Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The End of an Era

Last night, Kourtney and I watched the last Harry Potter movie. No, we didn't see it in 3D (I'm personally not a huge fan of 3D, so this obviously not a huge let down for me). It was..... EPIC. I loved it! Well, I love almost all of it- the epilogue was kind of ridiculous, why would they choose to use the original actors?! Giving Ginny bigger hair doesn't make her look 19 years older, it just makes her look like a hooker. It was almost as bad as the book version (which was even more cheesy and sad; not my favorite book ending). But let's not let this minor offense detract from the obvious brilliance of the rest of the movie. Beautiful, people! Seriously, I cried. And not just a little single tear, but many, MANY tears that rolled down my cheeks and soaked the top of my shirt, THAT kind of sappy crying. It was I-can't-believe-I'm-crying-over-fictional-characters crying. It was so bizarre that in between the tears I would kind o f chuckle at the ridiculocity of me actually crying during a Harry Potter movie. I cried for a good portion of the battle, actually. When snape died, and when harry used the pensieve and saw all those memories, I couldn't control the flow of tears from my eyes. It was so tragically sad, his never-ending love for Lily, and even though I knew he was going to die (I've read every HP book multiple times, which is a pretty major spoiler), the emotions I felt watching it were just as strong as when I'd read it on paper. I cried and cried as each lovable character was killed off, and then I cried even more when voldemort was finally defeated (happy tears), and when Harry, Ron and Hermione all stood together at the end, surrounded by rubble, the battle and war finally won, it was the sweetest ending I could have hoped for (in fact, I will just consider that the true ending and ignore the deplorable epilogue). As the credits began to roll, I sat in my theater seat, suddenly profoundly saddened; it was over. There were no more books to be read, no more movies to watch. This was the end of the magical world of Harry Potter that I'd spent the last 12 years frolicking in, and it kind of felt as if my entire childhood and adolescence had effectively closed as the movie ended. It was over. All good things must come to an end.

The whole Harry Potter series has had a pretty large impact on my generation. I mean, I was a mere 9 years old when I first read the Sorcerer's Stone (actually, I read the Prisoner of Azkaban first, I back-tracked and read the Sorcerer's Stone and the Chamber of Secrets later). I had dreams of one day getting my letter from Hogwarts, thinking "Only two more years! Maybe, just maybe.... perhaps if I honestly believe, it will be real." Typical childhood faith. Obviously I never got my letter, either because I'm a muggle through and through, or its truly just a story (I'm inclined to believe the latter), but my love for the enchanting world J.K. Rowling created never faded. I have many memories of those often well-worn books, from the age of 9 until now, memories of reading the 5th book while on vacation in two days, of skipping the chapter about Aragog for years because I was so afraid of spiders I couldn't bear to read about ones bigger than me. I remember days of toting around one of my three copies of the Prisoner of Azkaban, one that I had put stickers all over, and I remember always throwing the book covers away because they were such a nuisance. I remember where I was when I read the chapter where Sirius died.

I know it sounds silly, and on many levels it is. However, for me and my fellow Potter fans, these books represent our childhoods; they bring us back to a time when we believed in magic, when nothing was impossible. We grew up with the characters in the book, as we got older, so did they. I suppose that gives us a connection, a sense of familiarity and unity. To be honest, these books are the few that truly take me out of this world and into a whole different reality, when I read them I'm "In the zone", if you will. I'm truly in the story. And even though the movies were never as good as the books, they still brought to life the magic and wonder of the books, they were essentially the manifestations of the world I had imagined in my dreams, the world I had gobbled up on summer days outside with giant books in my lap.

I don't think my love for HP will ever fade, nor do I want it to. The story is far too amazing to abandon, and I fully plan on reading all the books to my kids when the time comes. I hope they have as much of an impact on them as they did on me.