Growing Up With Harry Potter
I can literally say that I’ve grown up with Harry Potter. I was born the year it was published in the U.S. by Scholastic, 1998. I’ve grown up a fan of the series, immersing myself into the brilliant and fantastical world J.K. Rowling has created.
When I was 4 years old, my mom started reading books 1-5 to me every night before I went to bed (books 6 and 7 had not yet been published). This got me hooked, as well helped me get into reading at a young age. Every night I would be excited to hear more of the thrilling adventures of Harry Potter and his friends Ron and Hermione. I can also remember myself anxiously waiting through the opening sequence of the films so I could finally watch the movies on the living room TV.
Ever since, I’ve been a fan of both the books and the movies. I waited in a ridiculously long line to watch Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban the day after it came out. (Even though my mom and I both bought our tickets in advance and got there two hours early, we still got bad seats.) I cried when Sirius Black died at the end of Order of the Phoenix. And the image of long lines of fans waiting to buy Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in 2007 remains vivid in my mind.
For a time, though, I had lost my Harry Potter obsession. It wasn’t that I stopped liking the series - I just found myself too busy to get very involved with its heavy fan-base. Yet that all changed upon seeing Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince at a screening on the Warner Brothers’ lot.
The movie really hit a nerve to me for numerous reasons. I think the biggest would probably be Professor Dumbledore’s death at the very end. Not only did the moment come as a shock, since I had not yet read the book, but that scene connected to me on a more personal level. Only about a month before, my own 5th grade teacher had passed away of a heart-attack. Like Dumbledore was to Harry and to Hogwarts, Mr. Landaverde was like a second father to myself and to all of Melrose school, especially his last class of which I am proud to have been included in. There’s real magic in what the series was able to do in making Harry Potter feel so real and relatable. That whole scene was absolutely touching.
The moment I got home — and mom please forgive for this — I began to read Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince until I fell asleep at around midnight. It took me about 4 more days to finish it. Right after that, I read Deathly Hallows, the last book in the series. The book took me about a week to read. At the end of it, I found myself an obsessive Harry Potter fan once more.
Now, on July 15, the last movie, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2, will be released. For fans, this will be an exciting yet sad time. The journey we have so lovingly ventured is coming to an end. Waiting for the release of the film is nerve-racking. I’m assuming many of us will shed some tears at the end of it. The actors themselves even admitted that they all cried a bit on the last day of shooting.
Harry Potter fans are among the most dedicated of any franchise. We’re a bit stubborn and a bit weird, but we’re proud of it. Hopefully, this last film will be everything the fans wish them to be.
Did you grow up with Harry Potter? What are your memories of the books and movies? Let us know in the comments!
Photo: Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter in Warner Bros. Pictures’ fantasy adventure Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2, a Warner Bros. Picturesrelease. (Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures)