Parents need to know that the second-to-last installment in the epic Harry Potter movie saga is the darkest, most intense yet. It has the highest body count of any Potter film, including the deaths of several recurring characters -- some of which are particularly emotional and upsetting. Harry, Ron, Hermione, and their friends are bloodied, injured, and cursed. In one startling "jump" scene, Voldemort's giant killer snake bursts out of an old woman's body; there's also a particularly disturbing torture scene in which a major character is branded with an insult. Expect a bit of sensuality, including lots of longing looks and protective embraces between Ron and Hermione, a passionate snog between Harry and Ginny, and a scene of "ghost" versions of Harry and Hermione tormenting Ron with a sensual kiss (they appear to be nude, and you can see their torsos, but it's quite blurry/misty). Despite the amped-up angst and violence, the characters prove again and again that unconditional friendship, loyalty, and love can survive even the most harrowing of threats.
- Families can talk about whether this is an appropriate movie for younger kids, even if they've seen or read the books. Discuss whether your child is truly ready for this movie, which is very dark and disturbing at times. (And for more, check out our age-by-age guide to Harry Potter.)
- Why does Harry need help on his journey? What do Hermione and Ron offer him that no one else can? Can you think of other movie/literary heroes who require a lot of help on their life-or-death journeys?
- How does Ron's departure affect Harry and Hermione? How did the locket horcrux torment Ron, and what did it confirm about his self-esteem? Did he redeem himself by his return?
- If you've read the book, what parts of the novel were left out? Which were faithfully adapted? How did you feel about the characters who died in the movie?