Voldemort had to die in the “Harry Potter” films. In the HBO series, the story could now take a completely different course. The mass murderer could survive.
- While the “Harry Potter” movies ended spectacularly and action-packed, the final battle between Harry and Voldemort in the books was much quieter.
- The most important difference is that Voldemort could have saved himself in the books – and Harry would have helped him.
The “Harry Potter” film series ended with an epic final battle between protagonist Harry Potter and antagonist Voldemort. The two threw themselves off rooftops, flew through the air and fought each other with sparking wands. It culminated in Voldemort disintegrating and being carried away as ashes in his separate pieces by the wind.
In the book “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” this final battle was considerably less spectacular. Harry and Voldemort talked a lot, “The Boy Who Survived” even offering his nemesis a way out of his misery.
Voldemort remained in the belief that he was immortal because of his Horcruxes. But Harry warned him. The Elder Wand no longer obeyed Voldemort, Dumbledore had spent years plotting Voldemort’s end, and the Horcruxes had been destroyed. So Harry offered him a last resort: repentance.
Only sincere repentance could have healed Voldemort’s soul, which had been dismembered by the creation of the Horcruxes. We know this from Hermione’s research before Harry, she and Ron set out to find the Horcruxes. She found out that a wizard’s soul can only be healed if he really feels what a terrible deed he committed to create the Horcrux. In fact, this requires murder.
This is also indicated by the initially confusing scene with Albus Dumbledore and Harry at the ghostly King’s Cross train station. Harry and Dumbledore are both effectively dead, a train arrives, and both have the choice of getting on the train and traveling to their next stop – the afterlife.
But they are not alone at the station. Under a bench lies a stunted, bloody version of Voldemort. Dumbledore explains to Harry that they can’t help him. He can’t get on the train by himself; the piece of Voldemort’s soul that this creature represents is not capable of surviving or dying.
Harry’s and Dumbledore’s souls are whole, despite, in Dumbledore’s case, evil deeds, because they have felt honest remorse, unlike Voldemort. But the concept of remorse is so far from Voldemort’s mind that he accepts his death. He finally slumps during the final battle against Harry and dies.
All of this was too much to pack into a tightly paced film. But HBO’s heralded “Harry Potter” series could now take that very time to illustrate an important lesson of the “Harry Potter” books: Everyone has a chance at redemption.