Lost co-creator and Harry Potter worshiper Damon Lindelof expected to love Deathly Hallows. Instead he found tedium—and a new understanding of Lost fans' right to complain.
WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD. IF YOU HAVE NOT READ DEATHLY HALLOWS or SEEN THE MOVIE YET, THE FOLLOWING WILL ANGER YOU.
DOUBLE WARNING! IF YOU HAVE READ DEATHLY HALLOWS or SEEN THE MOVIE, THE FOLLOWING WILL REALLY ANGER YOU.
The most awesome part about being one of the primary storytellers of a popular television show is hearing how much its most loyal fans hate it.
Oh. Wait. It's actually not awesome. It hurts like hell.
I know—boo hoo for me. That's the price of doing business, isn't it? If I'm asking you to invest your time and attention in a story I'm telling, it's your right to tell me that you hate that story.
You just don't get to call yourself a "fan."
At least that is what I had always believed.
Then I saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1.
Now I'm a huge Potter fan. Huge. Read the seven books at least twice, some of them three times ( Azkaban, I'm talking to you) and it's my humble opinion that Jo Rowling (only amateurs refer to her as "J.K.") is pretty much one of the greatest living writers of popular fiction, if not the greatest.
It's impossible for me to single out my favorite book… each one of them is crazy awesome in its own way. That being said, Deathly Hallows is a stunning achievement in that it offers up a perfectly perfect ending to the entire saga. When I finished it, I realized I was crying. It was truly beautiful.
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• Watch 13 Key Harry Potter MomentsI've always thought the movies were pretty great, too. It's been no easy task faithfully adapting source material that is so revered, but they've always managed to pull it off. Even more impressive is that despite knowing exactly what's going to happen in the story, I get genuinely psyched whenever a new Potter film is about to come out.
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This time around was no different. I donned my Gryffindor T-shirt, now uncomfortably tight as I've gained a solid 15 pounds since I bought it around the time of Chamber of Secrets (Evanesco backfat!!!) and lined up with great anticipation for the penultimate trip back into Harry's world.
I emerged from the theater seven and a half hours later* deeply conflicted.
(*Running time may be slightly less than seven and half hours.)
As I staggered out into the parking lot, my brain was deftly trying to resolve a deep and complicated paradox: If I loved the book, and the movie was an incredibly loyal adaptation of that book…
How could I possibly hate the movie? And even more distressing…
Based on the careful emotional logic I'd been using to insulate myself from the slings and arrows of "Why didn't you people answer any goddamn questions?" and "A golden light in the middle of the island? SERIOUSLY?!?", if I hated the movie…
Did that mean I was no longer a fan?
There was only one logical explanation—the movie was actually great, I was just in a bad mood or something. Yes—that must be it! Come to think of it, David Yates actually directed a beautiful film. Haunting, deeply emotional and man, it looked really good. And there were some killer duels —wizards fighting with wands like cowboys in the old west, all rendered straight up REAL. Oh… and there's a really cool way they tell the story of the Deathly Hallows themselves. Not to mention the deepening reality of impending doom for the characters—the complicated triangle that exists between Harry, Hermione, and Ron certainly amped the tension! What a relief! Of course I loved it.
All of that should have happened in the first half-hour of the movie.
They should not have split the book into two halves. Order of the Phoenix had more pages and they did just fine with that one.
I felt dirty. I felt… taken advantage of. I know, I know, people in glass houses—but, still!
Dumbledore told them there were six remaining horcruxes at the end of the last movie. Simple math would dictate that they would destroy, if not locate, at least THREE in the first film. How many do they destroy? ONE. How many more do they locate? ZERO. And do we really need an HOUR of moping in the woods? And I love moping! Now I knew going in there'd be no Hogwarts, but I only get FIVE MINUTES of Snape? Seriously? HOW DARE THEY?!?
Hey. Calm down. I warned you that you'd be angry.
I felt dirty. I felt... taken advantage of. I know, I know, people in glass houses—but, still!
But there is a point to all this. That point is this:
I still love Harry Potter. Deeply and profoundly. I will read these books to my son when he's old enough not to be terrified of the dementors. And I will absolutely be crammed into my Gryffindor shirt, the very first in line to see Deathly Hallows, Part 2, which is guaranteed to make me cry at the end just as the book did.
My point is that I'm still a fan. A huge fan. Huge.
And so I sincerely and genuinely apologize to all those whom I have stripped of their Lost fandom just for complaining about the stuff you didn't like. It doesn't make you any less a fan. In fact…
It just makes you honest.
I respect that. And I'm genuinely sorry for ever feeling otherwise.
Damon Lindelof is the co-creator, co-showrunner, and executive producer of the Emmy-winning Lost . He was the producer of the recent Star Trek and is currently working on its sequel.