Monday, July 18, 2011

The End of Pottermania

I'm taking a break from the Writing About Writing meme, mostly because I'm concerned that you guys might all be incredibly bored with it, so instead I'm going to talk about the fact that the last Harry Potter film debuted this past weekend.

I haven't seen it yet, so don't worry about possibly finding spoilers in this post.

Harry Potter first came to my attention in the summer of 1999, when my husband and I were operating a sunglasses stand on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. (No, really.) I kept hearing the name in different places, but I'd never met the guy, so it wasn't until I walked into the now-defunct store Zany Brainy and saw the first book on display that I even realized all the fuss was over a children's book character. I read the description on the back, decided it might be a good way to pass the time, and bought a copy.

I read it in its entirety the next day during my shift at the stand, partly because it was a really dull day and partly because I read quickly. I reached the end and went back to the beginning to start all over; I enjoyed it that much. When Kevin arrived to relieve me, I handed it to him. "It's brain candy," I said.

A mail-order book club was offering the first three books in hardcover, so I ordered them and was thus caught up with the series as it existed in one weekend. From there it was a matter of killing time until October, when the fourth book came out, and I took my younger sister to the midnight launch party at our local bookstore. This became a tradition for me with the rest of the series. I bought her a copy, but she let me take it home and stay up all night reading it (another part of my tradition), and then I joined the rest of the fandom in trying to endure the "Three-Year Summer" until the launch of the fifth book.

Those books got me through a pretty tough time. I was having medical issues that have never been entirely resolved, and at one point I was very quietly scared, but Harry gave me a much-needed shot of courage. I wrote a letter to J. K. Rowling, telling her this and mentioning that I had adopted the name "Lady Norbert" to use online, after the dragon Hagrid hatched in the first book.

I never got an official response, and the unofficial response is probably not even that. But I like to think that she got my letter, and that it was the existence of Lady Norbert that caused her to announce, in the seventh and final book of the series, that Norbert the dragon was in fact a girl. I'm sure it's just wishful thinking on my part, but I don't especially care.

So I'll be seeing the movie soon. And I imagine I'll cry when I do. Not for the deaths of beloved characters; I went through my grieving process when I read the last book, I know what to expect. I'll cry because the twelve-year thrill ride will have come to an end at last.

But oh, what an adventure we have had...I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

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