The Series Project: Harry Potter (Part 1)
It is time. Now that the final book has been read, and the final films have been adapted, and fans the world over have finally ceased their frothing, perhaps it's time to devote The Series Project to that little wizard boy that everyone loves so much. Harry Potter seems to be a legitimate cultural phenomenon at this point. Author J.K. Rowling, who wrote the seven original novels, has become a billionaire by not only selling her books, but licensing her characters to toys, a new theme park (opening soon!), food products, and, of course, feature films. It's difficult to think of any other fantasy novel that has garnered this much attention, other than The Lord of the Rings, and maybe The Chronicles of Narnia. Usually something that becomes too popular too quickly often burns out, but Harry Potter managed to hang in there, and stay within the zeitgeist (at least for the time being). The first few feature films were hits, but rather than suffering diminishing returns, the entire series chugged along for eight movies, each one making wads of cash.
I'm not sure if I need to explain the setup to anyone, but the background is this: Harry Potter is a young boy who lives the first 11 years of his life in suburban misery with his horrible aunt and uncle. One day, he receives a letter informing him that he's secretly been a wizard this whole time, and is invited to attend a seven-year boarding school for wizards. Each year he's there, he has magical misadventures, but eventually he learns that the man who murdered his parents wants to kill him too, and also tear down the boarding school. Harry is then enlisted by some faculty members to help murder the bad guy.
The films start out as autonomous units, but quickly turn into a soap opera of epic proportions, connecting perhaps a little too strongly with one another. There comes a point in the series when knowledge of everything that happened in the previous few films is vital to understanding the details of the one you're watching. The series starts strong, but falters by the end. The continuity, however, was strong thanks to the continued participation of the same screenwriter, Steve Kloves, throughout. He wrote all but one of the films. We also had largely the same cast throughout, only allowing for one major change thanks to the death of a notable lead.
Harry's arc is a sad and strange one, and we're going to trek through these eight movies to see how they flow together as a unit. Welcome to the latest installment of The Series Project.
N.B. These reviews are going to be written from my position as a film critic, and not as someone who has read the original novels on which they are based. I have not read the books, and I am not intimately familiar with the complex subplots therein. This is going to be a look at the films alone, and will not seek to comment on how the books differed from them, nor will it seek to look at the Harry Potter phenomenon as a whole. This is a look at the eight Harry Potter films.
HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE (2001)
Directed by: Chris Columbus
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was a November release, and stayed in theaters for months, if I recall. The Harry Potter books were already immensely popular, so speculation about this film was widespread, and scrutiny from fans was to be brutal. Indeed, I heard from certain fans that this film adaptation was perhaps a little too loyal, as it details, in exact order and with the same pace, all the events of the 1997 novel, and leaves little creative wiggle-room. I imagine this exacting approach was employed in order to sate the very people who complained about it. Oh well. The original novel, and the British version of the film, by the way, were both called Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. Alternate versions were released in America. I have yet to hear a good theory as to why this was done. Most seem to agree that Americans were too anti-intellectual to pick up a book with the word “philosopher” on the cover. I guess few know that The Philosopher's Stone is an actual legendary alchemical artifact. Umberto Eco argued that it was an alternate name for The Holy Grail in Foucault's Pendulum. But never mind. Now it's just The Sorcerer's Stone. Less classic that way. I also don't want to lose you with more snotty references to Umberto Eco, so moving on.
The film begins with Harry as a baby, and three mysterious wizards leaving him on a doorstep. They say he'll be famous someday. We flash to the present where Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) is now living with his abusive Aunt and Uncle Dursley (Fiona Shaw and Richard Griffiths) and his fat spoiled brat cousin (Harry Melling). They yell at him constantly, and force him to live in a cupboard under the stairs. What seems like a wretched Dickensian setup on paper is actually kind of palatable thanks to the film's bright tone and Radcliffe's performance; Harry comes across as kind of bored with the situation rather than scared of it. Weird things occasionally happen in his life (he accidentally frees a talking snake from the zoo), but life is pretty dreary otherwise.
