Jul 15, 2011

I always wanted to go to Hogwarts

Last night, I dressed up as a Hogwarts student and attended my last Harry Potter midnight showing.

It was pretty bittersweet. 

I'm one of those kids/young adults who practically grew up with the Harry Potter series.  It sat on the bookshelf for a year after I got it as a gift.  I can recall wanting to interact with my father, asking him to read aloud from the book he was reading, and was memorized by my introduction to Hagrid.  I can also remember reading that same scene out loud in the car while my mom drove me and my middle school crush back from the museum.

I've forgone eating and sleeping on book release days, doing nothing but reading when the new book came and it was my turn with it.  We ordered one family copy, and my sister and I switched who would get it first.  That is, until I was old enough to make money babysitting and doing yard work so I could buy my own copy for the releases where my sister (or mom) called first read dibs. 

I've also forgone sleep to stand in line at the theater or in Borders to witness the next installment of the series. They work differently, midnight movie and book releases.  At theaters, it's all standing in line and being glad you brought an Uno deck. At bookstores, there's trivia prizes, brithday cake for Harry, costume contests, and people you wouldn't think to meet.  I remember for the 5th book Borders had a Yule Ball theme and my girlfriends and I showed up in fancy dresses.  We ran into our chem teacher, complete with a black cape and metal claw tips.

I prepared for such releases: putting together costumes, rereading the stories.  I fell in love with Jim Dale, who narrates the books.  In early high school, there was a time I would wake up at 6 am and be all ready for the day at 6:10, only to park myself in front of the boom box for an hour before school and listen to his readings.  He got all the voices spot on, and when the movies came out I was so surprised at the similarities between his renditions and all the actors.

But I've only been such a huge fan and willing to go to these events because I fell in love with the books so much.  I've reread the series numerous times, and I remember being so thrilled when staying in a hostel in New Zealand one of the girls in the room before me left her copy of the 6th book.  I skipped out on a night on the town to read it while munching on nutella and crackers.

I've never wanted to go to a school more than Hogwarts and since entering Rowling's world I've been looking for elements of it in the real life (though I do that with a lot of books I really, really enjoy). I want adventure, chocolate frogs, strong friendships that last my entire life, and ideally to do a better job at naming my kids than Harry does.

There's a lot of talk about how now that the second part of the 7th movie is out, it's the end of an era.  And it totally is.  So many people grew up with this series, lived in it.  I have a friend who can tell you what page a quote is on, she's read the books so much. And with all the fan work that can be found online, it's impossible to say people haven't been touched. 

People cried during the movie Wednesday night. Not cuz it was sappy or dramatic (though at times it was) but because now that Harry Potter is over there's a void in the lives of my peers an I.  Harry Potter has grown up and disappeared from our active lives - now there only in memories.  Having grown with him, along side him, it's safe to say my childhood is over too (though I'm 22 and don't feel a day over 17).  That's a sad, scary thought and something I don't want to think about.  Who wants to grow up and leave all this magic behind?

(Sidenote: Harry Potter words are in alot of spell check dictionary.  It's become that integrated into the world.)

So I'm looking for a replacement series.  Something long, good, and just starting so I can once again immerse myself in a world and guess at the next installment (I used to debate Harry Potter theories online.  There was this one where each task in the first book reflected a whole book in the series, then another about Harry being the actual heir of Gryffindor, and I remember a discussion about the genetics of muggle borns and squibs...you guys are looking at me funny aren't you? Like I said this series has been a huge part of my life.).  If you have any suggestion of such a replacement series, I'll welcome it. I find writing cathartic, and I may find myself slipping a bit into derivative works because I love the Harry Potter world and characters so much that I don't want to leave. 

But I know I should.  Or at least shorten my visits.  It's my past now and I need something new. But as J.K. Rowling said, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.

I plan on returning a lot. 

And now, for a bit of fun, Harry Potter Puppet Pals.  I went all girly and watery eyed writing/editing this and need something to make me smile. 


2 comments:

  1. I'm obviously older than you. I share my collection with my son - he was bought the first 3 books when he was about 4, I added to the collection. We've never read them to him, and he's shown no intest in them.

    Me, however?? On release day, my pre-ordered copy would come through the post, I'd sit in my favourite chair and read. (I managed to read every book in one day, although the result is akin to jet-lag!) I've only watched the first film - they didn't interest me quite so much. But I do want to see DH 1+2, just for those incredible effects, and - for the romantic in me - the epilogue.

    I agree it does feel like the end of an era... although I'm fascinated how JK Rowling is making a living out of just one character... Pottermore???

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  2. JK's success certainly is a dream come true, isn't? I would love to have such a popular character, but that's getting ahead of myself. I have to be published first.

    Yes, Pottermore. I'm curious about it, that's for sure.

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