Marriage Amidst COVID-19

Have you ever watched something come back alive?

Back in February I remembered getting asked nonstop how wedding planning was going. I was really tired of answering that question to be honest, but I felt like we were fine. We had a Trello board(highly recommend for all your project planing needs) with tasks broken down by party and due dates. It definitely was a lot of work, but we were doing it! Really the only thing we didn’t take into account was a global pandemic happening.

It was sort of a slow burn for me. I remember hearing whispers of some kind of outbreak in China late last year and then in February when I caught the flu I saw signs in the urgent care center about getting tested(back when there were tests available when you wanted them). Then we had state-wide orders to work from home if you were able. I still don’t think I realized the magnitude of what was happening at this point or what plans wouldn’t survive in the wake. I remember assuring Amy, “I mean, worst case is some people might not travel all the way to California.” Oh early March Kevin, how naive you were.

I can honestly say it was the worst week of my life. Not only were we told that there just wasn’t a possible way to still do our wedding event, but each of the back up plans also were impossible to pull off too. I feel sort of silly for how much of a emotional toll the cancellation took on me. We were healthy, had jobs we could work from home, and still in love, but just unable to have that big expensive ceremony with flowers and food – first world problems, am I right? I think I was mostly frustrated because I knew these things ultimately didn’t matter. We each received text message after text message about “It’s really your love that is the important part”. Yes. We knew that. It wasn’t really our desire to have a giant party so much as it was us wanting to celebrate with our friends and family. Every single person invited to our wedding(and of course others, but guest list limits) had left their mark on each of lives, turning us into who we were and who we would become together. We wanted that community to know and feel their part in our marriage. That’s what we lost.

Have you ever watched something come back alive? We did. That community that we thought wasn’t going to get to play a part showed up in force. Family dropped everything they were doing to take care of anything they could handle in our place. Dear friends sent us flowers. Our premarital pastors fed us and provided space to process loss. People still bought gifts for us despite being told there would be no ceremony they could come to. We got invited to virtual happy hours to talk and play games to take or minds of everything. We felt their love. We felt your love. It calmed us in the midst of the chaos. It made us smile before the tears had finished drying. It reminded us that you all still are an integral part of our story and that you feel valued. Wedding reception or not.

We’re still getting married tomorrow, as planned. Not at the venue. Not with a room full of guests. But with a ceremony that will celebrate who we were becoming and all the people that got us there.

Still having chicken and waffles though. That was a must-have.

Some Thoughts on Rain

Rain makes me appreciate the sunny days more. I find that when summer finally rolls around with a streak of sunny days in the high 90°s, I enjoy it(at least at the beginning). That warm temperature feeling is welcome because it isn’t going to last. It allows us to have float parties at Greenlake, go hiking more often, and see a long reaching view from a vantage point. Having something you enjoy disappear for a bit can allow you to appreciate other things. Not that I’m glad the rain I love is gone, but it being gone has given me a new space or time I wouldn’t otherwise have.

Rain forces me to slow down. This is true in both a literal and figurative sense. Traveling while in the rain I find myself moving slower, the wet ground can be slippery so extra care needs to be taken. I’m not sure if the idea of going outside is less attractive in the rain or that staying inside snuggling up with a blanket is more so, but I usually always find myself curled up in my reading nook. Rainstorms in Seattle also tend to come with a decent amount of power outages, I guess it’s all the trees falling on power lines. And yea, a power outage can blow when you just want to binge watch Stranger Things, but with the power gone it also gives way to lying in bed way longer then necessary, day dreaming those deep thoughts alone or with a friend, or finally picking up that theology book to read. When I am forced to slow down I am reminded of the things I usually leave behind when I’m too busy hopping from one thing to the next.

Rain cleans. Not too long ago Seattle had a really bad smoke problem. All this smoke from forest fires was being blown into our air space and it got so bad you could honestly stare at the sun and not hurt your eyes. It hurt to breathe and waking up in the morning your throat felt dry. After a week or two of this terrible air quality, the smoke was cleansed from our sky by a little bit of rain. That was all it took to become clear again! I don’t think I had been that happy for rain to arrive in a long time. It’s honestly an incredible gift whenever it falls from the heavens and rinses the world around us. The air smells different, plants become greener, and everything feels fresh.

Living in Seattle now for close to five years(whoa!) rain has become a more common part of my life. Seattle doesn’t get the most rain in the country but it is up there for most rainy days. Growing up in Southern California I wasn’t a stranger to rain. El Niño* brought plenty of to my elementary school, typically getting recess cancelled because the playground would flood. But when the rain stopped I knew it would be many months before it returned. I always looked forward to those spring days when the clouds would open up, the trees and bushes would ripple underneath the watery cascade, and the soft taps on the roof and windows would lull me to sleep.


