I remember the day I watched Harry Potter and The Order of The Phoenix in a movie theater. It was 2007 and I was 18. I was studying 12th grade and this was my first Harry Potter cinematic experience. I was not a Potter-head growing up. I watched the first 4 movies of the series on TV after a friend, who became very close to me since, recommended it. I watched them in sequence during the holiday period in 2006. I was fascinated by the world. I had never read the books and all that I knew was what I was watching on my TV screen. The first shot of the students walking into Hogwarts with all the candles floating in mid-air blew my mind. I knew I would never look at movies the same way again. On a side note, I miss the days when film caused wonder and amazement among people. I feel it’s a rare commodity these days and there are reasons for it, but that’s a topic for another day.
For me, the wondrous world kept growing with each passing movie. I was taken aback and stunned with each and every reveal, from the Basilisk in Chamber of Secrets, Buckbeak in Prisoner of Askaban and Mad Eye Moody in Goblet of Fire. But throughout all of this there was the mention of Lord Voldemort. The dread everyone had while uttering his name was palpable and the actors did a great job getting that across but there was one tiny problem. Apart from a few flashbacks, his true power was never revealed. He always seemed like he needed his cronies to get his dirty work done and I felt like it was much worrying about nothing. All that changed when Order of The Phoenix hit theaters.
The film is one of the best of the Potter franchise in my humble opinion. It deserves that status for a multitude of reasons too. The room of requirement, the men and women of The Order, the humor through the dark times, Umbridge being a total dick etc. The film built itself up exceptionally well until it reached the final 20 minutes. Harry and Co pick up the prophecy ball and fall into this huge battle zone with the Aurors and Death-Eaters. I was enjoying the movie a whole lot till that point and the second Gary Oldman’s Sirius Black walks in and punches Lucius Malfloy’s stupid face, business picked up.
It did not matter to me or anyone else in that theater that the spells being cast had no incantations behind them or that no one understood who was fighting whom, the only thing everyone got to know and the only thing that mattered was that this was amazing. It was something the audience at large had never seen before and the score amalgamated with the visuals were offering a treat of a lifetime. The scene stops abruptly when Sirius meets his maker at the hands of Bellatrix Lestrange. This pushes our hero, Harry Potter, over the edge to a degree. He chases down the demented, cackling witch and comes ever so close to ending her life. With Voldemort whispering in his ear and emotions riding high, Harry makes a strong choice and opts against killing Bellatrix.
Voldemort reveals himself and Harry seems to be in serious trouble when lo and behold Headmaster Dumbledore walks into the scene. The stage is set for something, the non-book reading audience don’t know is, special. Dumbledore gets Harry out-of-the-way and the battle gets underway. The two most glorious minutes of any Harry Potter movie come up on-screen. A few well-directed seconds of wand and wand action later, Voldemort starts to show what he is really capable of. With a swoop of his hand, he brings forth a snake made of fire. His maniacal little cackle adds to the sheer terror any audience member may have felt watching that materialize on screen. Dumbledore and Harry’s faces tell enough of a story by themselves.
Dumbledore ably wards off the threat and with a deft flick of his wand followed by one of the best little sound cues ever, after the light-saber’s sound cue, Dumbledore traps the nose-less one in a ball of water. The struggle he goes through to keep Voldemort’s power contained is up there for all to see. Harry’s little moment of distraction breaks him out of his focused state and Voldemort goes free. It is here when good old Tom Riddle is playing no games.
He picks up his wand and beams out a whole lot of dark energy (I’m calling it that until someone says otherwise). A few seconds later it seems like he is pulling it back in. The black matter converges to his wand. He bends his shoulders and takes it in. A moment later. In a scream that signals unspeakable horror, he unleashes every single ounce of dark power he has. Dumbledore’s effort to block him snaps like a proverbial twig which ends up with him thrown off his feet.
The glass in the room they are in shatters to a sound which matches a crescendo. Voldemort holds his arms up with his wand firmly in his grasp. He clasps his hands together making himself look like the conductor of the choir of death.He just defeated the one wizard who was said to be more powerful than himself. The one wizard everyone believed would handle Voldemort if push came to shove. He had defeated Dumbledore and pushed everyone’s beloved headmaster to the defensive.
He had finally shown the audience the true extent of his powers. I, for one, never doubted his capabilities again.
Click the video below to experience the duel again!!