The Boy Who Lived. A first chapter that changed so many lives by opening up the doors to a world that feels real and expands as the time goes by. Each time it’s read, you see a new detail that you didn’t catch before. You notice a new connection. Certainly, it changed the two bloggers here.
I was one when the book came out so, obviously, I wasn’t really conscious of its presence. That happened when the first movie came out. My mom probably took me to see it. Sadly, I don’t have a memory of seeing it for the first time, but I have a stark memory of telling my sister-in-law asking me if the Basilisk scared me after the second movie. I answered matter of factly: “No. It reminded me of my mom when she shouts.”
After that, my mom read the first and second books, decided they were close enough to the films and started on the third book. She read to me in the mornings when I was waking up, then I would run onto the bus and retell the story to my friends. Fourth grade came and I told her to stop reading to me, so I picked up the first and second books then read them to myself. Had a stutter on the fifth book (because I mean, I was nine) and I remember reading the end of the sixth book on a night train hurtling through Japan, curtains drawn with one light while I read about Dumbledore and Inferni.
My childhood was filled with magic. I loved playing pretend with my mom. Every day, I would ask her, “Who do you want to be, Mom? Who do you want to be?” I would play as Harry and Hermione, mainly. She would be whoever I needed her to be. When I was a teenager, I picked up RPing, starting with Harry Potter as a comfort zone. I wrote fanfiction as well and, yes, all of the ones I wrote are still somewhere on the internet.
Harry Potter helped me through very hard times in my life. When I questioned my sexuality and gender identity, I turned to these books. Luna helped me realize that, no matter what, I’m still normal. Lupin helped me know that my true friends wouldn’t care about things as trivial as that. Harry helped me know that being courageous doesn’t mean that you can’t be afraid; in fact, you’re usually terrified while doing it. This helped me through depression and anxiety and the loss of friends as I came out to them.
JK Rowling definitely gave me my childhood. No matter what she does that annoys me — *cough* Cursed child and random decisions to tweet out things to toss away fan theories that she should have addressed in the seven books she had *cough* — these books hold a special place in my heart.
I cannot believe it’s been twenty years since Harry Potter was first published.
My first memory of Harry Potter was a trip to the movie theater. I vividly remember (which means it may or may not have happened) going to see Monsters Inc. at a theater. It was around the time the first movie came out and I remember seeing on one of the theaters that a movie called Harry Potte was playing. I thought it was hilarious. I pronounced it “Harry Potty” because I was young and even now I’m chuckling at twenty-five.
Anyway, I remember reading the books with my mom. I grew up with a single mom who liked moving, a lot. But we were very close and still are to this day. We both read the first few books together and then listened to them on tape. It was only then that we finally learned how to pronounce Hermione. I don’t think I can phonetically spell out how we pronounced it, but it was pretty absurd looking back on it.
As I got older and the other books kept coming out, I read them and it wasn’t until I got to the fifth book that I hit a brick wall. Then I read Half-Blood Prince in a week. I’ve never actually reread the sixth or seventh books. I’ve seen the movies countless times. I really enjoy movies more than books (says a person with a book blog), but I know I’m missing out on a lot by not reading the books multiple times. One day I’d like to read the sixth and seventh books again because I feel the sixth movie, in particular, didn’t do justice to the book.
Now that the series is over, Harry Potter certainly hasn’t diminished in my mind. Harry, Ron, and Hermione will always feel like long lost friends of mine because they are so ingrained in my childhood. I love the series and I grew up with it. It started as something I shared with my mom and even though the series was over, and goddamn it JK it’s over, it’s one that I’ve revisited countless times. Which doesn’t happen for me. I rarely reread books, but I’ve read the first three books more than any others in the series. Maybe any other books ever.
The books and movies will live on and if I ever have children you bet your ass they are going to know the world of Harry Potter and will shun Cursed Child like the dumpster fire it is.
I feel like writers especially aspire to influence and inspire so many people with their writing. I know I do, and I doubt JK could’ve anticipated what Harry Potter would become when she first started writing the first draft or the second, or even when the book was published, but in 50 years, 100 years, and beyond, people will still remember Harry Potter and it’s influence. You can count on that.