Tonight, when “Hedwig’s Theme” begins dancing across the speakers at hundreds of midnight showings of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, it’ll mark the conclusion of a decade-long string of films. There will be tears and mourning, and — if past opening nights are any indication — robe-clad fans belting wizard rock songs in the aisles. Harry Potter‘s musical ties may begin with the iconic theme song, but thanks to the film’s musically-inclined cast, astute music supervisors and obsessive fans, the film’s musical connections will continue, long after the credits roll. Here are some of Harry Potter‘s most interesting musical connections.
1. Draco Malfoy becomes the UK’s latest grime sensation
Earlier this week, Tom Felton, the actor who plays Draco Malfoy in all eight films, told UK’s The Sun he was mapping his rap career after the series wrapped. “I was thinking of doing some N-Dubz-style stuff,” he said. “I am looking to get into the grime rap UK scene.” This was, fortunately, a joke that the paper took seriously. Later, he told the Hollywood Reporter: “I can only think that it was an attempt at dry wit that went completely over their head. I don’t know.” But Felton actually is a musician, though his style is more twee-ish pop than hardcore grime. The actor started a modest label to release his music. [Listen to one of Tom Felton's songs on YouTube]
2. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ “O Children” soundtracks a slow dance
Their best friend Ron has abandoned them. They have no allies, no instructions and no idea where to go next. That’s why Nick Cave’s “O Children” was the perfect song for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1’s slow dance scene between Harry Potter and Hermione Granger. Its mournful, yet uplifting chorus, “O children / Lift up your voice / Children / Rejoice, rejoice” perfectly captured the burden placed on the film’s lead characters, echoed the final book’s epigraphs, and framed one of film’s sweetest and strongest platonic friendships. [Watch the scene on YouTube]
The Weird Sisters are, along with the Hobgoblins and Spellbound, some of the few rock groups that exist inside the world of Harry Potter. They first appear onscreen when headmaster Albus Dumbledore books the eight-piece as the entertainment at the Yule Ball in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. When it came to filming the movie, director Mike Newell picked musicians as popular in the muggle world as the Sisters were in the wizard sphere. Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker plays the Weird Sisters’ lead singer and wrote the band’s songs, and Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood and Phil Selway round out the lineup. [Watch the Weird Sisters’ “Do the Hippogriff” video on YouTube]
4. Harry Potter cast take music off-screen
The novels mention that Hermione Granger is a big Weird Sisters fan. But in real life, actress Emma Watson’s tastes skew a bit younger; she was spotted walking around Glastonbury last year with boyfriend and One Night Only lead singer George Craig. Cast member Rupert Grint, who portrays Ron Weasley, was caught stalking the streets of early morning London with a group of fake-fur wearing, glitter-clad club kid ravers last year. But Potter star Daniel Radcliffe is the trio’s only musician. He received a bass and some playing tips from co-star Gary Oldman, who plays notorious mass murderer Sirius Black in films two, three and four. Oldman knows something about connecting music and movies himself — he played Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious in Sid & Nancy two decades earlier.
5. Harry Potter fandom spawns new genre
It started with Harry and the Potters, a band consisting of two brothers/Harry Potter fans, who started the group in their backyard when another band didn’t turn up for their show. Draco and the Malfoys, Ministry of Magic and Voldemort, a wizard black metal band, soon followed. It may be one of the few musical genres united by theme rather than sound, which means an experimental Harry Potter-themed witch house project is surely in the works. [Watch the trailer for We Are Wizards, a documentary on wizard rock and Harry Potter fandom, on YouTube]