I honestly couldn't tell you, without looking it up, when the first Harry Potter ("The Sorcerer's Stone") was released as a novel. I also couldn't tell you when Warner Brothers got the rights and released it as a movie. The most I knew about the Harry Potter books was that they were banned from Zeeland Public Schools because of it's “witch crafty” influences. My only interactions with Harry Potter was that I once attended a friend of mine's sisters birthday party, in which she had a rather strange box of Jelly Bellys. After tasting an unfortunate ear wax flavored “Jelly Belly,” I was later told that they were a replica of Harry Potter's “Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans.” Delicious. I also attended another party a few years later where everyone wanted to watch the first film of Harry Potter, and I wanted nothing to do with it. That was sometime in high school. My family and best friend thought I was crazy for not even wanting to give Potter a chance, due to my love of fantasy/adventure books and films. I am just one of those people who HATE following whatever is popular, and at the time it was the Harry Potter series.
It wasn't until the Fall of 2005 that I finally caved in and was “forced” into watching the first film with my sister and best friend. Thank God for that day, and thank God for my sister for not only bringing along the first film, but two and three as well. So in one day we watched, “The Sorcerer's Stone,” “The Chamber of Secrets,” and “The Prisoner of Azkaban.” I was also fortunate enough for the 4th installment of Harry Potter to be in the theater around the same time. My mom took me to see “The Goblet of Fire,” my first Potter experience in the theater.
After that night I made a decision that has given me more grief than anyone will ever know. I decided to see all the movies before reading the next book. So, having seen movies 1- 4, I borrowed books 1- 4 from my mom although she had 5 and 6 at the time as well. Then I waited for the 5th movie to be released (“The Order Of The Phoenix”), watched it and immediately read the book. I waited for the 6th movie to be released (“The Half Blood Prince”), watched it and immediately read the book. And finally, the epic conclusion “Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part I” was released in November of 2010. I was so upset to hear that the book was being split into two movies! I reminded myself that Book 7 had been released since July of 2007, that I could wait a while longer. I have waited on tenterhooks for 4 years to know what was to happen to Harry Potter and all of his beloved companions, I could wait 7 more months for the REAL conclusion. And finally, on July 15, 2011 I found out Part II of “The Deathly Hallows” was going to be released. I wasn't able to get to the midnight showing, but two days later on July 17, I was able to see what would happen to my dear Mr. Potter.
I don't think I have been more exhausted after watching a movie in my life.
I couldn't tell you when I started crying or when I stopped crying. All I know is that I composed myself enough before the lights came on all the way, and held it together until I got home. Then, I let it all out. I have seriously never cried so hard over a movie in my life.
Why I did cry, you may ask? For “spoiler purposes” I will not reveal anything to those you have not seen it or may be interested in seeing it. However, I will say this. I cried not just for the tragedy that takes place, but for the shear fact that it is over. Never again will a Harry Potter movie be made. This is it.
However, this wasn't just a movie to me. This was a story. A story about bravery, friendship, magic, miracles, love, adventure, laughter, fun, mischief, etc, etc. I grew up with Harry Potter, with Hermonie Granger, with Ron Weasley. I was there through everything. When they were hurt, when they were in trouble... I felt like Bastian in “The Never Ending Story,” like I was really there. I felt like that not only when I read the books, but when I watched the movies as well. I was a part of this story. However I wasn't just a part of the story in my mind, but a part of it in the wordly sense as well. All of the stories I have ever loved, I grew up with. To name a few: “Willow,” “Star Wars,” “Legend,” “The Goonies,” “The Lord of The Rings,” “The Princess Bride,” and “The Chronicles of Narnia.” But these epic stories were all before my time. But Potter. This, this was something almost tangible. Here and now, in my time. Something that I was physically a part of.
I am a dreamer. Therefore, stories about fantasy will always have the dearest, most special place in my heart. I wish with all of me that magic existed, that Narnia existed. My idea of heaven is where our dreams become reality. My favorite quote from Harry Potter was one just spoken in this last film. Albus says to Harry in response to his question (Harry) “Is this happening in my head?” (Albus) “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it's not real?” That is exactly how I feel. When I read Potter, it all seems so real. And the truth is … I want to ride a Unicorn and a dragon. I want to fence, learn archery and use it for a purpose. I want to be a Jedi and learn the ways of the force. My goal is to one day design and build my own house. One that is filled with secret passageways, with book shelf's that reveal a room behind it. I want a moat, with a drawbridge. I am serious here folks.
I guess the thing that saddens me the most in life is that all of these wonderful things that we can create in our heads, make into compelling novels and into mind boggling movies are not real. None of it.
However, if we had all of those things, we would never know what we are missing.
Going back to Harry Potter...
I truly feel that J.K. Rowling is the best writer of our generation. She has inspired more people than anyone I personally know. She's been the “C.S. Lewis” or “J.R.R. Tolkien” of our generation. And I love her for it.
So, thank you J.K. Rowling for allowing us to be a part of a world that we will never forget. We will love it, share it, and cherish it. It will live on for all time.