My thoughts on The Boy Who Lived

Friday, July 15, 2011

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I logged into Blogger last night and the first, like, 15 blogs I saw had been posted in anticipation of The Deathly Hallows premiere.  And then this morning on Twitter, it seemed that nearly every person I follow was tweeting things like, “So sad it’s over” and “Thank you, Harry, for changing my life”.  I’ve never watched the movies, and don’t plan to (for reasons that I am aware are both strange and silly) but all these blog posts and tweets made me a little sad and nostalgic, nonetheless.

At the age of 12, I went to the public library to check out a book for my family’s upcoming ski trip.  I saw Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone on the shelf and thought, “I feel like I’ve heard good things about this”.  And I was obsessed from the first page.  I don’t just mean, “Yeah, that’s a great story” – I mean the borderline unhealthy, I’m-having-dreams-about-wizards-every-night, But-why-can’t-IIIII-go-to-Hogwarts kind of obsessed. 

I finished the book in a few days and immediately passed it to my sister, sitting to the right of me in the car.  Her tale of instant obsession is not much different than mine.

Over the next 8 years, I waited and waited, sometimes re-reading the entire series-to-date in anticipation of whichever book was to be released next.  Very vividly do I remember going at midnight to pick up my copy of The Deathly Hallows – I wore my earbuds/iPod through the store so that I wouldn’t hear when the token idiot (almost always a guy) opened to the last page and screamed out the final sentence.  I always heard of that happening….let me just say, I would have attacked someone.

I tried not to finish the book within 36 hours – I tried to force myself to take breaks, to eat, to sleep, to do normal 20-year-old-girl things.  But the end of book 7 (what would be my absolute favorite of the series) came all too soon.  When I felt the final chapters nearing, I said to my boyfriend, who was reading his copy of the same book on the other end of the couch, “You need to take me home.  I have to be alone for this”.  And, oh my goodness….did I ever need to be alone!

Prior to that, I had cried heavily at the end of book 5 (when Harry finds the mirror? and he realizes going to the Ministry was all for nothing? but it’s too late to do anything?!).  Book 7, however, was a different story….a whole new level of hysterics.  The Prince’s Tale chapter – heartbreaking, utterly heartbreaking.  The Forest chapter – tears all over the pages.  The King’s Cross chapter – just kill me now, J.K.  And then, of course, the book ended so flawlessly, reaching beyond my wildest expectations and I realized, “Well…it’s over now” and that brought on a completely new wave of tears.  I remember my mom asking me the next morning, “How was it?” and I couldn’t even finish a sentence without crying.  Eventually, I managed to say, “It was wonderful and perfect and that’s why I’m so sad”. 

I recently decided to re-read the whole series.  Yup, I’m 23 years old and no, a lot of people here don’t understand it, but when you spend the entire month of May in either the hospital or in doctor’s waiting rooms, you have to do something with your time, you know?  And it helps if that something is a thing that makes you happier than many other things in this world. {Oh and I also re-discovered this, which aired a few years ago….all 4 parts are amazing.}

A few days ago, I finished book 7 for the second time.  I was riding a train from Berlin to Poland and I purposely closed the book when I reached the “just a few more chapters to go” part.  I did not want to be the girl bawling her eyes out on a train, young adult’s fantasy book in hand.  So once I got home, I quietly slipped upstairs to finish the book in solitude and cried nearly as hard as I did the first time around.

So, yeah – I guess this is me, more or less jumping on the HP hysteria bandwagon, chiming in with the chorus of, “Thank you, J.K. Rowling, thank you, thank you, thank you for bringing us The Boy Who Lived”. 

And I leave you with the quote that gets me every time – the one that, embarrassingly enough, brings tears to my eyes as I type it right this very moment, “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean it is not real?

Chills.

P.S. I’m totally Hufflepuff and totally fine with it.

30 comments:

ellie said...

I LOVE HP. I refused to see the movies for the longest time and when I finally did I kinda hated myself for it. All the images of the people and places I had put together in my mind were forever changed to what i saw on the screen. I also went to a midnight release of the 7th book (I was newly 21, I could have been drinking!) but instead my younger sister and I (19) were at a bookstore. We then sat on the couch next to each other for almost a full day reading. After I saw the first movie, and decided that there was no way to go back to the way it was before, I have continued to see the series, but part of me will always miss the world of HP that only existed somewhere between the pages and my imagination.

aussie said...

i agree with ellie. the books are loads better than the movies. i can totally understand people who want to preserve their imaginations.