*I just found out El Niño actually makes the Northwest more hot and dry while the Southwest gets all that rain, weather is neat!

Invisible Children to End in 2015

I had the pleasure of volunteering with this organization during highschool and throughout my college years, some served as campus president. From sleepouts, fundraising to rebuild Ugandan schools, throwing a few male beauty pageants, and even attending a congressional lobby in our nation’s capitol building, it was all exciting and life enriching. Invisible Children was created in 2004 to bring an end to a rebel army using children as soldiers, and over the last nine years that army has shrunk, fled from Uganda, and over two thousand abducted children have escaped to return home. I’m glad to see that Invisible Children hasn’t lost their desire for partnership with the organizations and people that have to live at the center of the conflict and will be handing off their resources and control to local groups that they have bonded with over the years. There is still a lot of work to be done rebuilding and rehabilitating, and with the good work these people do, it will continue to happen.

This interview with the CEO is honest and worth a read, organizations like this, ones that have the balls to carve out a change in this world are few and far to come by. But we live in an age that knows the most slaves, sex workers, and child soldiers than ever before, with the most serious atrocities going unnoticed or unreported. Invisible Children’s underlying goal was to correct the injustice in this world the best way they saw fit, I pray we all continue to do just that in our own lives.

“…cynicism is, in my humble opinion, a destructive force for progress in this world.”

Be loving, be smart, be wary, and be ambitious. But always have hope in what you seek to do, don’t fall victim to cynicism from within yourself or outside from others. Change the world.

//edit: Official word from Invisible Children

My Thoughts on: Sexual Compatibility


The idea of ‘sexual compatibility’ gets a lot more attention than it should be.  The article suggests that you can’t know/be sexually compatible if you don’t have sex beforehand and that sexual compatibility is necessary for a great marriage.  Yes, sex is an important part to a marriage, but are people seriously saying marriage isn’t the right choice if two aren’t “sexually compatible”?  What does that even mean?  I just can’t imagine getting close to someone to the point of “Wow I really love this person and I want to marry them, but are we sexually compatible?”  That just seems idiotic to me.

I’ve it heard this view from a lot of other people, “I have to make sure that the sex will work between us”.  If marriage is just a precursor to sex then this makes sense.  If what I’m concerned with is getting a good romping out of my wife then yes, I should be making sure the sex is to my liking first.  But I don’t think that is what most people go into a marriage for.  There is a lot more to marriage than a sexual relationship.  If you’re at the point in a relationship where you are looking to get married, but you think the sexual compatibility might change your mind….don’t get married.  You’re not ready to marry anybody.

How do you even determine sexual compatibility?  What is the criteria for compatibility?  How many attempts do you need to figure out if you’re “compatible”?   Do you even need to actually have sex to figure it out?  And why just sexual compatibility?  Are these people also buying homes together, getting pregnant and raising children before getting married as well?  If not….how will they know they are financially compatible?  Compatible in the home environment?  Compatible as parents?  How will they know if they will still be a compatible couple during retirement?

Can’t these things can be determined through conversation and other indicators you get from knowing a person?  99% of any kind of compatibility is understanding each other’s desires, limits, and each person’s willingness to work together.  And if you can’t even talk about those things on a level deep enough to figure it out, how is actually doing them going to be more comfortable and a better indicator of compatibility?

Now, there are some GREAT points this article makes.

  1. Sex is good
  2. Sex is fun
  3. People like sex
  4. Sex isn’t a bad thing

I’m not going to stand on a soapbox here and proclaim that if you have sex before marriage you will get herpes, or become cursed with a terrible sex life, or try to slut shame you.  If you really believe sex before marriage is a way to determine this notion of sexual compatibility you want in your marriage and you have carefully considered what sex is to you, fine.  Go do it and get it on.  But don’t try to preach how it is the correct way that everyone should follow.  The article seems to be primarily frustrated with how American culture views sexuality(valid), wants to challenge it(valid), but then claims that pre-marital sex is the way to do this(not valid, or at least she didn’t make any valid claims for it).

Maybe the issue here isn’t that you shouldn’t or should be having sex before marriage, its what are we teaching ourselves about sex and how is that impacting us?  Generally in America there isn’t a good sexual education experience, we don’t talk about it, or its all hush-hush naughty stuff and sexuality in America is suffering because of it.