An owl, one day, delivers a letter to Harry. Uncle Dursley doesn't want Harry to have the letter, and they go so far as to move to avoid the owl’s efforts, but they eventually are found by a giant hairy man named Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane in close-ups, another giant actor in long shots) who informs Harry that his parents were wizards, and he too is a wizard, and his next seven years of life will be spent in a boarding school named Hogwarts. Harry is pleased to go. Being a wizard, I suppose, is something you're born with. Ordinary people can't learn magic spells. The wizards even have a racist term for them: they call them Muggles. “Muggle,” by the way, was included in a recent edition of the Oxford English Dictionary.
Harry goes school shopping at an 18th century outdoor plaza filled with people and magic items. He learns that his parents left him a trust fund of gold, so his tuition is fully paid for, and he can afford all the books he needs. Sweet. He buys a magic wand, a cauldron, a pet owl, and heads to the train station, where he must take a train that leaves from, as far as I could figure, an alternate dimension (the students must gather by passing through a solid wall, and meeting on platform 9 3/4). The kids all have to wear black cloaks. On the train, Harry meets Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint), the plucky redhead poor kid who will become his best friend over the course of the film. He also meets the bratty know-it-all Hermione (Emma Watson) who becomes friends with the both of them, even though they don't seem to like each other very much. I liked the scenes on the train. There was a very gradual revealing of the world of magic, including bags of magical candies and Harry and Ron share. By the time the new students (called First Years) are approaching Hogwarts by boat, the castle seems grand and mysterious.
Hogwarts itself is a vast edifice of classical stone construction. Columbus used CGI for most of the special effects in this film, but there are still some obvious practical effects in the film. The CGI looks kinda fake, but, in a world where everything is magical and off-kilter, that's just fine. Indeed, it's more appropriate. Were it more real-looking, there would be less awe. Harry is led placed in a “House” in the school: a magical talking hat chooses his wizard fraternity for him, and he will remain in that House for the remainder of his schooltime. He is placed in House Gryffindor. There are three others. How the hat decides is not made clear, and indeed the function of these Houses is never really made clear. Although earning “points” for your house, through excellence and merit, wins you a pennant of some kind at the end of the year. Misbehavior docks you points. The extra features on the DVD explain that the houses are marked by certain character traits, but all that's made explicit in the films themselves is that people in House Slytherin are evil bastards.
It's here that we meet the principal players for the movies. The school headmaster Dumbledore (a very good Richard Harris) is a gentle and wise and benevolent fellow. Prof. McGonagall (Maggie Smith) is stern and strict. Professor Snape (Alan Rickman) is dark and evil. Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton) is Harry's rival. Each of the first few films introduces a new teacher who will only last for one movie, and in this film its Prof. Quirrell (Ian Hart) who teaches Defense Against the Dark Arts. That such a class is needed should, perhaps, be a sign to the kids.
Harry's experiences are wonderful and enchanted. He sleeps in his new warm bed, finally happy and content and giddy to be alive. Radcliffe is not too good an actor yet (he, and the rest of the child cast, all under the age of 13, will improve as the films progress). The film is shot in warm browns and yellows. Every new discovery Harry makes is treated with awe and mystery. I like this film a lot. The movie is kind of episodic (there's a scene where Harry finds a magic mirror that only plays in vaguely with the film's finale), but each event seems to build on the last, and expound on the universe in which our hero lives. The scenes where Harry discovers Quidditch (a kind of broomstick, midair rugby) has little bearing on the plot at large, but, man, it certainly adds to the film.
I have to say, though, his classes seem a mite easy. It's all swishing wands and yanking on roots and mixing potions. Do the kids ever read theory? Do they learn conventional physics if they're able to bend the rules? How about any math? Drama? The arts? Does Nietzsche's theories of The Last Man stand when you're superpowered? Do they read any well-known Muggle authors? How sad if they don't get any Shakespeare.
Our three intrepid youths, however, through things they overhear and clues they manage to see (including a trip to a library under an invisibility cloak), find that there's a secret about something called the Sorcerer's Stone, and how it connects to the evil wizard who killed Harry's parents, a guy named Voldemort, who may still be alive. They eventually must trek through countless inner chambers of Hogwarts (completing tasks along the way) to a secret room where Voldemort (voice of Richard Bremmer) has been hiding. It turns out that Voldemort is dead, but has been living on by drinking unicorn blood (!), and hiding part of his body in the back of Prof. Quirrell's head; there's an eerie scene wherein Quirrel removes his turban, exposing the weird CGI head on the back of his own. Harry manages to get his hands on the Sorcerer's Stone during the showdown, although I'm not exactly sure how. It just sort of appears in his pocket. He then puts his hands right on Voldemort and melts him. It's explained later that Harry's hands have parental love, and Voldemort is made of hate, so he melted on contact.