Chelsea said...

This post made me really happy. I truly just got goosebumps after reading it and the quote!

i have read all the books too. loved them all. cried like a baby on the plane after i finished reading the very last one. (NOT to mention in book 6 when Dumbledore died! RIP!!!)

i've seen maybe 1.5 of the movies. i was never really into them, but i've always been that way. books are always better than the movies. Ohhh HP, your adventures have always captivated me. we will miss you!

Ashley said...

I actually didn't read the series until just last year. It was amazing, and I cried more times than I can count. I do wish though I had read them as a girl, so I could have "grown up" with Harry. I completely understand why someone wouldn't want to see the movies. I do actually really like them and went last night at midnight. The thing I enjoyed the most was standing in line with 3,000 people just as in love with Harry as I am. :)

Loved this post!

Anonymous said...

i loved this post too! i agree with the non-movie watching people. the movies are great, they give me goosebumps and the soundtrack is awesome. but they do take away something from the imagination and you just have to decide if that's worth it to you - losing some pieces of your private HP world and never getting them back....you know, trading your original vision with the director's. i say more power to you!

xoxo jen

Jan said...

Thanks for reading the first book with me. I forgot to tell you that in our new house we have a 'Harry Potter bedroom' under the stairs!!!

Brissa said...

i hopped on the hp bandwagon later than everyone else. so when i read the books and cried and wanted to talk to someone, my dad said it was too late. so i took my dog for a walk and told her everything. i told her dumbledore died and snape was to blame. i told her how much it hurt inside when i finished the seventh book. she just looked at me with her brown eyes and listened. i love those books. i love them with all my heart.

Jeneric Generation said...

I loved this post!!!! That quote gave me chills, too. This entire post did, actually. The movies do not even compare to the books. But, since I read the books first, nothing can destroy the images I created in my mind when I read them. The movies are neat little asides for me...they are not truly Harry Potter. I would like to thank J.K. Rowling too...but I also have you to thank.

Lauren said...

you've totally inspired me to re read the HP series!! I can hardly remember what happened in them!

Sadly, I won't be going to the theaters to see the last movie but I will see it eventually when it comes out on redbox :)

I really enjoyed this post! :)

Lauren said...

and I was totally one of those readers that wished I could just BE in the Harry Potter world, which is, you know, kinda weird.

Mighty Burns said...

I havent read the books. I know Im sorry. Dont throw things at me please lol. i really really want to too. I told myself Id read them before the last one came out. this has not happened. :/ so oooo I will not be reading them soon. BUT i can not wait to see it. Apparently im the only person my age I know that cares about the story and cant wait to go. I will go going to see it solo this weekend. Alls well though I hate when people talk in the movies!

S and O said...

When I read the last Harry Potter book, I was impressed! I couldn't believe that JK hadn't ruined it! That was my biggest fear when picking up the book, I knew it had to come to an end eventually but I couldn't have imagined it would be that good! :)
xoxo
Olivia

Perpetual Blind Date said...

You are not alone! I cannot believe it is all over! I just reread the 7th book for the third time in honor of the movie. I am also 23 and it may be strange that I read Harry Potter on my lunch hour, but I grew up with him. And now its all over. - Alyssa

Jasmine said...

This post made me really happy. I read my first Harry Potter at the age of 8, just when it was published. This day changed my whole childhood/youth. Sounds strange, doesn't it? I liked reading before but after Harry Potter I couldn't stop buying new books every week. I spent years waiting for the new Potter to come out and reread all of them a few times.
The movies are also quiet good, but the books are loads better.
I'm so sad it's over =(

kim said...

For me it started the other way around. I saw the first movie by accident: went to the movies with my boyfriend and got into a fight over which movie to watch. So we both gave up and joined his parents who were going to see Harry Potter & the Philosopher's Stone. Neather of us wanted to see it because we were 19 and too cool for kids' stuff (though apparently not too cool to go to the movies with his parents...). But I LOVED it. There's this sweetness to the first movie, a kid's dream. So I kept watching the movies and started reading the books in my 20s. Made well sure I'd finished the books before seeing the movies. But I have to say, the movies are very well done. Sure a lot of details and (to me vital) storylines are left out (you can really tell J.K. Rowling spent all that time perfecting the story, I love how everything ties up) but they are still satistfying to watch. Ralph Fiennes is pretty brilliant and I also love how Snape is portrayed.
So yeah, the books are definitely better but the movies are well done. I especially love watching the earlier ones around Christmas time for the "Christmas at Hogwarts" feeling. I snuck out this afternoon to go and watch the final movie. I got mono and am told to basically lie down and sleep for the rest of the month but could not resist.
I'm 28 and I want to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter very very badly. (and maybe be Ron's girlfriend perhaps too).
I'd probably be Ravenclaw.

emily g. said...

