Wednesday 27 July 2011

"Gryffindor House. Where dwell the brave at heart" ~ FAVOURITE HP CHARACTERS, PART 1

           One of the most unique and loved things about the Harry Potter films was its vast cast. Almost everyone in the British theatre/film scene was there in the films. I just love finding connections in other films with respect to Harry Potter. Like if Rufus Scrimgeour and Xenophilius Lovegood were pirate radio jockeys in the 60s, they would have been groovy awesome, and if Professor Slughorn and Madam Pomfrey got married, their daughter would be Bridget Jones (ie. my 30-something cinematic counterpart).

          There are just so many brilliant characters in the films and such fantastic actors playing them, young or old. In order for me to make a favourite characters list, I have to do it in a sort of tier-y way. This is because the depth with which certain characters have been explored in the films. Some major characters have very less said about them, and just movie-wise, they do not hold the same ground, for me, as the other ones who I can basically write theses on (whether I actually do, is a whole another thing).

       So this list today is of the characters that unfortunately got too little screentime, but were excellent nonetheless.

1) Professor Minerva McGonagall, played by Dame Maggie Smith- I would imagine RESPECT playing in the background for her, but I don't think she would have approved of least not in public. McGonagall ended up being one of the sassiest, strongest and most exceptional characters in the films. And who could have played her but Maggie Smith? From the books, we always knew her "stern" face, but the silent humour in her orders, and the little smiles that she gave when required made her so much more. A friend of Dumbledore since the beginning, and a pillar of Hogwarts, and obviously- one helluva House-mistress, McGonagall's very just rod of discipline spared no one. Having two teachers for parents, and growing up with teachers always around, McGonagall would have been a dream professor for me. The stern-ness is only the outer layer for all the strength within, and a fierce loyalty. The crowning moment for her was in Deathly Hallows, part 2 ofcourse- from fighting off Snape to spectacularly to bringing to life the statues of Hogwarts, like she always wanted to! Also "Babbling bumbling band of baboons" - I honestly think that that was improv.

2) Sirius Black, played by Gary Oldman- People often name Prisoner of Azkaban as their favourite HP film. I too think it is one of the best, and possibly the biggest reason why is the mind-blastingly genius idea of casting Gary Oldman as the mysterious and allegedly mental Sirius Black. He's perfect! Firstly there's the madness- who can forget that um..mugshot of the raving lunatic screaming the most horrifying scream, even if we don't hear it. Then there is the compassionate and brave Sirius, who can punch and win from any Malfoy any day. Most importantly, there was the relationship between him and Harry, that save that with Hermione, and maybe Ron, was the most genuine one in the films. The relationship was the direct outcome of the chemistry between Oldman and Daniel Radcliffe, the latter being an ardent admirer of former's work, and the former then inadvertently becoming the coolest possible mentor to the latter. I love every frame of theirs together. Sirius, like McGonagall was never explored in the books. He certainly rates high in my curiosity department because I cannot, for the life of me, understand why he had no romantic history that was even hinted at. Sirius was said to be one of the best looking characters ever, and Oldman with his Vicious-y past and Russian prisoner tattoos could have really really exploited that, but nothing. Still, it was a joy to see him. His death was very sad, but the expression on his face was more sorrowful than anything else...a smile to show that he had gone back to his friends.

3) Headmaster Professor Albus Dumbledore, played by the late Richard Harris and Michael Gambon- What? Did I just? Did I just dare to put down the greatest sorcerer in all of the world as someone I didn't know enough? Yes I did. Now if I had been talking about the books, Dumbledore would have been in my top three. However the films did not do justice to his character. We didn't find out his back story, and the only time he seemed gay was with his knitting patterns-magazine. I personally liked Richard Harris as Dumbledore better. He was wiser, calmer, subtler...Dumbledorier. Gambon was more eccentric and, well, excited. I mean in Goblet of Fire, he practically strangled poor Harry after his name had come out from the Goblet...Dumbledore would never! In the Half-Blood Prince, we do see Dumbledore as his wise old self again...but a little too late. I just wish Sir Ian McKellen would have said yes! Then LOTR and HP could have been like really super rich and Oscar-amassing brothers. However, as Harris as Dumbledore said originally, "It does not do to dwell upon dreams," Dumbledore, even without his backstory and a more rightful portrayal, ended up being iconic and funny and reassuring. He will always be one of the things I will think about when I think of the word home- safe, crazy, warm and always there. His relationship with Harry is better in the books, but still, it is evident that he really loved Harry as a son and a friend throughout.

4) Professor Remus Lupin, played by David Thewlis- Being an eternal Ewan McGregor fan, I cannot help but keep wishing that he would have taken this role. Still, Thewlis was very very good. He possibly gave one of the most understated performances in the films. Since I saw all the films before watching the last one, I took a lot of notes about various things. One of the things I noticed was that in the latter films, whenever there was Lupin there, and he said like one or two lines, I instantly believed them because they were said by him. He was a really good man. I mean there were a lot of good men in the HP series, but they each had something else going for them- Harry had his history, Dumbledore had his genius, Snape had his love; but Lupin was just a very good person, and that's fine. True Lupin was a werewolf and fought that all his life, but for me atleast, that never came into the equation. He was a great professor, a loyal friend, a brave soldier, and it was these simple things that made him so fantastic. His whole tryst with Tonks was not really talked about in the films and they didn't even really mention his son Teddy, and his apprehensions regarding that. In the third film, he is a real mentor to Harry, and the time when there is him and Oldman and Alan Rickman in one frame *sigh*. Many people had felt really terrible when he died, but I think it was one of the most justified deaths because he was so lonely without his friends. The film didn't really show that either, but still Thewlis was an impressive Lupin throughout.

           I loved a great many other characters too, in particular Fred and George, played by Oliver and James Phelps, who were just robbed of their roles in the last film! I already spoke of Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes and Imelda Staunton in my Favourite HP Villains post, and they too were great roles. There are seven more characters to come after this, so stay tuned I guess.


  1. The two complaints I have about the film were Dumbledore's backstory wasn't explained properly, and I don't really remember the whole 'Remus and Tonks are pregnant' thing. They started to say it in part one, and in part two Harry just knows about the son. Hmm...I think the film as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts though, I loved it :)
    Lupin, yes! Defs a favourite from Gryffindor. And McGonagall totally rocks!

  2. I had more problems. I am gonna see it again..I am still not sure about the film.
    McGonagall is genius. Tumblr is full of posts on her titled Professor McBadass.

  3. heheh, you've probably seen this gif then too, but in case you haven't....