We have people who wait to get married before having sex, don’t understand that sex isn’t some magical 100% perfect thing and have their marriage suffer because of it.  We have people who are tired of seeing that and decide to preach the good news that pre-marital sex is “the best choice for nearly everyone.”  And we have people that haven’t really thought about that much(or are too young to!) who hear both sides and aren’t sure what to think; worse if they only hear one side and blindly follow it without thinking about what it means for them!

Sex and sexual health are important parts of being a human and are usually extremely personal private matters.  We should be stressing this instead focusing on shame or pride for whatever side you happen to be on.

Airplane Movie Reviews

I took a vacation for two weeks in New Zealand which involved flying over the Pacific Ocean-there and back again.  I usually enjoy plane rides long or short since I can finish off a book, sleep most of the way, or pass the time with free movies.  Virgin Airlines usually has a great choice of movies to watch for free.  My flight over I didn’t watch that many since I wanted to get myself on the proper sleep schedule.  Coming back I had the unfortunate middle seat along with people seated directly behind and in front of me who made it their mission to keep me from sleeping at all, so all I did was watch film after film.  Anyway, here is what I watched and what I thought about them.

  • Frozen – 4/5
    • Yes I know I’m late to this party.  I thought Frozen was a great Disney movie.  Fun plot, funny characters, good sing-a-long songs, and a happy ending.  It was a little bit of an issue at times how easily you could see insert song here story breaks.  Tangled was better.
  • Monsters University – 3.5/5
    • I’ll be honest, I only watched this for Nathan Fillion, and he was awesome!  A nifty prequel with your typical underdog plot.
  • Despicable Me – 5/5
    • Somehow I missed this when it came out and never got around to watching it.  Well I’m really glad I caught it on the flight back because I was blown away.  The animation was brilliant, the acting was top notch, and I was not expecting to have my emotions pulled out at 30,000 miles in the air!  After it was over I sat there feeling so happy for Gru, then I realized he’s an animated character, and then I realized there is a sequel I NEED to see.  It was good too right?
  • Fifth Estate – 4/5
    • A cyber thriller telling the debated story of Wikileaks and its creator Julian Assange, comes with a healthy dose of Benedict Cumberbatch.  If you like journalistic, uncover the truth, race against authority thrillers then you’ll probably enjoy this.  The film is probably more of a 3/5, it lacks as a whole at times.  But I’ve always found the whole Wikileaks story very interesting and could follow along with my own knowledge, so that might have made it more enjoyable for me.
  • Now You See Me – 3.5/5
    • A band of magicians start to rob banks during their live performances and the FBI is after them.  It is super fun to see the magic get executed, FBI outsmarted, and watch the plot twist and turn further.  It gets set up very well but it is only as fun while it lasts.  The ending is rather abrupt and didn’t do it for me.
  • Act of Valor – ?/5
    • I more or less collapsed in my seat from exhaustion half way through this one, finally thwarting the sleep barons surrounding me.  At best this is probably a 2/5 If I had to predict what the score would be.  The plot wasn’t anything special and the narrating was boring or exposition at best.  It felt like they came up with the idea, “Hey lets use real a real Navy SEAL team as the action stars”, and didn’t take it much further.

I’m pretty sure I watched at least two others but I cannot remember what they were.

Offering Too Much Advice

One of the things I do is give advice.  Sometimes I give advice when people don’t even ask for it, I just start explaining things.  Sometimes I’ll talk too much trying to explain my advice when they don’t particularly care or they already understand it and I end up annoying them.  Learning what annoys people is a never ending process.  It can be talking too much, how you explain your advice, or what subject it is on.

While it may be a way of expressing you care, you still need to be mindful of how others take it.  And that can be hard.

Ever Watched Something Come Back To Life?

I was remembering the Blue Like Jazz movie resurrection story the other day, I’m still blown away that we pulled it all off.

  • Donald Miller writes a great book called Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality.  It gets pretty popular among 20/30-somethings for how honest and personable Miller’s writing style is.  I would highly recommend you read it if you haven’t already!
  • Steve Taylor approaches Miller to make a movie out of Blue Like Jazz.  They plan, plot, and find investors for it to happen.
  • The day before pre-production, an investor backs out.  Miller announces on his blog that the movie is seemingly dead for now.
  • A band of fans got together and decided that this wasn’t going to stop this movie from happening.  We’d heard about it, read about it, and now we were going to save it.  The Blue Like Jazz Kickstarter was born, can you spot me in the video?
  • Ten days later the Kickstarter campaign passes its $125k minimum to fund the movie.  We did it.  Blue Like Jazz was to be the first major release American movie to be crowd sourced, and I, along with quite a few others, was now an executive producer with my name in the credits!  The campaign continued to raise money the next 20 days which helped afford better production.  Taylor and Miller were stunned at how quickly this happened and got back to work on it immediately.
  • The movie was finally released in April 2012 and it was awesome.

