"...All Good Things" An End For Harry Potter And Hogwarts

Source: Warner Bros

The long-awaited showdown between Harry and Voldemort "brings them back to the place where they each became who they were," author J.K. Rowling states. "It had to end at Hogwarts."

Their battle plays out through the school's once-hallowed halls. Director David Yates staged the sequence so it was not just two wizards in a wand duel, but two sworn enemies locked in mortal combat that can only end when one...or both...are dead.

The director elaborates, "We have them racing through the halls hurling spells at each other, but it also gets very physical. There's a point where they have each other by the throat and fall off a high balustrade, and they're twisting and turning, until you're not sure where one ends and the other begins. I was very keen to explore that because, thematically, that connection is what we'd been developing throughout the films."

Production Designer Stuart Craig and his team crafted the set to provide a multi-leveled arena. The production designer says, "Our principal objective was to introduce another element to the battlefield that would provide for more interesting blocking, so David (Yates) was involved in the design plan from the start. We created a series of staircases so that either Harry or Voldemort could be in the ascendancy and the other below, but it could switch very easily."

"I must have climbed more stairs for that scene than I have in my entire life," Radcliffe laughs. "But it was incredible."

Merging practical design and virtual design has always been integral to establishing the worlds of the Harry Potter movies, but that amalgamation was particularly vital in staging the battle at Hogwarts in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2." For the first time, the wide exterior shots of Hogwarts Castle were not captured with practical models, but were instead rendered though the use of CGI.

Yates says, "We constructed a good part of it, as always, but we also built a digital Hogwarts, which gave us the freedom to take the action in and around the school, anywhere we wanted."

But Harry and Voldemort are not the only ones fighting to the death. All around them the good and evil forces of the wizarding world—including creatures great and small—are engaged in a climactic all-out war, which bring brings back many familiar faces on both sides.

David Barron states, "We were fantastically lucky because virtually the entire cast wanted to be part of the finale. Some of them are only briefly seen, but it was important to them, and to us, that they be there. There are even a few characters who came to an untimely end in the previous films who make their presence felt in surprising ways, like Gary Oldman as Sirius Black and Michael Gambon as Dumbledore."

The returning cast also included Robbie Coltrane as Rubeus Hagrid, Emma Thompson as Professor Sybil Trelawney, Jim Broadbent as Professor Horace Slughorn, Miriam Margolyes as Professor Pomona Sprout, Gemma Jones as Madam Pomfrey, David Bradley as Argus Filch, Jason Isaacs and Helen McCrory as Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy, Natalia Tena as Nymphadora Tonks, and Dave Legeno as Fenrir Greyback.

The war against the Death Eaters takes a terrible toll on a number of favorite characters. Beloved wizards have fallen and Bellatrix Lestrange is poised to kill another—Ginny Weasley—when Molly Weasley steps into the fray.

Playing the Weasley family matriarch, Julie Walters offers, "Of course, Bellatrix is thinking, 'Come on, Granny,' but she has no idea what she's up against when she takes on the fierce, protective love of a mother."

The power of a mother's love has been an inherent theme throughout the Harry Potter stories, beginning with Lily Potter, whose supreme sacrifice for her son allowed him to be "the boy who lived." Rowling relates, "I lost my own mother six months into writing Harry Potter and then I became a mother shortly after. Motherhood, in every way, had a huge influence on my own life as I was writing the series, so it naturally seeped into the story in a relevant way."

Faced with a decision that could spell life or death for Harry, Narcissa Malfoy proves that the strength of a mother's love is not confined to any one side. "Narcissa may be a Lestrange by birth and a Malfoy by marriage, but it is the passionate loyalty to her son that defines her. Risking her own life, she protects Draco—first and foremost, she is a mother."

On the other hand, "Voldemort sees no necessity for love or friendship or compassion," Radcliffe observes. "He thinks of them as quite contemptible, a weakness, but that is his own weakness."

