Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Where Were You the Day Dumbledore Died?

My husband and I have been listening to a podcast during our down time and they happen to be analyzing the Harry Potter movies. As they were going through the sixth movie, I felt my chest tighten because I knew what was coming. Even now, after reading the series twice and watching the movie hundreds of times, I still feel myself growing faint every time I think about Dumbledore's death. This is a death that happened almost ten years ago (wow, I feel old) and I still found myself crying when they played the audio for Dumbledore dying.

Every time Albus says "Severus, please", not begging for his own life but begging Snape to kill him for Draco's sake, I can't stop the tears from flowing.

In my lifetime, my parents or other adults would often tell me that there are moments in life that I would remember. You will remember what you where doing when {fill in the blank}. I'm sure they meant historic things and I guess there are a few of those too but the moment Dumbledore died is among them.

I had just started working at Books-A-Million at the time and they were in a flurry preparing for the midnight release of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. I went from new employee to heading the whole thing when they caught wind that I was a fan. Here I was, 18-years-old in my first job ever and tasked with the huge responsibility to entertain hundreds of folks showing up for the release of the sixth book in the Harry Potter series... I'd never been more excited for anything in my life.

That week I was tasked with making huge house banners (seriously, these things were eight feet each), helping every "house" plan their activities for the evening and organizing the rules and prizes for the costume contest. Plus, I had to get my costume together because Trelawney wasn't going to magically appear unless I made her. I even learned a few magic tricks for the occasion since I claimed Gryffindor which had kids from 5-10 in it.

What all this amounts to is that I had to work well past midnight when Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince was released. By the time I got home and showered, it was well into the early morning hours. Not that the late hours stopped me. I read most of the night, completely hooked even though I was scheduled to work at 3 PM the next day. After only a few hours of sleep, I drove to work with the book resting in my front seat mocking me. I parked in the spot I always parked in (three spaces from the front all the way on the right of the parking lot) with twenty minutes to spare and I read. I read as Dumbledore paralyzed Harry and watched in horror as Dumbledore tried to convince Draco that there was still good in him. With three moments to spare, Snape said the irreversible words and Harry was freed from Dumbledore's spell. Dumbledore, the man who had guarded Harry and I through five books, who even Voldemort was scared of, was gone. In a world full of magic and wonder and miracles, there was nothing Harry could do to bring him back.

With tears streaming down my cheeks, I walked into the bookstore and tried to put on my apron so that I could sign in. I tried to be brave. But I was now walking around in a world where Dumbledore was no longer there to protect me and that killed me. My manager, who happened to find out what happened in the morning since she wasn't a huge fan, let me have a few moments to pull myself together but it was pretty useless. I was already gone.

We weren't allowed to read behind the counter even when the floor was empty but that night, I happened to be putting up a Half Blood Prince for my entire shift.

I remember where I was the day Dumbledore died. I remember grieving with so many of my friends who also found out, discussing it with the customers that came in and just needed someone to talk to, and trying to figure out how the Harry Potter world was ever going to be the same.

I can't imagine writing a series like that. Of crafting characters and books in such a way that I can devastate the literary world. I think as a writer and as a reader, I'm always searching for that feeling again. Because for me, the day Dumbledore died is a part of my history, not just a writer but as a human being. Harry Potter shaped me, like so many other folks, and to this day it still moves me.

So I want to know your story. Where were you the day Dumbledore died?


  1. +JMJ+

    What a wonderful story! I've never really been a big Harry Potter fan, though I've read all the books, so I had no idea about the impact Dumbledore's death had on so many readers, until I read your post today.

    On the other hand, I've experienced having to put on a brave, happy face for the world, while my emotions seethed in turmoil below the surface because of something I had read . . . and longing for people I could talk to who had gone through the exact same thing, with the exact same book . . . so what you've written is also familiar. I think the books that make our inner lives feel that much more intense than our outer lives are those which we love the most.

  2. I was in my dorm room with my boyfriend (now husband) who had already read the series. I read the words "Severus, please" and correctly interpreted them. My husband was shocked that I thought/knew he was good right after reading about Dumbeldore's death.


Thinking of writing something below? Well, that's why you are awesome! I always love feedback!

This blog is an award free zone. With the demand of a full time job, blogging time is becoming much more precious and I just don't have the time to meet the demands of awards. Thanks so much for thinking of me anyway!

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Blog Design by Use Your Imagination Designs all images form the Impossible Things kit by Studio Tangie and Rebecca McMeen