Sunday, July 24, 2011

Maybe the Devil really does wear Prada

Voldemort's fashionable followers
Last weekend when I went to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Bill was worried that it would be too scary, so he refused to go. It took him an entire week to work up the nerve to go, and even up to the last minute, while we were watching the previews, he was worried about what gruesome images might be waiting to assault his tender eyes.

I was thrilled to be able to see it again because, as you know, I loved it. On the first viewing, I watched for plot and meaning. During the second viewing, I could not shake this thought: The bad guys sure are a lot better dressed than the good guys. 

Even though Voldemort himself is always in some kind of weird kimono type of robe, his followers are always decked out in sleek black designer ensembles. The coat that Narcissa Malfoy wears in the final scenes is gorgeous - a fitted, embroidered Victorian-inspired topcoat. Her son Draco wears a slim designer suit, and while the Bellatrix Lestrange is a evil witch (literally) with hideously decaying teeth, her wardrobe is pure gothic splendor. Snape sweeps around in his black cape with his long back hair, looking like he owns the night. Maybe it's all the black, maybe it's the "steam-punk" look they have going on... I just like it.

The brown, tweedy, ordinary Weasleys
On the other hand, we have the good guys. The kids mostly wear their uniforms and school robes; Harry, Ron and Hermione usually wear jeans and sweaters, Neville is fond of cardigans, and the Weasleys wear brown. Not that there's anything wrong with any of this... it's just plain.... and frumpy... and downright unremarkable.

I guess it could be a matter of money? But if this were so, why does the "Snatcher" look good? I mean, sure he needs a shower, but his clothing is like something Marc Jacobs would put on the runway.

The Snatcher
What does it all mean? Maybe it's just that the costumer put the bad guys in black because that's an easy way to show who's bad. Or maybe it's just that their style resonates with my history as a proto-goth and natural preference for black clothing. Or maybe these particular bad guys care more about how they look? Have more to prove?

Maybe it's to show that the world is saved by extraordinary actions by ordinary looking folks. Here's what Isaiah 53 said about Jesus himself: He had no beauty of majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

What does it say about me that I kept looking at and judging their clothes? I hope it's just that I'm a graphic designer whose mother subscribed to Vogue, and not a superficial mall rat. Although, I will confess that when I started attending my current church 20 years ago, this thought ran through my mind more than once: "These people do NOT know how to dress." I hope the fact that I don't notice what people wear to church anymore shows that I've grown maybe a little bit...?

Fortunately, I had no trouble distinguishing between good and evil in the movie - I wasn't discounting the bad guys just because they were dressed like grandparents. I wasn't tempted to pull for Voldemort's buddies just because they looked like a million bucks. 

Sadly, it's not always that obvious which side to pull for... Real life is much more subtle. I guess if you have trouble figuring it out, it's always good to remember what it says in 1Samuel 16: The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. 

No comments:

Post a Comment