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Growing up: My favorite scenes from the third and fourth Harry Potter films

Continuing from my previous post, here are my favorite scenes from the third and fourth Harry Potter films:

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

This is one of my favorite films (and books) in the whole series. Harry and the audience learn so much about his father as well as his abilities as a wizard during his third year, but it doesn’t feel like a big information dump. J.K. Rowling just weaves everything so brilliantly into the plot that before you know it, the story is three-quarters of the way done and you don’t know where you acquired all this information.

Realizing his past self saw himself, not his father, Harry is able to conjure up a patronus with no problems. Courtesy photo.

My favorite scene in this film is when Harry conjures up a patronus to save his past self and Sirius Black, the godfather he never knew he had.

Aside from the dramatics of the scene, with the musical build up and the visual effects, I love what this scene means for Harry, not just as part of this film’s story line, but for the series as a whole.

Since the beginning of the year, Harry has been battling dementors: On the Hogwarts Express, on the Quidditch pitch and during his lessons. These creatures feed on happiness — sucking all that is good and cheerful inside of you until you’re left with nothing but your worst memories. Because of Harry’s past, the dementors affect him more. He feels this makes him weak and asks Remus Lupin to teach him how to fight them. Harry struggles during these lessons, only able to produce a weak patronus.

When the time arises and his and Sirius’ lives are at stake, Harry is unable to produce a strong enough patronus to protect them. Before he passes out, he thinks he sees his father (whom he is the spitting image of…aside from his eyes) conjure up one. But thanks to a bit of time travel, Harry realizes he’s the one who conjures it up and he’s able to produce the stag with no problem.

To me, this just represents how Harry was able to face the fears he has dealt with all year as his boggart — a creature that shape shifts into a person’s greatest fear — becomes a dementor. This is such an accomplishment for him and boosts his confidence in his skills as he sees his achievements and victories are not always due to just luck (though that does play some part in it).

This moment also ties Harry closer to his late father. Having never known James or his mother Lily, Harry grasps onto anything and everything he can learn about them. The fact that his patronus takes the form of James’ as well as his father’s Animagus form just goes to show that the ones we love never really leave us.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

In this chapter in the series, Lord Voldemort returns. And just to show how evil he is, one of the first things he does with his return to power is to have Cedric Diggory killed. There was no point to this murder other than Cedric being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

After facing Lord Voldemort in the flesh for the first time, Harry returns to Hogwarts with Cedric's body. Courtesy photo.

Because of this meaningless death, I think one of the most significant scenes in this film is when Harry returns from the graveyard to Hogwarts with Cedric’s body. I wouldn’t call it my favorite as it’s really depressing, but it’s pivotal.

As depressing as this scene may be, the juxtaposition of celebration and death are important to show audiences how things are going to change now that Voldemort is back. Life in the wizarding world has become much more dangerous and Cedric’s death is just the first of many to come.

What I like about this scene is the fact that Harry has just survived the most physically, mentally and emotionally grueling battle of his life so far, but he is still able to push through the pain and grant Cedric his final request by bringing his body back to Hogwarts. It just shows Harry’s strength of character that he not only remembers but risks his life to do this. How many 14-year-olds can you say would do that?

I’m not going to lie. I cry almost every time I watch this part of the film. The moment Amos Diggory realizes what has happened to his son is heart wrenching. Your own heart just wrenches for him.

Cedric’s death shows audiences that the series is more than just a children’s fantasy adventure story: Friends become enemies, people die and families are torn apart. This doesn’t often happen in kids’ movies. The audience doesn’t stay the same age and the films reflect that as this scene also marks the point where the characters really begin to grow up and become adults along with us.


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