David Yates On Splitting Up ‘Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows’

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” the final entry in superstar novelist J.K. Rowling’s magical septology, is a long book. Like, really long. There’s a treasure hunt, a road trip, a great big battle… crap happens, the major players deal with it, and then more crap happens. That’s about as spoiler-free synopsis as I can offer.

There’s a point here: in order to properly adapt the lengthy final volume into a movie, the Potters-that-be (get it?) have decided to split it into two. “Half-Blood Prince” and soon-to-be “Deathly Hallows” director David Yates had a little chat with the Los Angeles Times recently about his plans for splitting up the narrative. If you haven’t read the book and want no spoilers, you can stop here knowing the following: the first movie will break at roughly the middle of the book.

Still with me? Yates didn’t volunteer the specific point that the first part of “Deathly Hallows” will break. He was even definite on the specific point, though that could just be the usual Hollywood smoke & mirrors at work.

“Things can change when you edit, of course, but the idea now is that it will be not long after the sequence that we are filming here today,” Yates said. The scene in question is close to the middle of the book, when Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) are captured by Snatchers in the woods. Based on that, there are a few possible moments when the story could break.

“We’ve had three or four different ideas about where to cut off the seventh film,” Yates said. “Traditionally, the movies have ended with a death or a bereavement, some sort of passage or arrival. This time we think we will end with more a cliffhanger.”

Yates has plenty more to say in the interview, about the decision to split the book into two movies and about the good fortune the franchise has had with its three young stars. Definitely worth a read. The real question now is what do YOU think? Where should the book be split for the two movies?