McGinnis: Memorable Harry Potter momentsWritten by Jeff McGinnis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
By the time “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” was released in 2001, the universe created by J.K. Rowling had already become a phenomenon. The pressure was on for the makers of the “Potter” film series. They weren’t just adapting a popular book for the big screen. They were the custodians of a universe and characters that were beloved by rabid fans of all ages. If they didn’t succeed, they would be the victims of a fury that even Lord Voldemort could not rival.
Fortunately, the films have been widely praised by critics and fans alike. Here are moments most will never forget.
1. “Sorcerer’s Stone” — Harry plays his first game of Quidditch. One of Rowling’s most arresting creations is this sport of wizards, played on broomsticks flying high above the ground. In print, the game inspired imaginations with what the sight might be like. These visions were made magnificent reality by director Chris Columbus in the first film, which brought Quidditch to life in an exciting and visually arresting sequence.
2. “Chamber of Secrets” — Kenneth Branagh as Gilderoy Lockhart. Each Potter film is a first-rate production, and each has cast first-rate actors. Such is the case of egomaniacal braggart Gilderoy Lockhart, a memorably funny character who might have been ludicrous on film — if an actor as good as Branagh had not been playing him.
3. “Prisoner of Azkaban” — A Moonlit Transformation. David Thewlis had made Professor Lupin a memorable character in the minds of “Potter” fans with his performance by the time it was revealed he was a werewolf. Then he stood by the light of the full moon. His morphing from man to beast is a special-effects creation of the highest order.
4. “Goblet of Fire” — The Return of Voldemort. The fourth film — and the entire series — builds to a head with the resurrection of Harry’s greatest villain. Lord Voldemort had existed as a character mainly by word-of-mouth for three films before he arrived, so when he finally appeared, he had a lot to live up to. But when Harry’s friend Cedric (played by future vampire Robert Pattinson) is killed without thought and the villain is revealed with a terrifying performance by Ralph Fiennes, fans knew Hermione’s closing line was very, very true: “Everything is going to change now, isn’t it?”
5. “Order of the Phoenix” — The Death of Sirius Black. “Phoenix” saw Harry’s beloved godfather — the closest thing to a parent he had ever known — killed by the villainous Bellatrix Lestrange in the film’s shattering finale.
As wonderfully played by Gary Oldman, Sirius had been Harry’s most loyal supporter for the previous two films, and his death was a symbol of Harry becoming more alone in a more terrifying world.
6. “Half-Blood Prince” — I’m the Half Blood Prince. Severus Snape, played by Alan Rickman, had always been one of the most intriguing characters of the “Potter” franchise. Neither hero nor villain, the former servant of Voldemort never made it clear where his loyalties lied. It all seemed to climax in the sixth film, as after killing Harry’s beloved headmaster Dumbledore, Snape casually deflects all Harry’s attempts at reprisal with seemingly no effort. And Snape’s revelation that he was the titular “Prince,” whose notes Harry had learned so much from over the year, is yet another rug pulled out from underneath the hero.