And now, it's here and I'm not ready.
I'm 23 years old which means, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone came out when I was 11 years old, just old enough to go to Hogwarts myself. But I didn't start reading the series until after the first movie came out in 2001. I was completely enchanted with Harry's world and jumped on the next movie, which I devoured.
But that wasn't enough.
So at 15 years old, I walked into my local Books-A-Million and found that four books were published and the fifth was coming out very soon. I grab the first two and went home. I didn't surface for air. These books made me forget about little things like eating and drinking and sleeping. Who needed that when I was learning magic? I'm lucky this was over the summer or I'd have been in huge trouble.
I read those first two books and the last one ended for me at about 1 in the afternoon. Then, I turned to the clock and waited and waited and waited until my mother got home. I told her we couldn't eat until I got the next two in the series. She marched me back out there and I got the next two and a preorder for the fifth which came out a day before my birthday.
Then I spread Harry Potter around like a virus to everyone I ever knew.
Fast-forward to the sixth book coming out. I was working at said bookstore then and through various quizzes proved I was the biggest nut they had. I was like a walking encyclopedia. So I was put in charge of hosting the sixth event with a manager. We stayed up until 3 in the morning making humongous banners that they hung at Books-A-Million and getting the hoses ready. I was put in Ravenclaw and decided to join in the costumed fun by dressing as Trelawney. After the store closed from all the festivities, I got a pass to leave earlier (since I'd been there night after night getting ready for the event) and I read the entire night through.
Where were you when Dumbledore died? I was in my car at the Books-A-Million parking lot reporting to work the next day at 3 PM after being up all night. And I was bawling.
Come the seventh book, I was no longer working at the bookstore but still had loads of friends there. I volunteered to help out again with one condition-- I wanted Gryffindor. And Gryffindor I got. I marched in once again as Trelawney (bushy hair and glasses and all) with a stack of magic tricks I taught myself to show the kids (my house had the 6 to 10 year olds) and a bunch of games to play. I touched more Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows books than I can even count. Then, I went home and helped my friend move the next day. I drove two hours to her new place and she read aloud. We suffered together as Hedwig perished. We suffered together moving everything in her new place. Then I raced home and finished the book.
Now I have today. Today is the last time that Harry Potter will truly be new to me. Even as I type this, the weather outside gets gloomy, rain starting to sputter onto the pavements in mourning. My heart aches for this ending of something that I loved for so long. I will always have the books and movies to ease it but this really does feel like I'm putting to rest a great friend.
It means growing up and learning, it means not being able to drive, it means wishing for something to be true with every ounce of my being, it means putting on a pair of thick glasses and being transported, and crying as my dear friends perish around me in the parking lot of a bookstore and walking down the hallowed halls of Hogwarts, and helping my friend move with thoughts of a pet long gone and magic cars and midnight movie premieres. It means the taste of butter beer on my lips (caramely!) and actually getting to walk into Fred and George's joke shop. It means my childhood.
I am grateful that Harry Potter found me.
So yes Voldemorte and Harry, it all ends tonight. But it will last forever in my mind and in my heart.
Some of my Harry Potter stats for you:
- Favorite of The Three: Hermione
- Favorite Student: Neville Longbottom (because of his incredible growth)
- Favorite Male Adult: Sirius Black
- Favorite Female Adult: Narcissa Malfoy
- Favorite Bad Guy/Gal: Bellatrix Lestrange
- Favorite Iffy Character: Tie between Draco and Snape (would love to see the story following Draco)
- Characters I'd most likely hang out with: Fred and George (I'd totally get in with them! They have fun without the threat of you know, dying. I'd have to date one though so that only the other one would play pranks on me. I'm hoping for George cuz he lives... just sayin'!)