At the end of the film, Harry moves back to the city, now with new friends and a new life ahead of him. I appreciate the camaraderie of the film, and the warmth Harry feels. The monsters were scary, sure, but Harry was brave. It turns out, though, that this vague sense of childish bravery will be Harry's only real character trait throughout the movies. He's smart and loyal, but Harry rarely emerges as someone other than a little kid with a task to perform. Radcliffe, luckily, will improve, as will Grint and Watson. Watson especially. She actually blows one of her lines in this first film, which made it into the final cut. “I read about it Hogwarts…” She says, then tacks on… “uh, History.” [EDITOR’S NOTE: That’s “Hogwarts: A History,” Witney. Read the books.]
And dig some of these supporting actors: John Cleese, Warwick Davis (in two roles), John Hurt, Julie Walters, Miriam Margolyes. The British actors who appear in these films are ubiquitous and first-rate.
As family adventure films go, this one is plenty good. Of course, since you've seen it already, you know that. You've probably memorized it. I just needed to write about it at length, as it's the setup. Let's move onto the second, and probably best film in the series…
NEXT: Witney actually prefers the Chris Columbus movies to 'Prisoner of Azkaban.' Find out why…
HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS (2002)
Directed by: Chris Columbus
Harry is now ready to start his second year at Hogwarts. This will be the pattern for the rest of the films. We'll miss his entire summer vacation in the Muggle world, and pick up with Harry just as he's going back to school. Harry is back with his horrible aunt and uncle (I suppose he has nowhere else to live), and they still give him grief and treat him like a slave. I don't know why. After the whole killing-the-bad-guy and flying-on-broomsticks stuff, you'd think the cat would be out of the bag. But no. The Dickensian setup must continue. I suppose it's fine. Columbus still directs with enough awe that everything still seems fresh and wonderful. I suppose that John Williams' usual bombastic score also helps a great deal.
Harry is warned at the film's outset by a CGI elf named Dobby (voice of Toby Jones) that Hogwarts is dangerous. Harry returns anyway by fleeing in a flying car with Ron and his brothers. Ron, it turns out, has an enormous (and poor) family who live in a ramshackle tower on the edge of town. Ron's dad works for something called The Ministry of Magic, which is, I'm guessing, a wizard parliament. Ron's dad doesn't know a lot about Muggles and asks Harry early in the film what a rubber duck is. This raises another pertinent question: What is the practical outcome of learning to be a wizard? Are there careers one can have? Is the wizard world so vast that there are equal opportunities for all? Can one get a wizard education, and then not get a job in your chosen major? Like, can you get a minimum wage job in the Muggle world after you've learned how to teleport or turn customers into animals? There seem to be rules in place about practicing magic in public, but why? There's never an explanation given as to why wizards have to stay hidden. Maybe they fear another witch hunt like in Salem.
Harry returns to Hogwarts, and meet his new teacher for the film, Gilderoy Lockhart, played by an especially flouncy Kenneth Branagh, who has replaced Prof. Quirrell. The mystery this time 'round is that people have been turning up paralyzed in the darkened corridors of the school late at night. More than the first film, Chamber of Secrets really lets us know how vast and labyrinthine Hogwarts really is. There is talk of a Chamber of Secrets somewhere in the school, and we do feel that perhaps there may be. It's hard to hide a chamber, right?
Anyway, Hermione, Ron and Harry shape-shift, sneak about, and keenly watch the behavior of spiders to learn about this Chamber. They grill Professor McGonagall at one point, and she reveals a bit about Hogwarts history, and how the four houses are named after the school's four founders. There's also some talk that, since he has a weird kinship with snakes, Harry might just be blood related to Slytherin, and, by extension, Voldemort from the last film. Harry also finds an enchanted journal that answers the questions you write in it. I liked the scene where he wrote in the book. It was eerie. The book belonged to an old student named Tom Marvolo Riddle, whose ghost may be haunting the school. Gilderoy Lockhart minces and brags and very pointedly seems capable of little.
