Friday, July 15, 2011

Goodbye, Harry


So, I don't usually devote an entire post to something like this, and you may find it a bit annoying and carried away, but honestly, I just had to talk about Harry Potter and what the series means to me. I think those who have grown up reading these books know exactly how I feel, now that the phenomenon has officially come to its end with the release of the last movie.

When I saw the movie last night, I cried at several different parts. I think some people would probably think I was crazy. They might wonder, what the heck is the big deal?? And maybe that's difficult to understand if you didn't grow up with this series. But for many of us, these aren't just books and movies-- these are memories that we've grown up with, this is a story that we've spent years following and anticipating, and these are characters that we know as well as we know good friends... We have followed Harry Potter on a journey, and now that journey is officially at its end.

Many young adults my age grew up right along with Harry, Hermione, and Ron-- and the experience has been incredible, unlike any other I have ever experienced from a book. To say goodbye to them, knowing that their story is over, is actually very emotional! I feel like a total dork saying that, but it's very true-- we have all grown immensely attached to these characters, the story, and the world of Harry Potter. We remember exactly how we felt when we read the first book, experiencing the excitement and fascination of Hogwarts and discovering a world of magic. We remember where we were in our own lives at the time we were reading certain parts of the story. We eagerly anticipated the release of the next book, barely able to contain our impatience to get our hands on the next installment to see what was going to happen. We all probably cried (I did!) when Dumbledore died, convincing ourselves he was somehow going to come back. And we all felt that sense of finality when we read the last page of the last book, after staying up all night to finish on the night of its release. Now that the last movie is out,  the Harry Potter series will be put to rest, so to speak, and its very bittersweet.

My copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is a paperback-- the edges are frayed and the cover is torn. There's probably even crumbs between the pages. Even though slightly worse for the wear, I can't help but smile when I look at it, because it was here that I was first captivated by this amazing series. Harry Potter fans will always cherish their own experiences with this story, and for years to come they will have great memories to look back on.

It takes a truly amazing story with truly unforgettable characters to achieve the level of devotion and fandom that Harry Potter has received over the past 14 years. It has sold nearly 450 million copies and has been translated into over 67 languages. It has broken-- in some cases shattered-- numerous records. It has even introduced words into the English language that are now common knowledge. And most importantly, it has in many cases given people a love for reading that they never had before. I've heard some people say that Harry Potter will "always be a part of them," and that this is "an end of an era," and it's not because they're completely crazy. It's because this really is something that has touched people and  brought them together-- it is something to read, watch, talk about, experience and share with others.

I guess my consolation is that, even though the story is done for us, there are so many other young people out there who have yet to discover the wonder and magic that is Harry Potter. If I have kids one day, I hope that they will love the series as much as I did! I hope that they'll be completely wrapped up and enchanted with the books as much as I was the first time I read them. Even though they didn't grow up with the excitement of the book and movie releases, I think that the most important part of the series is how it takes you to another place and evokes emotions in you that you'll never forget. And that's something that will last forever. 

Thank you J.K. Rowling, for the incredible journey, and for giving us all the best reading experience we have ever had.



*****

Time for a walk down memory lane! Below are some of my favorite books, characters and moments from the Harry Potter series...

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5 comments:

  1. Your post has made me get really emotional! Harry Potter has been one of the biggest parts of my childhood, too. I read the first book when I was six and now, at seventeen, I just saw the last movie last night.

    I also truly do believe that the series will be immortal, as long as there are people and kids especially who have yet to read the books and discover the movies. I also can't wait to have a kid or nieces or nephews or whatever and introduce them to the magic of Harry Potter and Hogwarts. Every eleven year old should be half-convinced on their birthday that an owl will come for them with their Hogwarts letter clasped in its beak. :)

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  2. Kat~ Haha that's awesome! I actually didn't start reading the series until I was in 9th grade, which would've been back in 1999, but from that point on, I can remember every new book debut and movie release...

    I remember watching the first movie in a totally packed theater with tons of little kids whispering and parents "shushing" them-- I was with my best friend and I remember the look we gave each other when Cedric Diggory came onto the screen! ;)

    I'm 26 now but last night was like being a little kid again, laughing and crying and applauding-- there's nothing like sitting in a theater with everyone else around you just as Potter-crazy as you are lol!

    I might read the series again later this year-- not to review it or blog about it, but just to re-live all the memories.

    Long-live Harry Potter! :D

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  3. I've still to see the film! I completely agree with you I am going to be sad to see it all come to an end, but then the good thing is that you can re-visit whenever you want to!

    Great post, I'm sure you are not alone in being emotional about the end.

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  4. Thank you so much for this post! You took the words right out of my mouth. My whole childhood was centered on Harry Potter. I can't remember a time when it wasn't. I saw the last movie 12 hours ago, and I still haven't stopped crying really. It was a good way to end the series, but I long for more!
    I thank JK Rowling for this quote: "Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home."

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  5. Great post! I have something very similar planned for my blog later .... it's good to know that there are other people out there who recognize this as the end if an era.

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