Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1399310276186-0'); });

Is the Nod to "Twilight" in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" Coincidence, Intentional or Both?

by Christopher Campbell
November 17, 2010 8:14 AM
22 Comments
  • |

This shouldn't spoil anything for you if you haven't yet seen part 1 of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," as it concerns a totally inconsequential line in a relatively uneventful (though overall crucial) moment in the film. In fact, the lack of importance is such that its inclusion in the film is part of why I'm writing about it. A little past the midway point Hermione (Emma Watson) reads to Harry and Ron (Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint) a fable called "The Tale of the Three Brothers" -- which is adapted in the film as a great little animated sequence, one of the highlights of this installment. Before the animation begins, Hermione recites the beginning line of the story: "There were once three brothers who were traveling along a lonely, winding road at twilight..." Ron interrupts to say his mother would say "midnight" when reading to him as a kid. Hermione gets annoyed, prompting Ron to give in and say:

"Twilight is fine, better actually."

Due to the way it's said and depicted, the line rings out as if it has some significance, though contextually its prominence is totally unnecessary. Or, maybe it just rang out to me because I unfortunately can't hear or think of the simple word "twilight" without thinking of "Twilight," the vampire franchise that is considerably the closest thing to a "Harry Potter"-like phenomenon there is right now. I'm not the only person for whom this is the case, however, and I've already seen mention of the line in reviews and forums, usually to wonder if the makers of "Deathly Hallows" intended for it to be a little jab and wink at that other -- some might say competing -- franchise.

The line is in J.K. Rowling's book, too, and that was published back in 2007, after Stephanie Meyers' "Twilight" books became a hit, though still prior to it's peak success and popularity. Regardless, there's no way Rowling meant the word choice as reference to the other series. I'm sure "twilight" is mentioned many times throughout the "Harry Potter" books (and the real-world version of "The Tales of Beedle the Bard," in which the "Three Brothers" tale is reprinted), if only because it seems the lead trio always was getting up to something or other at that time of night. I can see at least one other employment of the word in the "Deathly Hallows" novel, used innocently for descriptive purposes concerning a scene's setting. Therefore, in its origins, the dialogue and its ironic tribute to "Twilight" as a "better" property are entirely a coincidence.

But let's get back to how unnecessary the line is. Never mind that it provides tension between Ron and Hermione. There's plenty of that going on anyway without the need for this specific exchange. The film could have excluded it and just gone right into the animated sequence as Hermione began reading the story. However, I think everyone from adapting screenwriter Steve Kloves to director Peter Yates to the cast and crew had to have identified some humor in not only keeping but seemingly emphasizing it's utterance. I bet it's a knowing wink at the audience, though subtle enough to not come off too distractingly.

That said, I now have to wonder if another potentially allusive line was intended as such, especially given that I can't seem to find it in the book. Unfortunately I can't recall which female characters says it (Luna?), but late in the movie someone does say, "Harry, you're my only hope." Or, maybe I fell asleep and dreamed Princess Leia was there.

Follow Spout on Twitter (@Spout) and be a fan on Facebook
Follow Christopher Campbell on Twitter (@thefilmcynic)

get email updates
  • |

More: Sequels

22 Comments

  • highIQ | March 30, 2014 9:26 PMReply

    It would be stupid to be SURE this is not a nod to twilight. Edward was already in goblet of fire, and the time frame is right, as the twilight films were taking off, and the harry potter films were coming to a close. Film-makers often do this stuff as well, don't be daft.

  • A. Nonie Mous | August 10, 2013 4:13 PMReply

    I took it as a tiny cultural difference between Ron and Hermione. Hermione reads the fairy tale word-for-word, but Ron's mother probably has retold the story hundreds of times to her children, and Ron can't help but remember these changes and interrupt with his own version of the tale.

    As a commenter previously said, Stephenie Meyer did not invent the word twilight. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, people.

  • lac | June 13, 2013 10:58 PMReply

    it is because Twilight is when it is changing from light to dark, it's dusk and as the story tells "There were once three brothers who were traveling along a lonely, winding road at Twilight"...
    "The Tales of Beedle the Bard" was published in December 2007 and Twilight the movie did not come out in theaters until November 21st 2008, nearly a year later, though the book came out in October 5th 2005, it does not have anything to do with it

  • Ashish | February 24, 2013 9:11 AMReply

    I just finished watching this part of the movie and I came to the internets hoping there will be discussions about whether it is a nod to the "Twilight" movies or not. But, most people are saying that it is not and the line is actually in the book which was published prior to twilight being a hit. However, I'd like to believe that the movie makers actually used the word in the book to give a nod to the other similar comparable series "Twilight". Going to watch the last part now..

  • Bjørnar Munkerud | September 18, 2011 9:14 AMReply

    It was Xenophilius, and not Luna, Lovegood that said "You're my only hope.". It happened not too long after Hermione read the Tale of the Three Brothers, and it does have something to do with Luna, not only because he's her father, because (he thinks) Harry( or the entire trio)'s his only hope of getting Luna back from imprisonment by Voldemort (in Malfoy Manor, in which, ironically Harry/ the trio do save Luna, albeit without anyone taking her place as a prisoner there).

  • DRM | August 20, 2011 4:17 AMReply

    My personal response to this:
    http://www.reddit.com/r/harrypotter/comments/jokke/my_mental_process_as_to_why_ron_corrects_hermoine/

  • Kiona J. | April 5, 2011 8:43 AMReply

    Hermione is pissed at Ron.
    Ron finds random ways to grovel for her forgiveness.
    Hermione reads from the book.
    Ron instinctively corrects her use of the word twilight because his mother always said midnight.
    Everyone wonders why the hell he interrupted Hermione with that bit of triviality.
    Ron stumbles through yet another attempt to get back on Hermione's good by telling her that her use of the word twilight is better. He all but tells her she's a rainbow pooping genius for using it.
    Hermione continues reading story.

