Monday, October 25, 2010
The Harry Potter Series
I was one of the oddly reluctant children who, despite growing up around the books, refused to read them until I was about 12. And I think whoever it was that finally pushed me over the edge and made me read the books regrets it now, because they have created a bit of a monster.
I know there are people out there who haven't read the Harry Potter series, due to personal beliefs or whatever it may be. However, speaking as a girl who loves reading more than anything, I wish I had read these books sooner, and I certainly don't regret reading them. I know there is a lot of controversy about the series as a whole, but I can speak honestly to any true reader out there: if you are living life without having read Harry Potter, you are missing out on a reading experience unlike any other.
A 12-year-old me sits in Language Arts class. The fourth book sits open on my desk. I am so close to finishing. And the teacher tells me to get to work. Therefore I finish the fourth Harry Potter book walking home from school.
*flash forward... A little*
A 13-year-old me sits on the floor of the Barnes and Noble wearing glow-in-the-dark Harry glasses. All around me are people dressed as my favorite characters; they debate who R.A.B. is, and who will die in the final installment of the epic series. My friends and I speculate much the same. At about 11:55pm on July 20, 2007, a whole room of geeks begins to chant, "Bring the books! Bring the books!" And we all scream in unison as the books are unpacked at 12am on July 21, 2007.
*the following days*
I hole up in my room with the book, coming out only when absolutely necessary. A friend calls to inform me that she is finished already. I hungrily devour every word on every page. I don't want the series to end, but I want to know how it ends. And I sob my eyes out. Pathetically. It is about 7pm when I exit my room positively hyperventillating and searching for tissues. An hour later I emerge, the book and the series completely finished.
*end of obnoxious flashback scene*
It is looking back at moments such as this from my life that I realize how hopelessly devoted I was (and I guess still am) to the series. But never, as many books as I've read and as many series as I've read, have any books had such an impact on me. It was like losing a best friend. They had become a part of my life, those books. And they still are.
People say, all the time, that "Twilight is the new Harry Potter", or "Percy Jackson is the new Harry Potter", or "The Hunger Games is the new Harry Potter". For me, it is hard to imagine another series coming anywhere close to where Harry did. The "new Harry Potter"s haven't had as much of a worldwide fan base for nearly as long. They do not, as someone said of Harry Potter, "define a generation". They are simply fads, and will likely die out. I can't see that happening with Harry Potter. It "defines a generation" in too many ways to ever disappear.
I watched an interview recently with J.K. Rowling. She said she had a woman come up to her on the street, almost out of nowhere, and tell her, "You are my childhood." Personally, I think this perfectly sums up the entire realm of Potter as a whole. Potter was the childhood of so many of our up-and-coming adults. Potter was the reliving of childhood for many of our current adults. What other series could have such an impact on so many different people?
There are two reasons that I have spent the last near half an hour spewing this onto a blog post. The first is to make the point that if YOU have not read the Harry Potter series, you are missing out on more than I can even express. And second, I hope that by Harry's impact on so many, we can learn from his story that love really is the greatest magic of all.