The Harry Potter Generation
As I walked out of the darkened movie theater after seeing the final Harry Potter movie I felt like a chapter of my life had been closed. I started my Harry Potter journey in middle school with a much loved and very tattered set of hardback books, and finished more than a decade later as a grown woman, a wife and a mother who could barely squeeze in the time to see a two hour movie. That's right, I'm part of the Harry Potter Generation. A slice of the population that can directly correspond the events in Harry's world to major events in their own lives. My memories of my youth, my college days, my honeymoon, even the first few months with my newborn son will always be indelibly etched into my memory side by side with the books and movies of the Potter world.
A Bookworm Finds Her Match
As a kid I'm surprised I didn't develop some sort of back disorder because I loaded my backpack down with books so heavily I should have had a pack mule for school. Add to this my "around the house" bag which was also stuffed full of books, because who can read just one at a time, and you could say I lifted a lot of weights as a child. Around the time I was an awkward, gangling sixth grader J.K. Rowling came out with her first book in the U.S. "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone". All it took was one look at the cover, just a glimpse at the first page and this self-proclaimed dork who watched Star Trek instead of Barney as a child, was hooked. I shuttered myself away in a corner and wandered the narrow streets of Diagon Alley and snuck with Harry through the corridors of Hogwarts, only occasionally coming up for air for other activities. Looking back though, why did I bother? I mean, my other hobbies ended in such drastically ugly costume choices.
The Birth of a Film Titan
What Potter fan wasn't excited about the news that Rowling's beloved books would be made into films? While years had passed since I first happened upon the books, and I had changed quite a bit, I was still thrilled, but apprehensive about the books being made into films. I mean, what book lover doesn't shudder with fear at the thought of a much loved piece of literature being systematically dissected and disemboweled on the big screen? Fortunately, I had other things to distract. Things like getting a boyfriend, whether or not my hair needed to be crimped, and maybe the occasional five minutes for math homework. Fortunately I had another Potter fan, and one of the best people I've ever met to keep me on the straight and narrow. We went to "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" together and for two hours my head was full of bigger and better things than wondering if that senior was going to ask me out on a date. Thank God for good friends, and superb film adaptations.
It's Funny but Those Potter Kids Keep Getting Older...
And so do I! By the time I had turned around twice I had teleported to college, without any splinching might I add. I kept thinking, wow, those Potter kids are getting older. Then I'd look in a mirror and realize, hey, so am I. Like many others I said "wow, Hermione's getting busty". Then I tried to put on a tank top from the back of my closet only to find I couldn't get it over my own chest. Talk about karmic retribution. During my years in college I saw numbers three and four of the Harry Potter movies come out, and though they are darker than their predecessors, I still remember them with a fond lightheartedness. These were the last movies before the Voldemort really hit the fan for Harry, so to speak, and these were the last films in the series which I viewed free from worry,care and responsibility. While I was liable for my grades, I didn't have to worry about much else. Making friends came easily, my housing was paid for, and the only dragon I had to face was a legally blind writing teacher who made us print all of our assignments in size 26 Arial font.
Then They Grew Up...
By the time the fifth Harry Potter movie, "The Order of the Phoenix" was hitting theaters I was weeks away from being a married woman. That senior I obsessed about during the first movie? He did ask me out, and we stuck it out all those years, even through college, to get married in 2007. But I didn't care if we had to postpone the honeymoon, I wasn't missing "The Order of the Phoenix". It's not like I thought Sirius Black would reach out and hex me, but by now it had become a personal tradition, a pact to stick it out through all seven movies in the theater. So a week before I got married I sat in quiet anticipation in a dark theater with some friends and logged another chapter of my life side-by-side with Harry. Two weeks later, on the sunkissed beaches of Hawaii, I sat by my new husband, face buried deeply in the final book of the Potter saga. Of course, he expected nothing less.
7/11...It All Ends
Or so proclaimed the stark movie posters of the final chapter of the Harry Potter film saga. Only a handful of months before I managed to convince a friend to leave her three month old daughter and my six month old son with their fathers to enjoy a few child free hours at the movie theater. Only six months later my husband and I left our now walking and semi-coherently talking son with the babysitter and headed out to the final Harry Potter movie, not to mention the only one of the series my husband had ever seen. I'm still not sure what motivated him, but I have to admit I'm so proud he only fell asleep for about five minutes. (Breaks out the tarps for the slung tomatoes from Potter fans everywhere). Ten years ago I started watching these films as a much younger, much slimmer, much carefree version of myself. It's funny how much has changed, and how much has stayed the same. Harry grew to understand the awful truth of his life and the responsibility he carried. I put aside childish things and got a job, a house, a husband and a child. Harry faced his, quite literal, inner demons and vanquished them. I at least try to do the same. No matter how I look back on my formative years I always have a strange sense of having an "imaginary friend" of sorts in Harry Potter, as I imagine many people my age do. I'll always have Potter in my memories and my heart, and am so glad I had such a magnificent set of characters tied to some of the biggest, and best memories of my life.