It was an amazing experience watching something we cared about come back to life after it had been declared dead.  I couple things I learned from this adventure:

  1. If you care about something enough, try to make it happen!  A few of us got over 3,000 people to join in and raise $125k.
  2. Institutions, precepts, and ‘The Man’ don’t have to be accepted blindly.  If people want to see something change, they should(and can) step up and change it themselves.
  3. Christianity continues to be ever relevant to our culture.

Love is for Others

A while ago someone married to a paraplegic for 16 years was doing an AskMeAnything and got asked the question “How’s the sex life?”  No doubt the person who asked was trying to be humorous, but the man gave an answer anyway.

Somehow I knew this was going to be the first question…I’m not gonna lie. Sex is one of the big issues. I wish I was a better man, and could simply ignore that side of myself, but I’m not. I get as frustrated as anyone else, and working through that is difficult.

What followed was one of the best interactions I have seen concerning the difference of what real love is and what much of our society thinks it is, someone else followed up and pressed the issue further;

Have you ever considered or had a discussion with your wife about making the physical aspect of your relationship open? You both have needs, and I respect your patience and efforts to be a good husband. However, I feel that on a level of need you may benefit from having an agreement with your wife about a sexually open relationship while maintaining an otherwise monogamous one.

This suggestion hurts my soul every time I read it.  I do not know if this person genuinely believed this idea was a good one or he was just wondering out loud what the man thought about it.  What it really says, is “love should be about you getting everything you want and if you are missing anything then you should go get it.”  Sure, redefine the way a monogamous relationship works to fulfill your needs.  You deserve it.  You’re entitled to it.

The married man answered;

I’ve had others ask this question before, but lets be serious here.

My wife already deals with feelings of inadequacy because of the things she can’t provide for me physically. She knows I love her anyway, but she can’t help feeling like she’s somehow less than a “real” wife.

Were I to go elsewhere for sex, romping around with some able-bodied lady, even if it was done with her knowledge and nominal permission, any sense of security that she has in me, in us, would be gone. That kind of damage is irreparable.

An “open relationship” would signify only that my physical needs are more important than her emotional ones. And that just isn’t true.

Beautiful.  This man gets it.

Yes I know, sex is not love.  I think that love is greater than sex, but they are connected and I think that is another way of looking at what is being misrepresented here.  When this man opens himself to questions about his marriage and someone asks him about sex, he doesn’t try to disconnect the two like the second questioner does because the married man knows they are very much related.  He knows asking him “How’s the sex life?” is part of asking him “How’s the marriage life?”.  Look back, his answer would probably be very similar if the question was changed.  The man understands that to go outside of his marriage for sex, or for anything, would render his marriage pointless.  Whatever benefits he would receive from outside his marriage are worth nothing to him if his marriage or wife suffers.

I believe that our biggest need is love, but love is a funny thing because in order to do it correctly one must put another’s needs before their own.  And that is so hard to do sometimes.  Being a selfish 22 year old, my innate desire is not to put another’s wants or needs before my own.  My brain says that the most efficient way to enjoy the benefits of life is to have all my needs met without doing any work.  But because I love her, I make any of her needs more important than all of mine.  Well, I try to.  I fail a lot, but that is another story.  The point is we cannot fulfill our own need for love, we must love something beyond ourselves if we want it to be real.

One last person made a snide comment;

So it’s essentially a one-way deal, where she gets here psychological needs met, and you don’t. Got it. But then, I guess you made that decision when you got married. Oh well.

The man responded;

Not really, no. It is called love. It is letting the needs of someone else supersced your own. I’m rather sorry you feel the way you do. You’re missing out in the long run.


