Monday, July 18, 2011

The End of an Era: Harry Potter

I have a confession to make. I love Harry Potter. And when I say it’s true love, I mean it.

It wasn’t always this way, you know. My sister started reading the series when Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone came out in the U.S. in 1997. My family and I were thrilled because it was the first time she had experienced the intense joy of a good book on her own, holed up in her bedroom until she had finished it cover to cover. When she eventually emerged and exclaimed, “You HAVE to read this!” 

I scoffed at her.

It was a book about wizards and I was thirteen. What can I say?

As the years went on, and the series continued to gain a feverish notoriety I’ve never witnessed before, I continued to avoid it, but cannot deny I was intrigued. How good could these books possibly be that adults and children alike were such diehard fans? Sidenote: in the wisdom of my twenties (hardy har har), I've come to realize if I pick up a book and read the back description more than five times, not only will I eventually read it: I'll devour it page by page. Such was the case with HP.

I threw in the towel in 2005. My grandma had died at the end of my winter semester and I was looking for any excuse not to study in spring. Sadness can do that to you sometimes, especially when it’s sadness over grandmas. Thus, it was the week before finals that I decided to give the first book a go. Then the second… then the third. I completed the first five books in just under eight days and still managed to finish out the year with a 3.4 GPA (no thanks to the grades I achieved on my finals). Go figure.

And for the record, I apologized to my sister for doubting her for nearly a decade.

In a way, I’m glad I waited up until book five because I soon realized the agony of having to wait for the next book to come out. It was torture.

Fast forward to 2007 when the conclusion, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, was released. I spent the month leading up to it knitting a maroon and mustard Gryffindor-inspired scarf and went to the midnight release party at a Borders with my now sister-in-law, Lindsay, and our friend Kelly. We wanted to celebrate the life and times of the boy who lived in style, naturally.

Pretty sweet shirts, I know.

I savored the last of the series that weekend. Only fans understand the bittersweet excitement that accompanied finishing it all together; there would be no new adventures: this was it.

However, the movies weren’t done and fans took solace in that fact. There were still four more to go, as they had decided to split the last book into two separate films. And I’ve relished watching them, excitement building at the opportunity to see if the way I envisioned the novels, the stories, the characters, the settings, was the same on the big screen.

That all came to an end this weekend… it was time to say goodbye for good. 

And what a sweet ending it was.

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