Friday, November 19, 2010

Life After Harry Potter?

My tattered, torn, stained, pages falling out copy of the Sorcerer's Stone. (It's actually my brother's but he has them all in hardback

When I was 15 (1999), my mom worked for PBS. She worked in the early childhood education department but was always hearing about new books or activities for older children. My brother was 13 and not much of a reader. Actually...he kind of hated reading. Like most parents, my mom wanted my brother to see that reading could be fun and could be wasn't boring. She heard about the Harry Potter series from a friend and while browsing a Scholastic book fair one day, she picked up a paperback copy of the first book and brought it home.

I took one look at the cover and rejected it. (Yes yes...I know the lesson here.) But it didn't seem interesting to me. I was an avid and advanced reader and Harry Potter didn't seem to be "my style" so I left it for my brother to read.

He ate it up. If I remember correctly he read the entire thing in less than a week. This was ground breaking, earth might flippantly say a miracle. And then...he read it again.

Magic. But that's what Harry Potter was about, right? Magic. I was intrigued. I had an upcoming trip with my dad and I knew I'd need some reading material for part of the car ride so I asked my brother if I could borrow his book. He agreed and warned me not to lose it.

That weekend I was introduced to the world of Harry Potter. To magic, to Hogwarts, Hermoine and Ron, Peeves, Fred, George, Dumbledore.....Snape, even Draco Malfoy. I was introduced to spells, Quidditch, broomsticks and the Leaky Cauldron. It was a world I fell in love with...and couldn't wait to read more.

That was in September or 1999. At this point in time, the first three books had been released in the US. There was no press, no big parties for book releases....Harry Potter was still a quietly growing phenomenon. For Christmas, at the top of both of our Christmas lists, my brother and I asked for book 2 and 3 of the Harry Potter series.

I think my parents spent Christmas day wishing they had bought us each a copy. My mom had to give us time with the book. I could read faster than my brother so I was able to move onto book 3 and have it all to myself. But my brother wasn't far behind me.

We read and re-read and re-read the first three books. The following summer we moved to Oregon. We did not know anyone and so we continued to read and we were both ecstatic to find out that book four was being released that fall.

The local book store had a "small" party. I think maybe about 50-75 people showed up. I read book 4 in nine hours then handed it to my brother in tears, still in shock over the return of Lord Voldemort and Cedric's death.

Life goes on....I went off to college and carried all four Harry Potter books with me. (My brother actually let me.)During my first semester the 1st Harry Potter movie came out. I went to see it with some friends and ended up meeting one of my dearest and best friends ever due to that outing.

The movies were good, but they weren't the books. I was (and still am) disappointed that Peeves was left out of the movies. There were other things that I didn't like but overall I enjoyed them

For each book and movie that came out, there was a release party and I attended. I would wait in line with other "Potter heads" and almost pass out from anticipation. I would buy a book at midnight and be up all night reading it. Sigh...the things I could do prior to motherhood! ;)

Now the 1st part of the last bit of Harry Potter mania has been released. Hopefully my husband and I will be going to see it sometime next week. I am excited...but there is a little bit of sadness too.

I did not read book 7 as fast as I read the other books. I think subconsciously I did not want it to end. Harry Potter and his friends, adventures, Hogwarts, etc...had been a part of my life for 8 years at that point and the idea of it ending was hard to comprehend.

Now it has been eleven years and it will be almost 12 years (from when I first read the first book) when part 2 is released. I know there is life after Harry Potter....I know it's just a book and make believe characters, but I also know I'll miss it.

Harry Potter introduced the world of reading to my brother. I met one of my best friends due to the first movie. As dorky and bizarre as it sounds, Harry Potter will always be a part of my life. It's been fun, silly and shouting spells at random moments with friends will always be something that makes me laugh. (Like the other day when I thought a Halloween decoration was a dementor and almost yelled Expecto Patronum at it?? Yeah...that.)

My life after Harry Potter will be sharing his stories, adventures, the books and movies with my children. I'm sure when my great-grandchildren are around they'll be re-making the movies anyway and re-releasing the books with updated cover art. ;) My husband is just now starting to read the books so I think we might read them together.

Fellow Potterheads --- there IS life after Harry Potter. I promise.

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