HOLY SHIT! That's my favorite quote!! Have you been reading my fb lately?! <3 My thoughts on the series mirror yours, to say the least. Basically too many words for an appropriate blog comment, and would not be nearly as well-said as your post.

michelle marie said...

dude, total respect for never having watched the movies! i have always been very cynical about the movies but watched all of them in spite of myself. to be honest, in my opinion you're really not missing too much other than the fifth and seventh movies, which i have to admit that i loved.

but man. those books. also 23 years old, grew up with them, still unhealthily obsessed, have reread the entire series many times (haters can suck it!). i would say how i felt about them, but you've gone and said all that really needs to be said. :)

and that quote still makes me cry too!

Cylia said...

great writing girl:) liked reading it.. not everybody can write as easily.

Cylia said...

btw.. I love harry potter! EEK. I'm so sad the movies ended.

kylee said...

nothing is worse than someone ruining the end of a book. before i had finished the sixth book i was told dumbledore died. i have never been more upset in my life. how dare he tell me before i read it for myself. lesson learned though. when reading something like hp for the first time don't leave your house. read until you finish it. people will ruin it unless you lock yourself up. i'm re-reading the series too! just about to finish book five. bah. i have chills reading that last quote. i know the movies have nothing on the books, but that line in the movie was almost equally amazing as when it's read. you better believe that part had me in tears again.

Laura Ann said...

Oh, Harry Potter. I was there last night for the premiere, and it was a blast! I agree that the books are better, but I enjoyed the movies a lot too. I kind of had to jump on the HP bandwagon right at the very end (sadly, I wasn't allowed to read/watch them when I was growing up). When I got to college though, I finally got to watch the movies and I just finished reading all of the books between last summer and this summer. So I can't claim to be the long-time fan that many people are, but I've been trying to make up for lost time ;)

Celeste said...

I love this. For me, the worst part about being in Europe right now is not watching the last HP back home. Ah!

Jessica Marie said...

My favorite part is picturing you as a 12 year old in the library.

It is true, mom and dad do have a Harry Potter closet!

You think you are a Hufflepuff?

Sunny & Star said...

I love HP too. I am always sad when I am reading a book series or watching a tv series that I love and it ends. I am always like "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO why did this have to happen???"

Lo said...

I love hearing how HP has touched other people's lives. I also love that quote. Oh, great--now I'm full of emotions!

imaginethemorning said...

You may have just summed up all of my feelings about HP. I most definitely cried when I read the last book, A LOT. Also, in the sixth book. & the fifth too...
It's kind of crazy how this series has affected so many of us this age. I honestly don't think that I would be the same person I am no, without this series.
Well written post.
P.S. that quote is one of my favorites. I also may or may not have gotten terribly sad after reading this because it finally hit me that I no longer will read new stories about that world.... I tried to block that part out, until now.

Mimi said...

oh gosh, i am with you on all that. it still gets me all teary-eyed to think it's all over now. :( after i read the last book, i was really sad but then having the movies to look forward to got me through. and now that's over too. but anyway, i am so happy to have had the chance to read all 7 books and see all 8 movies. :)

<3, Mimi
http://whatmimiwrites.blogspot.com/

danica said...

HP is so amazing! I started reading it in 5th grade and no one else really got into it but me. I totally wanted to get a letter from Hogwarts for 6th grade instead of going to normal middle school. lol. Oh well.

I plan on reading all the books again too! So you are definitely not alone in that. :)

Jennifer said...

Ah...Harry...love! I watched the last one on Saturday. I was filled with joy and sadness. I wish it wasn't over, but it ended so well!! I will probably re-read the books at least 2 more times. They are just too good!

Alex said...

Oh gosh, don't even get me started. I teared up just reading this. I also cried on an airlane yesterday while reading the Entertainment Weekly HP special edition.
When I read The Deathly Hallows, I was interning at ABC in Burbank. There I sat at lunch, on a beautiful patio at ABC, crying my eyes out. No shame.