When I finished reading the last book, the goodbye wasn't final as one still hadn't said farewell to Harry on screen.
But that moment finally arrives when you bid adieu to an old friend who will never be seen again.
The final cinematic chapter in Deathly Hallows -2 is a race against time to find the remaining horcruxes which have a piece of Voldemort's soul, and the final battle at Hogwarts, and the much awaited 19 years later moment at the end of the film.
Director David Yates set up the finale perfectly in the first part, which ended with Bellatrix torturing Hermione before the flight from the house of Malfoys and the death of Dobby, the house elf freed by Potter. Part 2 takes the emotions and the action to a scale that we dreamt of while reading. If not anything else, make sure you watch Half Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows Part 1 again before you go to watch the finale; it will ensure you don't miss out on the nuanced plot details and the emotions.
But before I continue, it must be said that this is one film that calls for a director's cut on DVD because there is so much more that needed time, especially in the epic battle, Hagrid being held captive, the death of the Weasley twin, Remus Lupin and Nymphadora Tonks. I won't even say spoiler alert because every Potter fan would have read the books at least once!
Matthew Lewis as Neville Longbottom finally has his moment in the sun and he does it with absolute sincerity, while Maggie Smith as Professor McGonagall kicks ass as she takes charge of Hogwarts.
Over the years, one man has truly made a character memorable and that is Alan Rickman who plays Professor Severus Snape. The flashback that reveals his love for Harry's mother Lily is absolutely heart rending, and as he looks into Harry's eyes, he sees his mother's eyes. The 10 years he spent playing this character, basing it on love, has resulted in one of the best histrionic paybacks.
Ralph Fiennes, who had a brief appearance in the first film, was only fully seen in Goblet of Fire, but in Deathly Hallows he is at his theatrical best, angry, scary and vulnerable. Helena Bonham Carter revels in her mad cat Bellatrix act but, again, the movie deviates from the book when it comes to Molly Weasley killing her.
It is hard to refer to Harry, Hermione and Ron as Daniel, Emma and Rupert, or even to look on them as anything but the titular characters they played for a decade. Those three embody the soul of the characters and have carried them with such dignity over the years that when Hermione and Ron finally kiss, it's more funny-cute than romance.
The much awaited last scene was debated by readers and will be debated by moviegoers, but without it there would be no closure.
In the end, it is fair to say that with this ends an era of magic, Hogwarts, Diagon Alley, Leaky Cauldron, Platform 9 -- all the wonderful places and people.
Thanks to the power of its creator, Harry Potter shall live on in the cumulative imagination of generations, forever.