Don’t Try to Appear Right

A couple of years ago I was playing the game Cranium with some friends.  It was my turn to get my teammate to guess my humdinger(click here if you don’t know what that means).  I picked up the card, it was a song I knew I should know and I was very embarrassed that I couldn’t remember how it went.  So I did the next best thing and hummed a different song by the same artist and explained what my teammate should be guessing was a very related popular song.  In the end he did guess it and I was relieved that I didn’t lose us a turn for my brain’s incompetence, but the rest of our group found it funny that I couldn’t remember or hum the Star Wars main title theme.  I got more embarrassed so I decided to do something.  I started to make up explain the fact that it was actually much harder to remember the opening theme because it isn’t used anywhere else in the movie, because the Imperial March is much more memorable, because people usually talk through the opening sequence anyways, etc.  I tried to explain that people should think its difficult to remember one of the most iconic movie openings in the history of film.  It was a huge lie and I was stupid for thinking I made myself seem smarter because of it.  I had a choice to laugh it off, shrug my shoulders and remember how to properly hum the song in the future but instead I desperately tried to show that I was ‘right’.  I made the wrong choice.

Why trying to appear right all the time is lame:

  1. Its fake and you know it.  What good is it to appear right when you know you were wrong?
  2. Its fake and they know it.  If others can blatantly see you trying to appear right all the time they will lose respect for you.
  3. You will seem arrogant to others.

You can never be right all the time.  Don’t let this get you down and don’t try to fight it!  Instead, embrace the fact that you can’t be right 100% of the time, and you don’t need to be!  Start to recognize when you are wrong and use it as an opportunity to learn for next time.

Why learning is cool:

  1. You learn something new that you didn’t before.
  2. It is an important skill to have; if you can’t learn anything then you aren’t going to go very far in life.
  3. People will respect you more when you learn something from them, or when they learn something from you.

If you are ever faced with this choice I encourage you to learn instead of trying to appear right.  I’ve been trying this and its amazing how much more you learn when you aren’t wasting energy trying to prove how much you already know.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows movie review

Putting off my last post on Love Wins a little bit because I wanted to write something about the last Harry Potter movie.  Four years ago, the last Harry Potter book came out: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out.  This last week, the last movie came out.  All around, it was brilliant.  I haven’t been a huge fan of the movies so far(I will never forgive you Mike Newell for ruining the Goblet of Fire), but David Yates has easily made these last three movies the best.

I’m going to do a brief outline of the plot and what I thought of each.  Massive spoilers here obviously…

