Yes, sometimes we sound a tad dramatic. The end of an era? Really? But as I sat in that theater with my 22 year old son, I couldn’t help but reminisce. This wasn’t just a book series. It was ingrained in our lives.
The Harry Potter series captured our imagination. For years!
Harry was the same age as Michael. Both adventure-seekers. And now, both about to embark on new journeys without Hogwarts, or Home, or me. A “coming of age” movie indeed.
We first started reading Harry Potter when Michael was only twelve. I read to the kids while they sprawled out across the living room floor. I would only read a couple of chapters, and we’d mull it over for a while. We made a pact not to read ahead so we’d be able to experience it all together. This pact worked for a couple of books. But after about the third or fourth, Michael and Katie both were taking the books off to their rooms and devouring them. They’d still come back to the rest of us, saying things like, “You’re going to LOVE this next part!” or “OMG, I hate Snape!”
Stepping back in time, I remember the concern that lots of people had initially. Churches thought J.K. Rowling was glorifying black magic or worse. The kids would run into friends that weren’t allowed to read the series. My kids had nothing but pity for these people. It never led them to making deals with the devil or worshiping the occult.
But true to Patterson form, when we “get into” something, we don’t hold anything back. We’d go to the Midnight book releases. Exhausted, we’d wait in lines in the middle of the night to be the first ones to have our hands on the newly released book. Later, book stores got the idea and set up parties that my kids enjoyed with various Hogwart-esque activities around the room. Something had to occupy all these people that showed up hours before they were handing out the books.
We spent years quoting Dumbledore and pondering what we would do when faced with the kinds obstacles Harry faced. 2001 seemed to be our big year for focusing on Harry Potter. When we were in California, Michael dressed up as Harry Potter. And in looking at this picture, we were certainly leaving a lot to the imagination! I’m not sure Harry ever wore a flashy wizard hat. And the glasses… well, this was the best we could do at Goodwill. Ron offered up his graduation robes. A little lip liner on the forehead for a scar and and Ta-Da! Michael was happy. Of course, this was the kid that came to me years ago with,
“Mom! Look at the back of this Ninja Turtle box! All of the characters are here!”
“I just need some scissors and tape! I can cut them out and have ALL OF THEM! Today! It’s all about imagination, right?”
Gotta love that kid!
|Invitations via Owls|
Coming full circle, Katie worked at Barnes and Noble and actually took part in the final midnight distribution to young and old alike. She still read the series, but wasn’t quite as engrossed as she had been earlier in her life. She worked at the movie theater when the last Harry Potter movie was released. She sat with her friend and watched pieces of it over the course of a week. Not the same experience at all.
Michael and I, on the other hand, saw the series through. Michael had finished all of the books and then we went together to the local movie theater. We watched Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows (Part 2) in 3D. I got teary as I watched the scenes where Harry was younger. I couldn’t help but relate it to Michael. Time had marched on. For Harry and for us.
That was last summer. We were awaiting Michael’s Peace Corps assignment. It’s interesting to me that Harry’s series wrapped up at the same time as what I consider Michael’s childhood. Yes, he went to college, but it’s not the same as leaving the country to start out on adventures of your own. Michael landed an assignment in Nicaragua, one of the poorer countries in the Americas. Volcanoes, revolutions, hurricanes and mudslides have really made it difficult for the people there.
So, of course, after years of watching Harry in his adventures, it’s time for Michael to embark on a few of his own. :::sniff, sniff:::