Monday, July 18, 2011

Growing Up With Harry

[Editor’s Note: Yes, this is my requisite nostalgic Harry Potter blog post.]

The final Harry Potter movie  this weekend marks the end of era. I am part of the demographic the news is talking about this week -- the “Harry Potter generation”. I’ve devoured the books with each publication, and hurried to the theaters with each new movie. The movies painted a fantastic illustration of a world I’d imagined in my head, thanks to the captive words of J.K. Rowling.

But when I think of Harry Potter, I don’t think of Warner Brothers, or the theme park, or a multi-billion-dollar franchise. What I love most about the Harry Potter books is that it reminds me of my love of reading. 

Ready for the final film!
How I Met Harry
One summer during my awkward “tween” years, I spent a week with my aunts in Michigan. One of the aunts told me about a book that had been on the bestseller’s list for weeks. “A boy named Harry,” she explained. “He’s a wizard.” I was intrigued.

That fall in Mrs. Carlson’s sixth grade literature class. I couldn’t wait for the first monthly Scholastic Reader, a paper-thin catalog showing the latest young adult books (I’d frequently circle my favorites books, and hope Mom would take the hint). It wasn’t long before Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone appeared in the pages of the Reader. I rushed home to ask Mom if I could order it. I guess you could say I was an “early adopter”.

At the end of the school year, Mrs. Carlson asked us to record our life goals. I - unabashedly - proclaimed I would read and collect the entire Harry Potter book series - I didn’t know how long it would take for all seven books to come out... An ambitious and scholarly goal for an eleven-year-old, I like to think. 

Through The Wardrobe And Beyond
Today - more than 10 years later - I am an adult (depending on your definition, of course). I have grown up with Harry, Ron and Hermione. I’m happy to say I have not grown out of my imagination. Still, it’s bittersweet to see the torrent of books and movies come to an end.

I recently started re-reading the Chronicles of Narnia. Like the children in those books, a world like Narnia (or Hogwarts) can be re-visited even when the reader has “grown up.” Books make it possible for characters and worlds to keep living in the present, even when we have moved on. 

Further reading:


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