The casualties of the war extend beyond people to the stately Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, which is left in utter ruin. Though the resulting devastation appears to be haphazard, Craig counters that it was all by design. "It wasn't just a question of knocking some walls down; the silhouette was as significant as a piece of sculpture. The Great Hall, for example, was the spine of Hogwarts, so in demolishing that, we knew it had to be an image that would leave a lasting impression."

"There is the sense that this is what war does; it decimates your places of safety and security," Rowling says. "Yes, they may only be physical places. But when it's home, that's everything."

The Great Hall had been one of the earliest and largest sets ever erected and it was a constant at Leavesden throughout the entire series. The sight of the production's longest-standing set reduced to rubble had a tremendous impact on the filmmakers, cast and crew.

Radcliffe recalls, "It was hard to watch something that had always been so vast and so solid suddenly be knocked down."

"It was quite shocking," Grint nods. "We grew up on those sets, so it was difficult for all of us to see."

"The idea of everything being taken down permanently felt a bit tragic," Watson says. "I guess I imagined they would always be there," she smiles.

Heyman, who had, years ago, witnessed the Hogwarts sets being built, offers, "To see the grandeur of Hogwarts destroyed was very emotional. In a very graphic way, it really brought home the fact that we were rapidly moving toward the end of the journey."

Emotions were high for eveone involved in the production as each day marked the "last time" for some aspect of filming until it was, in fact, a wrap.

At the end of their decade-long journey, the cast and filmmakers all share a sense of gratitude and pride as they bring the historic film series to a close.

David Barron recalls, "I thought I was prepared because we knew the day was coming for so long, but it was surprisingly moving for all of us. Everybody put so much of themselves into these movies, and on this one we all shared the added goal of making it a fitting finale to the series."

"Part of one's job is to say goodbye," Alan Rickman says. "There comes that time when it is right and proper to let it go; otherwise you can't move on. And so the best thing one can say is that it all ended the right way."

Rupert Grint offers, "The Harry Potter experience was an amazing time of my life, and something I'll never forget. I'm so proud to have been a part of it."

"How do I put into words what all of this has meant to me?" Emma Watson muses. "I don't consider it over because it will always be a part of who I am, and I feel so blessed to have shared in it."

Daniel Radcliffe reflects, "I know I'll never see a frame of these films that I don't connect immediately to a memory of a place or a time or a person. Even now I can't fully express how important it's been to me, but I can say it was a great time and it's something I will never be able to recreate."

David Yates agrees. "It's really hard to contextualize it, except to say it's been enormous fun—intense and very challenging at times, but never not fun. I wouldn't have missed it for the world and I'm proud and happy to have seen it through to the end."

"This was a wonderful collaboration," J.K. Rowling shares. "I was proud to work and form lasting friendships with some immensely talented people. So the overall experience of the films for me has been truly outstanding."

"I count myself extremely fortunate to have been part of Harry Potter, but none of us would have had this opportunity were it not for Jo Rowling and the world she so brilliantly created," David Heyman concludes. "One of the things I love about the books is that the stories are timeless...and hopefully we've achieved that with the movies."

See Also: New Photos For GREEN LANTERN And HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS - PART 2 / The Deathly Hallows of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1" / Sneak Previews For Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows - Part 1, Jonah Hex, A Nightmare On Elm Street, The Losers & The Book Of Eli - Release Dates! / Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince (2009)(Warner Bros) / Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix (2007)(Warner Bros)/ Hogwarts Yearbook - Actor Profile - Daniel Radcliffe / Hogwarts Yearbook - Actress Profile - Emma Watson / Hogwarts Yearbook - Actor Profile - Rupert Grint / Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince - Young Love Spawning New Problems At Hogwarts / Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince - Quidditch As You Have Never Seen It Before / Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince - Lord Voldemort's Chosen One / Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince - Looking Backward To Move Forward / The New Harry Potter Makes Its North American Premiere July 9th / The Night Harry Potter Made London Stand Still / Potter Star Radcliffe Shows A Different Side In Details Magazine Interview / Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Release Pushed Back Until The Summer Of 2009 /Sex And Drugs In The New Harry Potter Movie!?

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