Speaking of haunting, there are ghosts in this world (John Cleese plays a ghost), and one of them, the schoolgirl Moaning Myrtle (Shirley Henderson, who was in her '30s when she made this, casting a fun light on her role from Topsy-Turvy) haunts the girls' bathroom. She also offers up some clues, and will turn up in future films. Indeed, all the characters I've mentioned remain present and visible throughout the series, including some other supporting cast members who only lurk about in the background; I liked that even nerdy supporting characters play into things from time to time. It's like real school. Familiar faces, but not necessarily close friends.
Eventually our lead trio finds their way to the Chamber of Secrets where, get this, a basilisk lives. The basilisk, a giant snake, has been loosed by the ghost of Tom Marvolo Riddle, and has been using its magical gaze to paralyze some people and kill others outright (it killed a cat). Tom Marvolo Riddle has been sort of half-living inside his journal. “Tom Marvolo Riddle,” it turns out, is an anagram for “I am Lord Voldemort.” Oh no! It's the same bad guy!
I remember at the time being disappointed that the bad guy was the same in this second film as it was in the first. I was kind of hoping each film would feature a different threat/monster/bad guy, and the world of Harry Potter would be vast and varied. Starting here, though it will become clear that the series will all be about Voldemort and his personal vendettas. I'll discuss him more in later films when he starts to actually show up in earnest.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is probably the best in the series. It's wonderful, awestruck, fun and fanciful. Columbus may often receive criticism for having little aesthetic thrust, but he was ultimately the one who chose the look of these movies, and they are fully at play in this film. The kids are improving as actors, and their characters are starting to develop some subtlety.
The next film will see a change in directors, a casting change, and a dramatic shift in tone. Let's look at:
HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN (2004)
Directed by: Alfonso Cuarón
Richard Harris, who was so loving and benevolent as Professor Dumbledore in the first two films, sadly, died at the end of 2002, casting some doubt as to whether or not the series could continue. They films so far have been insanely popular, though, so the film was only delayed slightly. I'm not sure why Columbus left, but he was replaced by Cuarón, who previously directed the excellent A Little Princess and the not-so-good Great Expectations. Harris was replaced by Michael Gambon, a perfectly capable actor, although perhaps a bit more stern than Harris.
Cuarón's directorial style is dramatically different from Columbus. Cuarón is a much moodier director, cleaving to soft focus, cobalt blues, and misty landscapes. The warmth of the Harry Potter series begins to drain at this point. Four of the eight films will end up being entirely without warmth or mirth. Popular opinion holds that Prisoner of Azkaban is the best of the film series, as it really exposes the moodiness and darkness of the books. I have to say, though, that as someone who hasn't read the books, I was drawn to the earlier wonderment and mystery and didn't care about Voldemort's vendettas against his old boarding school. This film feels less like an enchanting wonderful adventure, and more like a rote adventure film. Still good looking, but I don't like the bleak and choppy muddiness, or excess of style; there's a scene featuring a mirrored armoire, and the camera, thanks to computer effects, appears to be eternally zooming into the reflection. Not to any magical effect, just to add some flair to the scene. It's distracting.
The new teacher this year is Professor Lupin (David Thewlis), who will, as his name implies, turn out to be a werewolf. We also meet the batty Professor Trelawny (Emma Thompson), who is an expert is tasseography, a dubious science, even in the wizard world.
The titular prisoner is Sirius Black (Gary Oldman), who has escaped from Azkaban prison in order to, presumably, kill Harry Potter. Black, it is rumored, was once a disciple of Voldemort, and is seeking revenge. To protect the school, the faculty has hired a team of mysterious mute wraiths called dementors to protect the school. The dementors are not very discerning guards, as they seem to attack anyone who gets in their path; early in the film, they attack Harry and do something that sucks out his life energy. They essentially make you feel intense fear to the point where you're in a coma. That's pretty neat.
The film opens with Harry actually running away from his horrible aunt and uncle, and ending up in a hidden flophouse for runaway wizards. The frenetic scenes leading up to this (including a shape-shifting bus) seem rushed and compulsory. When Harry gets on the Hogwarts train, the kids are all in regular street clothes, and they chat casually. There's no excitement about going back to school anymore. The train ride is like a subway at this point. And now everyone is bored and muddy.