  • The Seven Potters: This scene was brilliant.  They kept it humorous and then turn into pure excitement in the chase.  As soon as everyone broke through those clouds there were curses and death eaters going every which way.  And that is how it should have been.  The only thing that could have been changed was the fact that the death eaters could already fly, so when Voldemort starts flying it isn’t  a huge deal.  But this was an unfortunate choice made in the 5th movie.
  • At the Burrow: Nothing too important here.  Mostly filler time.  The Ginny birthday kiss was pretty funny, that was a welcome change I would say.  The wedding was done well.  Elphias Doge’s part was minimal, more on that later.  The escape from the wedding was cool, Kingsley’s patronus was a bit slow talking.  At first I really liked that they kept the Tottenham Court Rd scene, but then after the rest of the movie I thought they should have just tossed it(more on this later).
  • Ministry of Magic: Kipping out at Grimmuald Place is easily filmed enough.  They got to show off Sirius’ room and then they found RAB.  They didn’t do a great job at explaining exactly what Kreacher/Regulas accomplished, but it wasn’t really needed in the movie.  Breaking into the Ministry of Magic was great.  They did a good job showing just how frantic and clueless they trio was during all this.  It was fun to see the decoy detonators work their magic in the nazi propaganda assembly line.  I don’t understand why the movies insist on having the actor’s voices while transformed by Polyjuice Potion, maybe to confuse the audience less?
  • Camping: It was good to see this was kept to a minimum in the movie.  While the camping scenes were boring in the book, it was where a lot of the plot development happened with the trio.  I was glad to see that the movie wasn’t bogged down with this but they still showed the characters developing.  Ron’s departure was maddening and understandable as it was supposed to be.  The entire time the locket can be seen smugly atop their chests, draining their hope.  Let it be known, I loved the splinching effect they did with Ron.  Awkward Harry/Hermione dancing scene is awkward, still not sure who thought could ever be a good idea…Just bad writing really.
  • Godric’s Hallow: I was a little disappointed in this scene.  Nagini did not erupt out of Bathilda Bagshot’s body like in a horror movie, Bathilda’s body kinda turned into the snake.  Maybe they didn’t want a rated R scene, but it was supposed to be terrifyingly creepy.  Also, Voldemort never came.  That was another moment where Harry escapes his wrath and I still don’t know why they left that out.  I mean if Voldemort wasn’t there, Harry and Hermione should have stayed to kill the snake right?  They knew it was a horocrux after all.
  • Ron’s Return: I never really liked the patronuses(patronai?) they showed in the movies.  They looked too…whispy.  They didn’t even do Harry’s stag patronus right(I won’t forgive you either Alfonso Cuarón!) in the third or subsequent movies.  So the Doe was barely even recognizable I thought, now would it matter since they couldn’t make the connection that the stag+doe = James+Lily.  Harry trying to get the sword, the locket trying to drown him, and Ron showing up to save him was all good.  What I really liked(I loved it.  I thought it was brilliant.  On some level I think it should be long in the books) was when the locket was opened up.  It was like a bomb.  This great big mass of muck shooting out everywhere to fight Ron off was pure genius!  The horocrux attempting to crush Ron’s hope was executed perfectly, and when Ron pulls through stabbing the locket with the sword I almost got up and cheered.  I was really excited to see such a emotional part of the book done well.
  • The Deathly Hallows: Little things I enjoyed after Ron’s return was the humor he brought back with him.  The audience knew that Ron regretted leaving and is back to his old self again.  Also adding the touch of Harry not being able to use another’s wand as easily was good to see.  Very interesting art direction of the Tale of the Three Brothers, I thought it was really good and set the mood well.  Again, didn’t like the death eaters flying around crashing into the Lovegood’s house.  Dumb useless additions…The end of this scene was pretty sloppy I thought.  The trio apparates away from the Lovegood’s residence right into some snatchers by mistake…and tries to run away?  What?  Just apparate away again!  Which brings me back to my Tottenham Court Rd point; there is never any explanation of the fact that the word Voldemort was jinxed so they could find you.  They kept the part at Tottenham Court Rd, but never explained why.  They could have easily had Harry or Hermione say Voldemort at night after their escape from the Lovegood’s and then get caught, but instead they do this stupid lucky snatcher bit.  This was one of my larger gripes with DH part one.
  • Malfoy Manor: This was more or less straight from the book.  Everyone is terribly excited that they may have caught Harry Potter, Bellatrix goes nuts when she spots the sword and kills most of the snatchers(I loved that they kept that bit in there), and then Ron and Harry are scuttled off to the dungeon while Hermione is tortured for information.  Down below, Dobby shows up and starts the rescue.  I didn’t like that they didn’t even kill off Wormtail in the movie.  I mean what gives, do all the bad guys die except for Wormtail?  Harry gets Malfoy’s wand, a very important part of the plot.  Then they are at the standoff with Bellatrix about to slit Hermione’s throat, this is where I thought the scene went down hill.  Dobby shows up and takes several minutes to unscrew the chandelier(Seriously, what was that about?  Was it supposed to be funny?) to fall on top of Bellatrix, who decides that pushing Hermione towards Harry/Ron and falling backwards is the best way to overcome this problem.  Then, Dobby decides to make an even longer speech about friendship and Harry Potter while there are about 5 wizards pointing a knife and a couple of wands at their heads.  Finally Dobby disapparates them all to shell cottage, but not before the audience BLATANTLY sees Bellatrix throw the knife into their disapparating mess.  Now everyone knows that Dobby is going to die, and that kinda ruined it.  It was still sad to watch Dobby utter his last words, but it just wasn’t the same feeling as in the book when it was a surprise.  Also, in the movie Hermione just watches Dobby die when she can easily use some magic/dittany to save his life, so much for her love of house elves.  Overall this scene was good, I just wish it had the same sense of surprise and sadness that JK Rowling accomplished in the book.  Not to mention this is where DH part one ends, it should have been a big shocker and go out with a bang instead of trying to force some humor before an obvious death.
