The decision to divide Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in two films was the best the studio ever made, as it did justice to the story and sent the series off with a fitting two-part extravaganza. With these films having been viewed repeatedly so many times by fans in the last decade, it’s high time we compare them.
Our conclusion is that Deathly Hallows – Part 2 was the better film of the two, and we’ve compiled a list of 10 points that back it up. These things are in common for both movies, and Part 2 does a better job at delivering them to fans.
10 Utilizing More Characters
Sure, Deathly Hallows – Part 1 was restricted with the character count as if focused on the nomadic portion of the book, but it did have several scenes that featured many characters, such as the Ministry sequence, or everything around the wedding. Even there, the characters simply filled up the numbers and were pretty interchangeable.
In Deathly Hallows – Part 2, we saw the Hogwarts students return in all their glory, and there were many scenes dedicated toward building these guys up as being important to the plot. Scenes such as the sacking of Snape, or when they’re all building fortifications around the school, made full use of the supporting characters.
9 Music To Set The Tone
Yes, Snape’s mourning of Lily was a sad scene in the book as well, but it would have never have pulled on our heartstrings had it not been accompanied by that awesome soundtrack. In the same way, the Battle of Hogwarts felt real, gritty, and intense whenever needed due to the music that provided context to us even when no one was speaking.
In the first part, we did get good music sequences, but these were hardly implemented at large. You’d argue that the film didn’t have many scenes that required music to set the stage, but even scenes like Dobby’s death didn’t have much to provide us in mourning as far as the music was concerned.
8 No Fillers
Having scenes where not much of anything was happening was the biggest complaint from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1, and the film had to invent filler scenes like Harry and Hermione’s dance (although that was a great moment) in order to justify the runtime.
The second part was the reverse of this, as we felt there weren’t enough scenes for us to have our fill of Harry Potter for the last time. The movie was a complete effort, and fans were only left wanting more in a good way. Every scene had a point to it, with there being no parts that felt dragging.
7 An Epic Battle
Again, Part 1 didn’t have as many moments that required epic battles, but like we said before, the scenes it did have in this regard weren’t as incredible as they could’ve been. The easiest example is the Battle of the Seven Potters, where the sequence didn’t come across as an all-out war like in the book, but as a chase scene instead.
Deathly Hallows – Part 2 had one scene in particular that was awe-inspiring, where we saw the total destruction of Hogwarts on display; giants, dementors, Death Eaters, and all kinds of foes battled as annihilation gripped the school. These moments took our breaths away, with genuine feelings of war being felt.
6 Better Duels
The Battle of Seven Potters had several match-ups in the novel, none of which were shown in the film. The Skirmish at Malfoy Manor was a disappointment overall, since it only had the characters throwing around jets of spells without any cool effects on display.
In the second part, as the school was rife with war, we saw intense duels that made the fanboy/fangirl in us jumping in excitement. Even slower duels like the one between Professor McGonagall and Snape were cool, and larger duels like Harry and Voldemort’s were really on point. Not to mention the tremendous execution of the Bellatrix and Mrs. Weasley fight.
5 Emotional Scenes
We did have emotional scenes in the first part in the form of Malfoy’s death, or when Dobby died, but these didn’t pack that punch in the heart you want when viewing a film. Deathly Hallows – Part 2 meanwhile even managed to make us feel something for the ghost of Rowena Ravenclaw’s daughter, despite no one previously caring for the character.
The winning moment was when Harry bid goodbye to Ron and Hermione, and we all fell to tears just like Hermione did. The tears weren’t all out this way when Harry and Ron had parted ways in Deathly Hallows – Part 1.
4 Better Poster And Promotion
This of course wasn’t seen in the film, but still does count as the hype that was built from promotion amplified the viewing experience. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 suffered from a lack of epic marketing, which instead made the film come across as a slower paced road film – this was evident when the film grossed lower than Toy Story 3 and Alice in Wonderland for 2010.
The second part’s promotional material deserve a perfect rating, as just the poster hyped us out of our minds. Every portion of marketing focused on how this film was going to bring everything crashing together, and that all bets were off. It highlighted just how incredible the final fight between Voldemort and Harry would be, and all the accompanying chaos.
3 A Satisfying Ending
Before you start getting your pitchforks ready, let us make it clear we’re not saying Deathly Hallows – Part 1’s ending was inferior because it was incomplete. What we mean here, is that the film’s ending just wasn’t that great at all. It could’ve been better had it ended right when the trio were heading into Gringotts, as this would’ve amped us up to watch the second part the next year.
Part 2, of course, had the most complete endings one could imagine. You have to give it up to JK Rowling for this, though, since she was the one wrote the end that was implemented here. But let’s not rule out the direction either; as the station, the characters, and the environment were all created to perfection for us to accept that this was the final send-off.
2 Bringing Back The "Leaving Hogwarts" Theme
This is so iconic; it needs its special mention. There were several moments that the “Leaving Hogwarts” theme could’ve been used in the first part, such as when the season changed when the trio were on the run, or when Harry was at the Burrow; however, the theme hadn’t been used since Chamber of Secrets.
Bringing back this theme in Part 2 really made the ending what it was, as the child in all of us from 2001-02 was brought back when we heard that familiar, innocent theme when the epilogue began in 2017 in-universe. Now titled as “A New Beginning”, this theme stole away the winning points from Part 1 in favor of Part 2.
1 Taking Liberties With The Source Material
Every Harry Potter movie has deviated away from its source novel, as the films’ runtimes prevent them from fully adapting everything. Deathly Hallows – Part 1’s deviations were particularly awful for the most part, as we saw Harry treat Kreacher like vermin rather than with respect; Wormtail’s end was treated as a joke rather than poetic justice, among other changes.
Deathly Hallows – Part 2 perfected those areas from the novel that could’ve been made more epic. The mind easily goes to the battle between Harry and Voldemort, where the two flew all around Hogwarts and Voldemort showed us his superb power, before he met his end. Even the Battle of Hogwarts was bettered compared to the novel, as humdrum conversations were replaced by incredible set pieces.