Oh the mud. This is the muddiest film I have ever seen. Even the indoor scenes seem caked in mud.
Ron and Hermione begin to have romantic stirrings for one another in this film. We'll see more of that in the films to come. As it stands, they occasionally hold hands, and say things that sound romantic at first, but aren't necessarily. Hagrid teaches a class for the first time, which is centered on dangerous fantasy creatures, and Harry takes a ride on the back of a hippogriff (sort of a horse/eagle), which is exhilarating. One would think that if you can ride on a flying broomstick that a flight on the back of a creature wouldn't be as much fun, but the scenes are still pretty neat. Draco Malfoy, being the complete d*ckhead that he is, teases the hippogriff until it injures him, causing his rich father Lucius (Jason Isaacs) to petition for its death. This makes Hagrid very sad.
Harry, meanwhile, learns some important spells on how to defuse scary monsters that are weakened by laughter. Lupin, being a kindly benevolent type, also teaches him a special light spell that can scare off dementors. The dementors must be pretty weak if schoolchildren can scare them off. But I suppose Harry is particularly talented. Harry is also approached by Ron's older brothers (James and Oliver Phelps) who give him a parchment called The Marauder's Map, designed for troublemakers and ruffians. It shows all the elaborate nooks and crannies of castle Hogwarts, and also shows the locations of everyone in the castle. The map folds out into strange areas, giving one the impression that Hogwarts perhaps exists in several dimensions at once, and may be bigger on the inside like that house in House of Leaves. Harry uses the map to sneak out of bed at night and find someone named Peter Pettigrew, whom he has heard was associated with Sirius Black.
Eventually Black makes it to the castle, and tries to find Harry. Lupin, however, turns into a wolf (See? I told ya!) and fights him off. Sirius Black, however, is also a wolf, so there's a wolf battle royale. Lupin is injured, and Harry uses his light spell to scare off the dementors who would kill him. However, just as it looks like his light spell will wear off, a magical glowing elk appears across a pond. When he drags Lupin to safety, he exclaims that the elk was his dead father.
Wait, what? The elk was his father? What does that mean? It's a detail that's not going to be explained for two more movies, and even then, not so well. Perhaps it's elucidated more fully in the books. Sirius Black reveals that he's actually been trying to help Harry this whole time. They also finally reveal the true identity of the mysterious Peter Pettigrew (Timothy Spall), who was a disciple of Voldemort, and who was disguised for years as, get this, Ron's pet rat. Black is a good guy now, and was trying to kill Voldemort (who I guess still lives), but was taken back to prison at the last minute. Poop.
Am I getting the details right? I'm probably missing a few bits. It was around here in the series that details began to fly so furiously that I stopped absorbing a lot of them.
Oh yes, and there was a time-travel conceit in the film as well. When you think the story was at an end, Hermione used a time travel trinket (given to her by Dumbledore so she could make her classes on time, which seems irresponsible to me), and the two of them go back in time, save the hippogriff from being executed, and help their past selves fight the dementors. The elk was actually Harry also casting a light spell. Now I'm really confused. And why does Hermione have the time-travel spell? Well, it turns out, she's a much better wizard than her peers; indeed, when they're in a pinch, it’s her spells that get them out. Harry will bravely charge into danger, but Hermione will be the one to get him out.
The film ends with Harry going to live in hiding with the escaped Sirius Black for the summer. [EDITOR’S NOTE: No, it doesn’t, Witney. Read the books.]
This film is muddy, dank, way too stylized and rather confusing. According to those in the know, though, its tone is similar to that of the book. If the book is this dank and dreary, though, it seems like it would be a hard read. [EDITOR’S NOTE: No it’s not. Read the books.]
For the next film, we'll switch directors again, the story will be a bit more straightforward, and it will be brighter. It will also be the last film that can stand on its own, and films five through eight all seem to interconnect to a powerful degree. Onto…
HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE (2005)
Directed by: Mike Newell
Mike Newell directed some rather notable and high profile films including Donnie Brasco, Pushing Tin, and the Oscar-nominated Four Weddings and a Funeral. He would go on to make the Prince of Persia feature film. This was his first outright special effects film, and he seems to handle himself well.
