry’s death: I think this is one of the best scenes in the film. Very simple with just a white room, Dumbledore and Harry, the scene showed how clever a man – even if just a tad bit deceptive – Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore really was. I’m very glad they kept the majority of the dialogue from the book to explain everything (especially since I felt they royally screwed up in Order of the Phoenix when they left out the major details regarding the prophecy and why it was so important.)

I also feel the need to say this: in the end, Michael Gambon turned out to be a fantastic Dumbledore. As I’ve spent the past few weeks re-watching all of the films, I see him more and more as Dumbledore than I ever have. As much as I hated his portrayal of Dumbledore in Goblet of Fire, I think he has really channeled the spirit and character of our beloved Headmaster with increasing accuracy – especially in the final three films.

“The Forest Again” scene where Harry gets to speak with the spirits of his loved ones was very well-done, very emotional. I love that Harry was able to find peace towards the end of what he thinks is his walk towards death by receiving comfort from those who died to protect him. My only gripe with this scene was mentioning Teddy Lupin: since his birth was never mentioned (at all) in the films, and his part in the epilogue scene was cut from the film entirely, I felt like it was just empty words on a screen, especially to film fans who would have no idea who he is anyway. Nice try, but it really could have been left out and no one would have known the difference.

Of course, I could go on and on (and on) about this film, but I’ll end my ramblings with just this: it was a fantastic end to a magical series, and one that I’m sure will be a favorite for generations to come. Thank you, Jo Rowling, for bringing such a wonderful world to the imaginations of us all. Thank you, Christopher Columbus, Alfonso Cuaron, Mike Newell and David Yates, for bringing our beloved wizarding world and Hogwarts to life in such spectacular ways, and thank you to all of the cast who have loved these characters and given them to us – the fans – in such respectful, loving and faithful interpretations. Harry, his tale, and what his story has brought into my life will continue to live on, and I’ll be forever thankful for how much this series and its fandom has enriched my life.

Mischief managed.

New clip from “Deathly Hallows – Part 2” re-visits the Chamber of Secrets

Ron and Hermione fans, rejoice!!! Fandango has released an exclusive clip from the highly anticipated Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2.

In the clip, Ron and Hermione journey down to the Chamber of Secrets to collect a basilisk fang in order to destroy one of Voldemort’s horcruxes. As Hermione had explained to Harry in Deathly Hallows – Part 1, basilisk venom can destroy horcruxes, so the duo decide to go straight to the source. The scene was only implied in the novel from which the movie is based, and its addition into the movie is sure to please longtime Ron/Hermione fans.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 will be in theaters July 15.

New featurette shows BTS of Gringott’s Break-In in “Deathly Hallows Part 2”

In addition to “The Story” and “Where We Left Off” featurettes that have recently been revealed, Warner Bros. has released – exclusively on EW – yet another featurette from the upcoming Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 – this one featuring a key scene in Gringotts Bank.

In “Gringotts & Goblins”, the cast and crew take us behind the scenes for what was one of the most memorable chapters in “Deathly Hallows”. Harry, Ron and Hermione enlist the help of Griphook the Goblin in order to break in to Gringott’s Bank, where they believe one of Voldemort’s horcruxes is hidden. Warwick Davis, who plays Griphook, gives viewers a little bit of background on who Griphook is, and explains what is happening in the scene. One of the most interesting aspects of this scene is seeing Helena Bonham Carter act as Hermione, acting as Bellatrix (through the use of Polyjuice Potion).

You can see the video below:

(Bloggers note: Is it just me, or does Ron look way cool – and hawt! – with the longer hair and facial scruff?!)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 will be in theaters on July 15.

“Pottermore” to preview new chapters tomorrow

 

Pottermore logo from official website

Pottermore, the latest project by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, has announced via their Twitter page that beginning tomorrow, three new chapters will be previewed on the website. According to the tweet, posted around 11am EST:

Coming up tomorrow: the first of three special previews of one of the Pottermore chapters.
 
Pottermore was announced last week as the next phase in the Harry Potter journey. While no new books will be written, the website will feature new material relating to the stories that have already been told in the seven-volume series. For more on what Pottermore is, check out J.K. Rowling’s announcement below:
 
 

Two new “Harry Potter” featurettes appear online

In anticipation for the July 15 release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, Warner Bros. has released two new featurettes that focus on both parts of the final chapter in Harry’s journey.

In “Where We Left off”,  clips of the trailers from both Deathly Hallows films are interspersed with snippets of interviews with cast members Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson, Director David Yates, Producers David Heyman and David Barron. The clip basically gives a recap of the key points from Deathly Hallows – Part 1 and sets fans up for what to expect in Part 2.

In “The Story”, the aforementioned cast and crew talk about the plot for Part 2, which will conclude Harry, Ron and Hermione’s horcrux hunt with the final battle at Hogwarts, where heavy losses will hit both sides. Where Part 1 was mostly a character-and-plot building story, Part 2 is being boasted as an “action” film from start to finish. Truths will be revealed, destinies will be fulfilled, and a few well-missed faces will return as Harry ends his lifelong battle against Voldemort. But when the battle is over and the  dust has settled, which side will claim victory?

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 will be in theaters nationwide on July 15.

 

J.K. Rowling announces details for “Pottermore” website

Pottermore logo from official website

For Harry Potter fans, the wait is finally over: this morning at 7am EST, author J.K. Rowling released a video announcing the launch of Pottermore, a new, interactive website that will be the ultimate experience for fans of the best-selling books and films.

From the official press release:

For this groundbreaking collaborative project, J.K. Rowling has written extensive new material about the characters, places and objects in the much-loved stories, which will inform, inspire and entertain readers as they journey through the storylines of the books. Pottermore will later incorporate an online shop where people can purchase exclusively the long-awaited Harry Potter eBooks, in partnership with J.K. Rowling’s publishers worldwide, and is ultimately intended to become an online reading experience, extending the relevance of Harry Potter to new generations of readers, while still appealing to existing fans. As the Pottermore Shop develops, it is intended that it should include further products designed specifically for Harry Potter fans, offering a potential outlet for Sony products and services related to Pottermore. In keeping with Harry Potter’s international appeal, the site will launch in English, French, Italian, German and Spanish, with more languages to follow.

In the new website, the storyline will be brought to life with sumptuous newly-commissioned illustrations and interactive ‘Moments’ through which you can navigate, starting with the first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s (Sorcerer’s) Stone. On entering, you choose a magic username and begin your experience. As you move through the chapters, you can read and share exclusive writing from J.K. Rowling, and, just as Harry joins Hogwarts, so can you. You visit Diagon Alley, get sorted into a house, cast spells and mix potions to help your house compete for the House Cup.

 Fans of the series have been speculating about what Pottermore would be ever since last week’s announcement that Rowling would be working on a new, Potter-related project. Guesses included eBooks, a digital version of the long waited “encyclopedia” that would offer extensive background information in the Harry Potter world and characters, and some sort of RPG (Role-Playing Game). Looks like Pottermore will be a combination of all of that, and more; the press release states that eventually a Pottermore Shop will be available, which will offer products specifically designed for Harry Potter fans.

The full details from the press release can be viewed at this link.