Thursday, July 14, 2011

It All Ends

Unless you've been living under a boulder or something you are probably aware that the second part of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows hits theaters tomorrow at midnight. If you're like me you're crazy excited and more than a little sad. If you're not like me than you'll probably want to stop reading now. Since I've reread the whole series twice within the last 12 months and have been watching the movies every night this week I got to thinking - this is the perfect marker to the end of my childhood. Since '97 I've been obsessively reading Harry Potter. Deathly Hallows came out the summer I graduated high school and it is really fitting that the last movie comes out all of two months after I graduated college. I wanted to share with you some of my favorite Harry Potter memories plot based and otherwise. I mean, how often is a book going to come around that's going to change the way a generation views the world?

I'm ten and sitting in my 5th grade class. I don't remember my teachers name. Maybe it's really 4th grade. This isn't the important part of the story. We don't have "reading time". These are Michigan Public Schools and they are far to busy slashing the budget, even then, for such frivolities but my unnamed teacher still sits down my class and starts reading Sorcerer's Stone. We're all vaguely aware that this is probably something cool but no one really knows what's happening. She only gets a couple of chapters in before the class descends into anarchy.  Actually now that I think about it I was probably  eight. 

I'm really ten this time and actually starting to enjoy this reading thing. Weird, right? I stay up all night reading these books I got for Christmas last year. I wasn't interested in them at the time but I'm bored and want something to read. I stay up all night finishing Sorcerer's Stone and then have to pretend I'm sleeping when my mom comes to wake me up for school.  The rest of the week goes by similarly, me reading the only three books that are out and being way to excited about them. 

I'm about to start high school and it's one of those weird transition  summers where nothing really seems right. Order of the Phoenix comes out. My mom goes to pick up my pre-ordered copy and wins a free one, too. I spend many a little league game reading "those books" and avoiding the parents that think that because Rowling's writing about magic we're all going to Hell. Sirius dies while I'm one of those uncomfortable folding chairs that parents bring to games. It's an ice cream day for my brothers team but and I start rereading Order in the shop. I mean I couldn't have read that right, right? Only minor characters like Cedric Diggory die. Sirius was to cool for that.

High school is surprisingly less sucky than all previous schools. It's the first time I'm actually friends with fellow readers, and more importantly fellow Harry Potter fans. My best friend and I stay up crazy late theorizing about who the Half Blood Prince could be, and then a year later making list after list of what the remaining Horcruex's could be, at least when we weren't talking about Snape's questionable goodness.  I don't remember if we were ever right with any of our predictions.

It's 2007 and I get up at six o'clock to get a wrist band. not just any wrist band. The wrist band that will hopefully get me Deathly Hallows before two in the morning. There are still 50 people ahead of me in line but I manage to squeeze into the "A's" and I impatiently wait the rest of the day to go to the release party. My whole group of friends sits around Barnes and Noble with fake wands looking at costumes and being generally excited. There is some weird scavenger hunt, but I've never been any good at those.  I get my book and am home before 2. I read until 5 when the excitement of the day and the fact that I got up at the crack of dawn to get a silly wrist band knocks me out. I get up again at 9 and read until I finish. I don't care if I'm the girl who loves spoilers, this time I'm avoiding them at all costs and the only way to do that is to finish Deathly Hallows before anyone else I know. It's a frenzied read, I've discovered that each of my rereads has been more enjoyable without the pressure of finishing a beloved series hanging at the end of each page. I cried through the entire battle, I hadn't bothered to take off my make up so by the time I'm mourning a Weasly it stings to keep both eyes open.  

I go to college, I make new friends, the one thing all of us completely agree on is how much we love Harry Potter. We have other things in common but this is a connecting thread. Which leads to tonight, another four years later with another one of my best friends re-watching Deathly Hallows Part 1 and the speeches the cast and Rowling gave at the London premiere. I'm way to excited to watch something that isn't Harry Potter related and I should probably paint my nails Russian Navy, after all, I'm a Ravenclaw at heart.  Mostly though I just want to send out a thank you to JK Rowling. My life would be so different if I hadn't discovered what a joy it could be to completely disappear inside a story. I think it was on her Oprah interview that she said the best compliment she ever received was the time a fan came up to her and said "you are my child hood." Well, ditto.  

I hope at least a few of you will be crying with me tomorrow night.



Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

I saved your post until I saw the movie. I was in NYC with friends over the weekend and (though it was hard) I waited to see the movie until I got home. I did cry though.

Tintedgrey said...

Randomly stumbled upon your blog through a google image search. So glad I did. While our stories differ slightly they are the same in so many places (DH right before sophomore year and the movie a year after college) and they are identical in the places that really matter, the heart. I feel connected to you though I've only read your words and I love you for them. Our childhood are one and the same. I how DH2 was to your liking, sigh came believe it's all done. It's been magical to say the least.