This film is, mercifully, more about Harry's actual schoolgoing experiences than the central machinations of Voldemort and his disciples. That means the kids are all back in uniform, the sun shines more, and the central plot involves interesting school exchange programs. This film, like the first two, is replete with warm browns and bright yellows again. I like this one.
The new Dark Arts professor in this film is Alastor “Mad Eye” Moody (Brendan Gleeson), who is a cruel taskmaster, and is exactly the kind of teacher you hope you don't get. He throws books a lot, and badmouths students.
The film opens with Harry going to a quidditch Superbowl event, featuring a teenage athlete everyone loves named Viktor Krum (Stanislav Ianevski). The event is interrupted by someone called a Death Eater, a name given to Voldemort's secret disciples. It's never really explained how Voldemort gained disciples, or why they're willing to do his bidding even though he seems in a nebulous state of life. Something about using your magic to take over the world. He'd rather be superior to the other wizards and rule the inferior human race. I guess that makes him the Magneto of the Harry Potter universe. Once Harry and Ron flee, it's back to school as usual.
The film focuses on two main events. One is the Tri-Wizard Tournament, a kind of multi-school sporting event wherein students compete in obtuse magical challenges for the honor of a trophy, the titular Goblet of Fire. We now learn that there are other boarding schools like Hogwarts all throughout Europe. There's an all girls' French academy (represented by Clémence Poésy), and an all-boys German academy (with that Krum fellow). Both schools seem like ripe teenage boy sex fantasies to me. Harry, in this film now 14 years old, begins scoping out girls in earnest.
The other story is an all-school dance, and a lot of the film's drama centers around whom the boys will ask to it. Hermione seems upset that Ron won't ask her, and Ron is largely clueless. Harry wants to ask a hot French gal and a hot Asian gal, but chickens out on both fronts. The dance subplot is charming, and lets us know that these kids are real people. We also see them dress in fancy gowns, officially cementing the sexual fetishes of all Harry Potter fans. Emma Watson, although still not a great actress (she screams a lot in this one) does look nice in a gown, and does give really good moon-eyes at her date. There's also the overtly sexual presence of a bloke named Cedric Diggory, who is played by future vampire heartthrob Robert Pattinson.
Harry, even though he's officially too young, is mysteriously entered into the school tournament, and the mystery is on. One event involves battling a dragon, another involves swimming in a swamp to rescue friends from monster mermaids. Professor Moody secretly helps Harry along the way. Eventually, Harry makes it to the end, tying with the Diggory bloke. It turns out, though, that the Goblet of Fire was a teleporting machine which transported Harry and Cedric when they touched it near the film's end. It here that Peter Pettigrew, now called “Wormtail” for some reason, uses a spell, his own right hand, and Harry’s blood (!) to resurrect Voldemort's corpse-like body. Well, maybe he's not fully resurrected, when we see him (now played by Ralph Fiennes), he's missing his nose, his skin is milk-white, and he seems to be part snake. He swears to kill Harry, but kills Diggory instead by mistake. I've heard some fans say that it was Diggory's death that marked the end of innocence for the Harry Potter series. It does seem pretty serious and sad, but surely in a universe where people can't really die, and fear monsters can attack you on a whim, Harry would have realized that not going back to school wasn't a good idea.
That's an odd thing: Harry never thinks to stop going to Hogwarts. He could easily drop out with his fortune in gold, rent an apartment, and use what little magic knowledge he has to live comfortably. I guess this snake-like supernatural assassin won't stop until he's dead. I wish I knew more about Voldemort. Over all eight films, his motives are never made clear. [EDITOR'S NOTE: Oh, just read the damned books already!]
We learn over the course of the film that Voldemort has disciples everywhere, including inside the Ministry of Magic, and there's a cameo by then-future Doctor Who David Tennant.
The film, however, ends on a light note, showing students celebrating their school year together, giving hugs and taking pictures. Despite claims that this is where it all started to go bad, this film is actually one of the sweeter of them. Newell must have gone to a British boarding school, as he seems to know the ins and outs. I guess that's fitting for the first British director in the series.
But hang on tight, because the next four films will be a whirlwind of confusing action. We'll lose the screenwriter for one episode, and the series entire will dip into a miasma of interconnected soap opera hoo-hah that speeds by way too quickly. We'll also get the only legitimately bad film in the series. Be sure to tune in next week for Harry Potter parts five through eight.