Thursday, July 21, 2011

Growing Up with Harry Potter Or This Post Has Some Questionable Segues


Even though I don’t talk about much here, I’ve been toying a little bit with writing fiction lately. I’m just having fun with at this point, moreso than sitting down and saying, “I need to write a novel to feel successful or complete.” At any rate, it occurred to me the other day that a lot of my ideas for stories use transition as a major theme. Given recent movie releases and the fact that I feel as though my childhood is about to end, it wasn’t long before I got to thinking about Harry Potter.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part Two hit theaters on July 15th. In August I’ll be moving from Minnesota to Pennsylvania to attend graduate school. These things happening in the same summer make me feel as though I’m taking a final and irreversible step into adulthood.

I’ve done tons of blog posts and why I love Harry Potter and there are only more coming. One of the reasons these books are so special to me is because they were released as I was growing up. I went to midnight release parties for the 4th and 5th books, and got the seventh book the day it came out. When I step back and look at my life in retrospect, this series has been with me through a lot of major changes.

The summer before I started middle school, my family moved from Iowa to Ohio. I was pretty happy about this since I had lived in Iowa for two years, but never really dropped the “new kid” label. I didn’t know how to deal with feeling like an outsider except pushing people away (it was my angsty phase, in case you can’t tell), so middle school a chance for me to start over and be nice to my classmates. Just to see where it got me. One day in math class the girl next to me commented on how much she liked the book I had with me. No, it wasn’t Harry Potter. It was Lioness Rampant by Tamora Pierce. I dragged this friend to a book club that an eighth grader I knew had told me about. A few short weeks later, this was the friend who convinced me to try Harry Potter, at which point I convinced my parents to buy me the first three books in hardcover. Needless to say, I fell in love with the series right away. By the time Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out, I had my first serious summer internship and was a rising college sophomore.

I went to a midnight showing of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 2. I wasn’t originally planning on it because I had to be at the airport early the next day, but I was invited to join a friend’s group. After much deliberation, I decided to go because it was my last ever chance to see the premiere of a Harry Potter movie in midnight. The atmosphere in the theater was freaking amazing. Everyone was buzzing with excitement and tons of people were in costume, including someone dressed as Harry’s patronus. I didn’t know the people I was with particularly well, so I made conversation and when midnight finally came, sat back to enjoy the movie. When the movie finally ended there was a considerable amount of hugging and plenty of talking about it on the car ride home. It never ceases to amaze me how J.K. Rowling’s stories have brought my generation together.

Even though I meant to finish re-reading the whole series before the movie, I’m only just about to start my re-read of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I have to say, re-reading the books while preparing for a massive change has been incredibly relaxing and comforting. I doubt I’m the only person out there who is experiencing some other huge change alongside the ending of Harry Potter.

I wish I could thank J.K. Rowling in person. I fell in love with her books and her world. I understood what her characters went through as they experienced puberty. It’s been something I can share with my peers, something that brings us together. Jo, thank you for being a huge part of my childhood. Thank you for everything.

7 comments:

  1. Aww great post! I also grew up reading Harry Potter and would wait go to the midnight release parties! Just thinking about those times gives me goosebumps. I just made a post earlier today on Harry Potter and there's a video there that may cheer you up. :)

    P.S. I wish I could thank J.K. Rowling too. She's amazing!

    Here's the link: http://booksoulmates.blogspot.com/2011/07/harry-potter-i-miss-you-already.html

    ♥ Vanessa
    Book Soulmates

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  2. Awesome Post. I feel exactly the same way about the end of Harry Potter.
    BTW I just wanted to tell you that I love your blog and I always love coming and visting it over and over again. =]

    -Michael/Bookshelf Reviewer
    http://thebookshelfreview.blogspot.com/

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  3. Great post. I too grew up with Harry Potter. I started reading around the age of 7 or 8, and now I'm 21 when all is said and done. It's very weird. Elementary school to College. Who would have thought? I'm glad you got to go to the midnight show. It really is the best time to be amongst other fans. At my theater, someone went as Harry's patronous as well. A lot of snitches too!!

    -Lauren

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  4. Have you read Dear Mr. Potter yet? I've been working my way through it and it is amazing! Good luck on your move to PA :)

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  5. This whole ending of an era thing seriously feels like a bittersweet goodbye. I too grew up with HP and I thank Rowling for molding me into the reader that I am.

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  6. Someone dressed as his patronus? That is awesome.

    I love what you said about how this series has brought our generation together. That particularly resonates with me after my own experience at the midnight release of the movie. I went up to Kansas to see it with my best friend so I obviously didn't know anyone else at the theatre. We ended up in line right in front of a huge bunch of frat boys - the type of people I would normally be trying to avoid. Instead, we ended up in an intense debate over whether Dobby or Hedwig was the more devoted non-human character and whether or not knowing Snape's ultimate role in the series helped make him easier to tolerate in the earlier books/movies.

    How awesome (and surprising) is that? That is part of the magic of J.K. Rowling right there.

    Anyway, it is a strange feeling now...not having any more HP milestones to look forward to. I'm not making any other big life transitions at the moment, but I do understand how you're feeling - and of course I wish you luck :)

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