    The End.

    Will the words 'twilight', 'eclipse', 'shite writing' and 'atrocious acting' ever be safe again? ;-;

  • Eibhlinn | December 13, 2010 5:27 AMReply

    Actually the book doesn't have that line. In the book, Ron doesn't give in to Hermione's "twilight" version over his mum's "midnight" version. In the book the exact line is "I just think it's spookier if it's midnight". Therefore the line was changed for the film and the way I see it there is just no way the people who made the movies did not realise what they were saying when they slipped in that "Twilight's fine. Better actually" line. And if they didn't at first when the screenplay writer put the words down, surely someone must have laughed when they were filming it. The actors? The director? The editor? The cameraman? The guy who was preparing coffee? Somebody must have noticed it ! And they made the decision to keep it at the very least if it wasn't planned all along.

    I think it's quite nice to think that the Harry Potter people are capable of that kind of humour and don't take themselves too seriously. I'm still desperately looking for proof that this wasn't coincidence.

  • iskaminien | November 29, 2010 7:00 AMReply

    The whole forest chase after the Lovegood tower scene was completely Twilight-like. God that was awful, bordering vomit-inducing.

  • S. | November 22, 2010 7:07 AMReply

    Stephenie Meyer didn't invent the word "twilight", in case you didn't know. In the book, Hermione starts reading. She says "twilight" and Ron says something along the lines as "Midnight my mum always told me." Hermione replies with, "It say twilight here." "I just think midnight's spookier!" And then Harry says "Yes, because we all need all little more fear in our lives." Hermione continues reading with twilight. It just keeps Ron and Hermione in tension.

    And like a Harry Potter movie would say that Twilight is better than it.

  • Brandylovestomatoes | November 21, 2010 4:02 AMReply

    Yes, as soon as she said 'Twilight' I groaned and said to my friend, 'They just had to use Twilight instead of another word, huh?' and then Ron said 'Twilight's fine, better actually' and I laughed out loud along with many other people in the theatre who were clever enough to catch it. I think it is a definite wink at Twilight, very subtle and even more hilarious because you have to be paying attention to catch it. Bravo to the directors who were classy enough to acknowledge the 'competing' franchise who of course don't come close to Harry Potter.

  • Paula | November 21, 2010 3:41 AMReply

    I'm from Brazil and I watched HP yesterday, when Ron said that the word twilight was better, only a few people got it because the subtitles had a synonym for the word (something like nightfall), I guess the translators didn't want the audience to make the connection or they were simply unaware of its meaning and overlooked the HP vs Twilight.
    But those in the audience that actually understands English and have watched Twilight, started laughing!!!
    I thought it was brilliant!!!!

  • Melanie | November 21, 2010 3:22 AMReply

    When I saw the movie at the midnight premiere, the entire theatre cracked up at the "Twilight" line and then let out a short groan or boo. Whether or not it was intentional, it was absolutely brilliant and hilarious. Everyone was talking about that line after the movie, and how perfect it was.

  • Ansley | November 21, 2010 2:58 AMReply

    I noticed it,but didn't pay much attention to it,I was more concerned with the three names mentioned while Ron was walking during the missing people broadcast. Don't worry Janice, i fell out of my chair laughing as well : D

  • kreacher | November 20, 2010 9:46 AMReply

    Maybe "both".. I noticed that too! It's funny. Whether it's intentional or not, it's a laugh.. A nice way to break the tension since the movie is so dark.. Anyway, only few people would have noticed it and would interpret it that way.. I mentioned that to my friends after we watched the movie and i don't think they interpreted it the same way i did.

    It's not stupid, any HP fan who have heard about the HP v.s twilight rumors would just find it funny.. nothing serious really, no need to overreact.. in fact ron even said "twilight's fine, better actually".. (^_^)

  • kat | November 20, 2010 6:24 AMReply

    No offense, but that's the stupidest thing I've ever heard. The word "twilight" can be used without having to be a reference to a sappy vampire book, end of story.

  • Jessica | November 20, 2010 4:50 AMReply

    Harry Potter is literature and not even in any sort of competition with "Twilight" other than the fact that large groups of people like them. Twilight is trashy romance written for teenage girls with unhealthy perceptions of love.

    They included this part in the movie because Ron and Hermione were fighting. Ron corrected her with "midnight," then realized what he did and went over the top in his continuing effort to make her happy with him.

    The thought that J.K. Rowling would include a nod to garbage is ridiculous.

  • Janice | November 19, 2010 9:34 AMReply

    There is another Twilight reference in the movie... if you listen close to the list of missing witches & wizards, they mention Bella, Jake & Charlie in a row. I nearly fell out of my chair because I was laughing!

  • Gabriel | November 19, 2010 6:33 AMReply

    The line is exactly as written in the post, but it was said by Lovegood (the father, not Luna). He was his last hope of getting Luna back.

  • Bobby | November 19, 2010 5:41 AMReply

    The joke is that Twilight fans (Hermione) are crazy and it's best not to argue with them because they may hurt you. ;)

  • Christopher Campbell | November 18, 2010 4:48 AMReply

    No, this is another line I'm talking about.

  • David | November 18, 2010 1:59 AMReply

    You we're sleep. And the line was "Harry it's the best hope we have" a line that Dumbledore said to Lupin and Kinglsey.

Most "Liked"