There are a couple of books in my life that have had a huge influence on me. Some of those books I hated, some I liked, and some I loved. Harry Potter- all of the novels- would be one of those books. Now before the haters start rolling their eyes hear me out, this is an opinion oriented blog site is it not?
Some people get very angsty when it comes to books that involve a huge following. They want to be different and not follow the crowd. They get snooty and think that any book that has a large following is probably not decent enough, they're so much better then to read something like that. And with some books that have cult followings that's true, but I feel that Harry Potter is not one of those series. I feel that this is, in fact, great writing.
When the first Harry Potter book was released I was 12 years old (I am currently 23). I didn't immediately hop into the books. Oh no, I had no interest in them and thought my friend who was obsessed with them was nuts. I thought I was far too mature to be reading some book about wizards. Every time my friend brought it up I just pictured multiple Merlin's running around. And who was this Dumbledore fellow? Another Merlin or Gandalf wanna be of course.
But then, somewhere along the lines I grabbed The Sorcerer's Stone from my friend and opened up to the first page. Reading it quickly I turned to the next, and then the next after that. Soon enough I was taking the book out of the library and I dove straight in. It quickly became a tradition for me to read each Harry Potter book within one day.
I recall how excited I was to find the first two books in a discounted book shop. I got each book for $3 each. I was so proud of my beautiful hard-covered books with their fabulous illustrated covers. I was even more excited that Dumbledore was not a Merlin or a Gandalf. He was a top wizard all on his own.
My favorite book, to this day, is book three- The Prisoner of Azkaban. Sirius Black is, and always will remain, my favorite character of the series.
It quickly became a summer tradition to wait with excited breath for each book to come out. Then, with my friends, we would go to see the films as they began to be released as each one was placed out in theaters.
I adored the books, they threw me into this other world that sounded so wonderful, so inspiring, so much more interesting then my own. But that's what books are good for, are they not? To be able to slink off into another world and forget all that's around you. Somehow, growing up along side Harry Potter (as each book was released I was just about the same age as Harry Potter would be) I felt like a had a group of companions that I could always visit when times in my real life got rough.
Granted I wasn't dealing with evil power hungry wizards or snotty sinister teachers. Granted I didn't have to deal with trees that would whomp me or werewolves. But I was growing into an age where many things seemed hard. Really, what teenager going through puberty and entering high school doesn't have a confusing awful time here and there?
I even learned the nickname of Hermione for my obsession with books. Funny, no?
Harry Potter didn't only open my eyes to the fact that yes, you can write a book directed to one age group- but it can attract all. Book five was the first book that I read which ever brought tears to my eyes. To be moved so strongly by a piece of written word is amazing. It shows it's strength and powers. It also shows how much effort Rowling placed in her characters, to make them be so real that you can actually have emotional connections with them.
Book 6 came out the summer after my freshman year of college. I recall running through a local Walmart to the display of freshly released Harry Potter books and grabbing one then jumping up and down in my own private little dance. People looked at me oddly and yet some seemed to have this glimmer in their eyes as if they understood how I felt. I would read the book whenever I had a chance during my job as a lifeguard that summer.
Book 7 took a little longer to be released and I still remember the release date clearly. I was so excited, like a child waiting for Christmas morning. I had just moved to Pennsylvania and was only in the state for a week when it was released so I managed to reserve a copy at a book store 45 minutes away but couldn't get myself there for the actual release at midnight. So early the next day my family and I drove all the way to the store and I was given the copy. I held it as if it was gold then plopped down (while my parents were looking around) and began to read it.
From 10 that morning until that night I read the book- with breaks to go to a fair, eat dinner, eat lunch, shower, and take a walk through my neighborhood- I read every other moment besides that and yet I finished it that night.
Tears had been shed and the book was done. I was left feeling a sense of loss because the series was over. This series which had followed me through middle school, high school, and into college was complete. Ten years of my life I had been a fan of it, excited to see what was next for each book character, and now it was finished.
I won't lie, I miss the new installments. But I can still just as easily pick up one of the books and dive back into the familiar territory. It's the magic of Harry Potter.
I was lucky enough to see the most recent movies premiere last week at midnight with a theatre full of fans and I adored every moment. My opinion of the movies are slightly different from the books. Do I enjoy them? Yes. Do I see every one of them? Yes. Do I think a number of very important characters, scenes, etc are missing from the films? Yes. Do I think someone should receive the 'idiot' label for taking out such important characters and scenes? Yes. But I keep in mind that really... when you're the best of the best it's hard to make something just as good. I really doubt there'd ever be a way to make Harry Potter the movie as good as the books. (Although I do think they could've been better, a few in particular especially, because really Lord of the Rings movies were fabulous!)
I really cannot wait until I have children and can read these books aloud to them. I have full intentions of doing so and I hope that all have the opportunity to read these books at some point in their lives. They're really that great, and I stand by that statement now and always. I'll always adore the world that J.K. Rowling created for us all.