I still remember the very first day I met “the boy wizard.” I was 10 years old, and in the 5th grade. I always read on an Advanced Level, because (let’s face it) I was just as much of a nerd back then as I was in high school. I remember my small-town Elementary School Librarian calling me from class one day to present me with this brand new book to read. I was the first student in our school to meet and fall in love with the story, and the characters, in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter.
Number 4 Privet Drive, Hagrid, Hedwig and the dorky boy with glasses who had that wicked awesome Lightning Bolt Scar on his forehead. From the very first book, I was hooked and fascinated by the words and the enchantment that the series had to offer. Way before there was Twilight and sparkly vampires, there was the boy who lived.
Year after year, novel after novel, I read and read as Harry, Ron and Hermione fought evil and battled wits with Lord Voldemort and tried to take down the world of dark magic.
I remember when the big announcement was made they were making a movie, and they were searching for kids who had read the books to play the main characters. My middle school librarian helped me fill out an audition application. I thought I would be perfect for the role of Hermione Granger (and obviously, since I’m not British, I didn’t get that part).
I went this past Friday night with a few girlfriends to watch the final installment of the franchise on the Big Screen. This marks the 8th, and final film, of the series. And I’ve seen every one of them in theatres. Film after film I’ve sat in dark theaters, forgetting the world around me, forgetting whatever problems were going on in my life and living vicariously through the wizarding world.
As the final scene of the movie rolled on Friday, I felt like that last little ounce of my childhood had finally come to an end. Putting the bed the ideals and far-fetched dreams of an innocent world of magic.
Thank you, Harry for being my place of solace so many nights when my real life was upside down and full of turmoil.
Thank you for the many night spent hiding under the blankets and reading with a hidden flashlight, just so I could see what happened next and what kind of mischief you were going to get into.
Thank you for bringing back round glasses and proving that ordinary people, could do extraordinary things. For failing, succeeding and failing again…constantly proving to everyone that you can do anything you set your mind to.
Thank you for making me feel that glimmer of magic on the days that I felt no kind of hope.
Thank you, Harry for letting me into your world. For letting me walk beside you through the streets of Hogsmeade, and the halls of Hogwarts Castle. For letting me stand beside you and cheer you through a brutal game of Wizard’s chess, for reminding me that the Gray Colored Bertie Bot’s Every Flavor Beans, are probably not the ones to try. For giving me a chance to cheer Neville on to greatness, watching Ron & Hermione fall in love, and seeing you finally land the girl of your dreams.
Thank you for living on in my heart, my memory and on my bookshelf. I look forward to the days that I will curl up in the bed beside my little boy and read your stories to him. I look forward to seeing him jump and smile and sit on the edge of his seat in anticipation at what will happen next. Seeing him cringe at the mention of the name Belatrix Lastrange, whisper the words He Who Must Not be Named, and battle the inner woes of figuring out exactly whose side Severus Snape is REALLY on.
Thank you for making my childhood magical, Harry.
As I sat at home on Friday night, typing this post, reflecting on my childhood, I admit that a tear or two (or more) might have been shed in the darkness of my room. Reflecting on the years that have passed, and wondering where to go from here. No more books to anticipate. No more movies to stand in line to see. The end of an era, of a legacy that I’ll carry with me from now on.
Thank you Harry, for being a part of my life, for pushing me to continue to believe in magic and fantasy; for proving—once again—that Good does conquer all. They may be words in a book and a story in my head, but as Dumbledore told Harry in the very end,
“Of course it’s happening in your head Harry, but why on earth should that mean it’s not real?”
*image found on Pinterest