  • Shell Cottage: Dobby’s grave was nicely done, keeping it being dug by hand was another nicety.  Griphook’s responses were the same, but they threw in a HEAVY hint about Snape.  I wasn’t too sure how I felt about that.  I didn’t like the fact that Ollivander knew, and shared, about the Deathly Hallows.  Him not knowing about them made them seem more mystical, more crazy/impossible to be true.  They kept Bill’s warnings about Griphook and the goblins in.  Didn’t show too much about the planning of their break-in, but I guess they didn’t need to show it.
  • Gringotts: I thought they showed the imperious curse very well, which I thought would be pretty hard to pull off.  Helena Bonham Carter did a great job being Hermione trying to act like Bellatrix.  For some reason they had it appear as if Harry/Griphook were just invisible and not under the cloak.  Come to think of it, they didn’t even mention the cloak to be a Hallow.  Man they never do explain anything about James Potter, bit of a shame really.  They kept the germino charm on the goods in the vault, but didn’t bother with the flagrante curse.  The dragon escape was pretty good.  After they disembark the dragon Hermione yells at Harry to stop letting Voldemort ‘in’, but Harry is definitely not letting Voldemort ‘in’.  They didn’t address this when they should have in Shell Cottage, Harry finally overcomes his occlumency problem.  A problem in the plots consistency.  Even though I liked that they showed Voldemort killing people out of frustration, I didn’t like how they killed Griphook and show the sword vanish.  To heavy a hint, like the one about Snape earlier, kinda ruins the coming surprise.
  • Return to Hogwarts: Even though they completely threw out the entire Dumbledore trust issues plot from the book, they kept Aberforth’s appearance.  The entire scene in the Hog’s Head is really explaining key plot points that they never really brought up in the first place: Dumbledore’s backstory, the mirror, and witches/wizards giving up hope.  I guess this was their way of trying to fit everything in at the last minute.  I probably could have forgiven them if they never did anything with Dumbledore.  They couldn’t really not explain the mirror.  I dunno, I really saw it as a filler scene for the movie; not terribly important but not bad either.  When they finally get into Hogwarts its a good sight.  The room of requirement is done up right.  I’m not sure if I liked the Harry revealing himself bit in the great hall to Snape, I definitely didn’t like the lame McGonagall vs Snape duel(this is sadly the trend for the rest of the personal duels).  Where was the epic two(McGonagall & Flitwick) on one(Snape) fight?
  • Battle for Hogwarts: This was pretty cool.  Artistic license all the way throughout the battle.  Big shield surrounding Hogwarts gets set up and is taking shots from the death eaters, McGonagall summons the (stone?) suits of armor to defend Hogwarts(I didn’t care too much about her funny line), Neville’s bridge trap, the deatheaters flying around blowing up parts of the castle, very-fast-shots-of-wizards-getting hexed on both sides, etc.  It was all good show, I really enjoyed it.  The Ron/Hermione scene was alright, I still say the original scene Rowling wrote is better.  After a rather weird scene with Harry and the Grey Lady they are off to the room of requirement to find the diadem.  Finding the diadem was kinda lame, when did Harry get horocruxdar?  The Fiendfyre was pretty sweet, not exactly how I imagined it but it worked.  I do NOT like how Voldemort can feel a Horocrux get destroyed, it goes against what they try to reinforce in the very next part(that Voldemort has become subhuman from his horocrux creation).  Voldemort loosing his temper again and killing of Thicknesse was a cool tidbit, seeing his emotional state again.
  • Snape’s Memories: Maybe it was just me, but I thought that the Voldemort voice that everyone could hear sounded nothing like Voldemort.  The Snape death scene was decent.  I always thought it was a bit funny that they were so close to Voldemort during that scene.  Not sure what Snape’s memories were doing leaking out of his eyes, weird.  They added another line for Snape, “You have your mother’s eyes.”  I’m not usually one to like that kind of stuff, but I thought it fit and added more depth to the scene.  Then they had the “look at me” line, but Harry’s eyes STILL AREN’T GREEN.  Back to the castle; RIP Remus, Tonks, and Fred(JK Rowling I will never forgive you for that).  They killed off Lavender for some reason, kinda sad.  The actual memories were pretty good.  And now LILY’S EYES AREN’T GREEN EITHER.  WTF.  Alan Rickman didn’t get a big variety in his acting of Snape over the movies, but his scenes in the memories were brilliant.  I was very impressed with how they did the Dumbledore scenes in the memories, captured it extremely well I thought.  I don’t remember, did they leave in the “Sometimes I think we sort too soon” line?
