I’m surprised that neither of us has really mentioned Harry Potter here yet. It has been such a major part of both of our reading lives. The old HP definitely deserves some word time, and so I remembered this post which I wrote for a now-deceased blog, back when the final Harry Potter movie was about to be released, waaaaaay back in 2011. Harry Potter was mentioned on a podcast I was listening to today, so many years on from its prime, and it made me wonder whether we’ll ever see a literary phenomenon like this again in our lifetimes. Read this post, and you’ll see what I mean.
This post also introduces you to our infamous “reading parties”, of which I’m sure you’ll hear more in the future. Enjoy!
My Harry Potter books sit on the sacred top shelf of my bookcase, reserved only for my most favourite and precious books, sitting next to the Lord of the Rings trilogy and my beloved special edition of the Chronicles of Narnia (and the kind-of-scary-looking Harry Potter doll, who looks nothing like the real thing and therefore is named “Larry Trotter”).
So yes, I’m a Harry Potter fan, and it seemed fitting to write a little something in honour of the release of the final movie. While I was reading the seventh and last Harry Potter book on the day of its release, I remember saying “It’s the end of an era!“. And it really was. But I also remember saying “At least there are still some movies to come“. Now it’s really all over.
I haven’t yet seen the final movie. But I’m pretty confident it will be a fitting end to the movie series. I’m often not very happy at all with the resulting movies when good books decide to make the transition to screen. But the Harry Potter movies have been a happy exception for me.
Reading about “the end” in the newspaper, I was taken back to my own Harry Potter memories, mainly to do with the release of the last book in the series – The Deathly Hallows.
At the time of the book’s release I was lucky to be working with quite an outrageous, diverse group of people, the majority of whom were mad Potter fans. We decided to start a pool at work, to see who could guess how the series would end (or get the closest to it). The prize – the Gryffindor cup! (really just a plastic wine glass, painted with gold metallic paint and decorated). And you know, glory as well. I think my guess was something to do with Harry dying, but getting to be with his parents in death so really it was a happy ending, or something like that. I lost, but it was fun to bring Pottermania to the workplace nonetheless, and somehow I don’t see any other phenomenon extending in to the office in the near future.
My sister is a huge fan like myself, and really, can be credited with introducing me to the land of Potter. Consuming the books and later, seeing the movies, was something we had in common and would talk endlessly about. When the final book was about to be released we pre-ordered it, and then both took the release day off work (as planned leave, not sickies, relax!). There we were, at the mall at 7:30am or some ridiculous time in the morning, standing in the queue and talking excitedly about the possibilities for the ending of the series, that would soon enough be revealed when we got our hands on the sacred text. We stood in that line for hours, it stretched from the carpark all the way in to the middle of the mall, and up on to the centre stage where you would hand over your pre-order receipt and be presented with your prize. I think I nearly squealed when I was handed the purple enviro-bag with my hardcover Deathly Hallows inside.
We then took our books back to my place, find ourselves a comfy spot on the couch, opened to the first page and began reading in silence. Have you ever sat with someone in silence, reading the same thing? It really is a much stranger experience than it sounds. Our reading was interrupted regularly with gasps as one of us would reach some surprising moment in the story, followed by a narrow-eyed glance from the other one, and then giggles. Occasionally, something along the lines of this-
“Oh my God! Have you read page 34 yet?!”
“Not yet, I’m about to turn on to that page. What’s going to happen? Wait for me!”
“No way! I’m not waiting, it’s too exciting!”
Then we’d do the thing we did to each other as kids to annoy one other while we were reading – in the silence, one would start muttering the text under their breath so it was barely audible, just to throw the other one off, then we’d burst in to laughter.
By dinner time, we were both only about 3/4 of the way through the book, and it was time for her to go home. It had been such a great day, even though not much had been spoken between us since we had opened our books, it was still really fun to share that day with her and probably one of my favourite memories with my sister.
My husband knew to leave me alone for the rest of the night. As long as I had my nose buried in that book, no one and nothing else existed really (sorry darling). So I lay in my spot on the couch and read the book until I was finished, at times exclaiming “Nooo!” and “What?!” out loud. I remember bawling my eyes out in the last chapter, and then when I finally read over the last sentence and closed the cover, I sadly dragged myself in to the room where my husband was, teary-eyed, whining “I can’t believe it’s over“.
But at least I still had the rest of the movies to look forward to.
Harry Potter will always remain on my top shelf, and will always be one of those series that I go back to over and over again. In fact, I might start on them again once I’ve finished my current book!
I look forward to the time when Mia is finally old enough for me to say “Let’s start a new bedtime book, Mia. How about this one, it’s one of Mummy’s all-time favourites – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. You’re going to love it!“