A Harry Potter Retrospective

The Harry Potter books were huge for me as a child. I choose my words very carefully, so huge has a double meaning here. The Harry Potter books were something that defined all of the other kids I knew, it divided us up into two categories: those who had read them or those who had not. Just about everyone read them, it was a phenomenon. Also, for a 9 year old who was very small for his age, those books were literally huge.

I’ll probably talk about the books in a much larger capacity eventually, but that is not a topic for today.

The Harry Potter books got children to read again. Kids would sit in their homes not because they were watching some of the genuinely amazing 90’s TV shows or playing games on the Super Nintendo, but rather because they wanted to see what happened to an 11-year-old wizard in training who was plagued by the problems that faced them (homework, bullies, girls, dickish teachers, girls…), along with some much larger pickles, but done so in a way that kept everyone interested and wanting to just read one more page before going to bed.

I practically absorbed these books. I read each one until the pages fell out of their bindings. Do you know what I did when that happened? I carefully put the page back where it was supposed to be and would keep on reading the books. There came a point where my copy of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire literally fell apart and my mom gladly went out and bought me another copy, because it meant that I was reading something instead of playing Final Fantasy VII. I would finish one and would instantly start on the next if I had it, if I didn’t, I would either start again from the beginning of the series or just re-read the book that was just finished again.

Then the movies came.

The movies were announced and I finally got my mom to start reading. I quickly learned that this was a big mistake, as suddenly, I wouldn’t have one of the books for about a year as my mom read the books seemingly as slowly as she possibly could. Luckily for me at this point, I had moved onto reading other books, but they all felt like there was something missing from them. None of them quite had that spark that got me obsessed with reading like the Harry Potter books did, so my reading slowed down almost to a crawl. If I had found another series or various books that kept that spark going, I feel like I would have read more in the period between then and a few years ago.

The movies managed to fill my Harry Potter itch for a while, until they started being mediocre, but for some reason, even though I complained about a number of them in the middle, I kept watching each one as it was released in theatres. Each movie became an event, and now that the last movie is being released, the events are over.

One of the last things distinctly from my childhood is coming to an end.

Sure I’ll always have things like Disney movies and Nintendo series, but they’re not quite the same. I grew up with Harry Potter and Harry Potter grew up with me. For me, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 is this summer’s Toy Story 3, and I know that I will be crying tears of both happiness and sadness through the entire film.

Goodbye, Harry, Ron, and Hermione, you will always have a special place in my heart.


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