  • Forest Scene: Was not a fan of Harry telling Ron and Hermione he was off to go die.  First of all, it just isn’t in Harry’s character.  Second, they were too okay with it.  They’ve spent the last 7 years facing certain death with Harry, always trying to find their way through, but here they’re just “Oh okay.  I guess this is it.”  Hermione gives him a little hug and Ron just looks at him.  What was that?  No last mention to Neville about the snake, more on that later.  Resurrection stone was done alright, the snitch opening was pretty cool.  Then here comes Harry right into Voldemort’s camp, where we finally get to see Hagrid, to get blasted by Avada Kedavra.
  • King’s Cross: Let it be known that I loved this part of the book.  Might be my favorite chapter in the entire series.  So I was ready to hate on this scene.  I can’t.  It was near perfect.  Voldemort’s sickly damaged soul, Dumbledore’s answers, Harry’s confusion, it was all great.  They one thing they didn’t explain was the bit about Voldemort using Harry’s blood, too complex for the movie audience I guess.  And that last line stayed the same, “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”  Loved it.
  • Final Battle: They kept Narcissa asking if Draco was still alive, that was good.  Sadly, this is when the movie takes a turn for the worse.  Voldemort and his posse troop back to Hogwarts with ‘dead’ Harry in tow.  For som reason there is an awkward hug between Voldemort and Malfoy, who wrote this?  Three different characters’ paths were ruined following this scene.  First up: Neville Longbottom.  Neville was on his way to becoming the BAMF he was in the book.  But instead of taking a heroic stand against Voldemort ending in a headless Nagini, Neville makes a long winded speech.  By not having Harry tell Neville to kill the snake, Neville has no clear direction of what to do.  There is no clear break in the action for Harry to get away without being noticed, and in this movie Harry just gets up and runs.  No invisibility cloak here either.  Immediately the fight breaks out again and Neville gets blasted backwards into the Great Hall.  Now several minutes have passed, Harry and Voldemort have run off fighting somewhere else, and now Neville gets up, looks around confused, picks up the sword and walks away.  This isn’t badass Neville.  This is the same Neville we saw in movie 4 or before.  He doesn’t know what he’s doing.  For some reason Neville walks AWAY from the fight in the Great Hall, doesn’t use his wand for anything, and happens upon Ron, Hermione, and Nagini.  His reaction was correct, kill the big mean snake that is about to eat my friends, but the setup was all wrong.  Next character: Molly Weasely.  Yes they kept the scene where she kills Bellatrix.  Yes they kept the “Not my daughter you bitch!” line.  Rightfully so, both of those things were important to show.  But again, the setup was all wrong.  Bellatrix looks like a bully pushing Ginny around in front of about four other grown witches/wizards.  There wasn’t any epic duel, just Mrs Weasley stepping in and saying a spell or two to get rid of Bellatrix.  Mrs. Weasley didn’t even show much fury, her famous line was a little more than a whisper.  Disappointment.  And the final character: Harry Potter.  The running/battling up the stairs in Hogwarts was actually pretty cool.  It showed some cool spells/moves from both wizards and it showed how frantic Voldemort had become now that all his horocruxes had been destroyed(post Nagini).  Just had a thought, Harry never really knew that Nagini was killed did he, hmmmmm.  All the way up to the bell tower they fight…and then it gets stupid.  Harry barely mentions his knowledge of the Elder Wand, and then they both fall/fly all the way down to the courtyard.  Here it gets even more stupid.  This is the final confrontation between Harry and Voldemort.  In the book, this is where Harry calls him Tom Riddle and Voldemort can’t stand it, this is where everyone is watching what is happening, this is where Harry doesn’t out duel Voldemort but plays him for the coward that he is.  But in the movie, this is where barely any words are said, no one is watching, and it is confusing as to what actually happens.  And then, Voldemort, the most powerful dark wizard of all time, dissolves into paper and floats away.  What.  The.  Heck.  No suspense, no action, no surprises being revealed.  Just a mellow duel with a lot of confusion.  Two seconds later, everyone is happily having tea in the Great Hall.  There isn’t even a “good job Harry!”  Then Harry walks outside with Ron and Hermione and explains to them what actually happened with the Elder Wand.  How stupid.  It was way better throwing this in Voldemort’s face and seeing the look of panic on his face when he realizes he may have not worked it out correctly on his own.  Then, without repairing his old wand mind you, Harry snaps the Elder Wand in two and throws it away.  What is he going to do, use Draco’s wand for the rest of his life?  Such a sad way to ruin to the climax from what you had going…
  • Epilogue: The epilogue was good.  All the older-looking kids looked funny, but that’s what you get when you try to make young twenty-year olds look much older I guess.  Funny names aside, what Harry says to Albus before he leaves for Hogwarts is always heart warming.  No mention of Neville being a Hogwarts professor, another way they shaft him out of what he should be…

Yes I was being extremely critical, it is what I do.  Overall, I thought the movie was great.  Both part 1 and part 2 of The Deathly Hallows were some of the best film adaptions of a book I have seen.  They are easily the best of the Potter films.  I look at this last midnight release as the end of my childhood.  Here I am graduated from college, holding a fulltime salary job, and looking to buy a house in the coming months to live in.  No more new Potter books or movies are coming, but I will always have these 7 books to dive back into when I feel the itch.

Thank you JK Rowling for writing such awesome books about faith, love, friendship, sacrifice, unity and fighting for what’s good and true at all times.  They truly were magical.