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Harry Potter and the End of the Series

July 15, 2011

Harry Potter characters - illustration

The end had already come with the books, but now with the movies: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. Of course, readers have known what happened at the end of the series when the seventh–and final–book was released back in 2007. But now those of us who haven’t read the books can find out what happens to The Boy Who Lived.

This past year, my wife and two daughters blazed through the seven books in the Harry Potter series. I’m a much slower reader, and I stuck with much slimmer books such as Dandelion Wine (by Ray Bradbury and is a fantastic read). I enjoyed their excitement over the series, and I joined them in watching the movies on DVD.

Through the Potter movies, I became very impressed by J.K. Rowling’s creativity. The story at first seems simple enough: a boy discovers he is a wizard, then goes to school to learn magic, then must defend himself against attacks from Voldemort and other evil forces. But there are more complexities beyond that: of the strength of family and friends, family lineage, growing up and accepting responsibility, and persevering through difficulties. I’m sure there are many others–especially since I’ve only seen the movies, which have left out many portions of the books.

Beyond all those weighty themes, there’s much fun to be had in the details. There’s the large cast of characters, many memorable in their personalities (Hagrid, Gilderoy Lockhart, Dolores Umbridge, the Dursleys, just to name a few). There are the places: Hogwarts school with its history and ghosts and moving staircases and paintings that talk to you–then Daigon Alley with its stores and tavern. There’s the fast-paced, flying broomstick game of Quidditch. There are the various types of candy enjoyed by the students.

But these are just a few. I’m sure there are tons more in the books. With the movies, I was impressed again and again by Rowling’s imagination. She thought up this complex wizard’s world that exists without us Muggles knowing about it. And she thought up all those characters, places, and details that populate that world.

Many fans were spellbound by that world and the story of how Harry Potter navigated his way through it. To watch my two daughters become spellbound by the books and movies, I was thankful to Rowling for creating this amazing world. My family has had many conversations about this series, and I’m sure we’ll have many more.

Above is a sketch I did of some characters in the series: Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, Albus Dumbledore, Professor McGonagall, Professor Severus Snape, and Lord Voldemort.

I was inspired by the style of Alexander Calder’s portraits done in wire at the National Portrait Gallery’s exhibit Calder’s Portraits: A New Language. Calder is another wonderfully creative spirit: inventing mobiles, forming lively stabiles, and painting bright, colorful works. He also created portraits with wire that loops and twists to form features of his friends and celebrities–a diverse range from Babe Ruth to Jean-Paul Sartre to Jimmy Durante.

My portraits above weren’t done in wire, instead sketched with a Wacom tablet. I tried to use a style similar to that of Calder’s portraits, by expressing a character’s face with basic lines, and having those lines connect.

These characters–with much more detail to them–will fill movie screens with today’s Harry Potter movie. And they will live on in Rowling’s latest creation: Pottermore. Opening in October, this website will continue the magic of the characters and world.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Sue permalink
    July 15, 2011 8:48 am

    Very impressive, Dave! I could identify each character immediately. Calder would be pleased and impressed at your creativity. Keep up the good work!

  2. July 23, 2011 5:19 am

    LOVE this!

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