Rays of light pierce the dark and sinister clouds that fly overhead, but light has yet to defeat all the shadows of the night. Everything is consumed by darkness, and formidable dangers lie in wait. Fierce waves crush one another as they work as one to reflect the structure that now lies in shambles. Hogwarts, as ubiquitous as the boy it houses, lies in ruin and is on its way to being little more than ash. Fear grips at my insides threatening to rip them to shreds. The image says it all. The world-wide phenomenon that has managed to ensnare millions of fans is now coming to an end, and the fans are anxious to witness its grand finale. As I sit cross legged outside the theater, I am surrounded by fans screaming in unbearable anticipation for the upcoming movie that is now only hours away. There are movie props all around us, and the fans are slaving over the small indulgences, drinking in everything they have to offer. However, in all of their admiration of the giant posters, no one stops to think what messages might be hidden behind the mysterious exteriors. They are fans of all ages. Most of the fans are young adults, but there are people old enough to be my parents and others who are not even in their teens. Each fan has his or her own story. I first met J.K. Rowling’s magical world when I was eleven. I have grown alongside Harry, Ron, and Hermione, and as their journey comes to an end so does a decade of my life.
However, the story isn’t over yet. My attention leaves the horde of people around me and returns to the poster that so entices me. Though fraught with darkness, there is a bright patch of sky where the sun has begun to rise that catches my eye, but a dark shape blocks my full view. It is the focal point of the entire image, and it stirs a mixture of emotions inside me. It is the center of the magical world, so the depiction of Hogwarts burning to a crisp fills me with shock. Even though I have read the books, I was not prepared for this. It is far worse than I had ever imagined. Below the dying building lies its reflection as if it has to watch itself as it burns, knowing it is happening, but unable to do anything to stop the destruction. I wonder what caused the flames or if someone will ever bring order to the chaos. I look closer. I question whether there really are two figures within the flames about to battle, for I am convinced that they are there. It is the final showdown that everyone is anticipating. My initial shock and fear turn to uncontrollable longing to witness the duel play out. Will good triumph over evil, or will the dark wizard forever rule the world? The battle will decide it all. I am lost within the story, yet I force myself to concentrate more on the poster and the task at hand. I remove the magnifying glass from my mind’s eye, and I allow my gaze to focus on something far less discrete.
At the center of the poster lies the only text aside from a short phrase at the top of the page. The short phrase can wait. The center reads “Hp7” in the signature Harry Potter Font. The abbreviation does two things. It shows how large the Harry Potter franchise has become, and the producers realize this and use it to their advantage. The title makes a statement so bold that even people not in the target audience will be drawn to it. In addition to flaunting its world-wide reputation, the abbreviation limits the number of distractions from the overall illustration. The overwhelming image completes its message with the phrase at the top of the page. In contrast to the first film, which declared “Let the magic begin!” on its poster, this film proclaims “It all ends here.” Fear crawls up my spine and I’m covered in goose bumps. The phrase completes the message that the burning school began, for this is the beginning of the end.
All hope for triumph dies away, and I am left with fear. However, the glint of the sun rise still holds a bit of hope, and I grasp at it even if only to deceive myself that all is not lost. In the first film it is night in the poster, and we entered into a world blind to the evils that threaten us. Yet this light signals hope and the start of a new era. It is time for the long and cold night to end, so that we may live in peace.
We are lost in darkness, and the light is our guide to whatever lies ahead. The end is coming and there will be a new beginning, but it could be for good or evil. The image does a brilliant job at catching the attention of fans, but those who lack interest in the series will show little interest in the poster. Only a fan can catch all of the important factors within the illustration. The poster works to rejuvenate the interest for those whose attention has waned overtime, and it does so masterfully.
Written September 8, 2010 with slight edits on March 27, 2015 by Joshua Hedgepeth