- While the “Harry Potter” films ended in spectacular and action-packed fashion, the final battle between Harry and Voldemort was much more sedate in the books.
- The main difference is that in the books Voldemort could have saved himself – and Harry would have helped him.
The Harry Potter film series ended with an epic final battle between protagonist Harry Potter and antagonist Voldemort. The two threw themselves off rooftops, flew through the air, and fought each other with sparking wands. It culminated in Voldemort disintegrating and being carried away in his pieces as ash on the wind.
In the book “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” this final battle was much less spectacular. Harry and Voldemort talked a lot, “The Boy Who Lived” even offered his nemesis a way out of his misery.
Voldemort continued to believe that his Horcruxes made him immortal. But Harry warned him. The Elder Wand no longer obeyed Voldemort, Dumbledore had planned Voldemort’s end for years and the Horcruxes were destroyed. So Harry offered him one last resort: remorse.
Only genuine remorse could have healed Voldemort’s dismembered soul from the creation of the Horcruxes. We know this from Hermione’s research before Harry, she and Ron set out to find the Horcruxes. She found that a wizard’s soul can only be healed when he truly feels what a horrible act he has committed in creating the Horcrux. It takes murder to do that.
This is also hinted at by the at first baffling scene with Albus Dumbledore and Harry at the ghostly King’s Cross station. Harry and Dumbledore are both effectively dead, a train arrives and both have the choice of boarding the train and traveling to their next destination – the afterlife.
But they are not alone at the station. Under a bench lies a stunted, bloodied version of Voldemort. Dumbledore explains to Harry that they cannot help him. He can’t get on the train by himself, the piece of Voldemort’s soul that this being represents is neither survivable nor dying.
Harry’s and Dumbledore’s souls are whole, despite Dumbledore’s evil deeds, because, unlike Voldemort, they have felt sincere remorse. But the concept of remorse is so alien to Voldemort that he accepts his death. He eventually collapses in the final battle with Harry and dies.
All of this was too voluminous to fit into a tightly timed film. But HBO’s announced Harry Potter series may be taking the time to stress a key lesson in the Harry Potter books: everyone has a chance at redemption.
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