Monday, July 11, 2011

Harry Potter Week: Childhood Stories

FOUR DAYS! In honor of the final Harry Potter movie (*sniffle*), I'm declaring this week Official Harry Potter Week on this blog. I did indeed watch the red carpet in London and cried through everyone's speeches.

If you missed the red carpet, here are Emma's, Rupert's, Daniel's, and Queen Rowling's speeches. At the very least, watch Rowling's.

Best quotes (both by Queen Rowling):
"Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home."
"No stories live unless someone wants to listen."

Now...for the real topic of this blog post.

Harry Potter is my childhood. I still remember the exact day so many years ago when I read the first book. I was seven years old and my mom and I were living in an apartment at the time. My male cousin had read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and, knowing that I was a huge reader, passed it on to me. My mom decreed that she would read it first and then, if she deemed it appropriate for me, I would be allowed to read it.

She read it, thought it was "okay," and said it was acceptable for me to read. I remember walking into the living room and seeing that battered copy sitting on the glass coffee table. I remember picking it up and feeling the pages underneath my fingers. I tore through the whole thing and that was the beginning of a long and happy relationship.

Over the years, I grew up on the rest of the series. The first book was quickly followed by Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban (my favorite in the series for the longest time), and Goblet of Fire. The details are a little fuzzy on whether or not it Goblet of Fire or Order of the Phoenix was the first book that I had to wait for. I'm relatively sure that it was the former. I do, however, remember coming out of school one day and my mom holding Order of the Phoenix up against the window as she picked me up.

Half-Blood Prince
was my first -- and only -- midnight book release. I remember hugging it against my chest as we stood in line and curling up in bed the moment we got home to read it. Unfortunately, I didn't make it through the first chapter because I had an anti-reading six-year-old staying over in my room and she wanted to go to bed.

Deathly Hallows is the book I remember reading the best. I remember the hours of begging for my mom to take me to the midnight release (she refused and the next day told me that if she'd known there was going to be a party at the bookstore for the release, she would have taken me. I'm still ticked). I remember bouncing on my heels as we went into the bookstore weeks before and put it on pre-order. I remember the excitement as we made the twenty-minute drive to the nearest bookstore first thing in the morning on the day of the release.

I walked out of the bookstore with Deathly Hallows in a bag in my hand. My mom joked that I should read it walking out of the store and believe me, I wanted to. I pulled the book out of the bag and started to read the moment we got into the car. I snapped at my mom when she interrupted my reading. At noon on July 21, 2007, I began to read the final Harry Potter book. At midnight that same night, I turned the final page.

For twelve straight hours, the book consumed me. I stretched out in my bed. And read. I took the book in the bathroom with me. I read while I was eating. I think the only time that book left my hand was the couple minutes it took me to walk to the kitchen, get dinner, and walk back to it. No book has ever made me cry harder. There were times when I was sobbing so hard I stopped reading because I couldn't see the words and pushed my head in the blankets of my bed.

As a girl who's been to the last two midnight movie releases, you can bet your life one way or another, I'll be at this one. My ticket's already in my wallet. I already have plans to watch all seven movies with my best friend and then drive together to the release. I already have plans to dress up as Hermione. I've already started rereading the entire book in preparation.

I'm sad that it's over. I'm sad that I'm never going to get to feel this anticipation to meet my favorite characters again. I know that I'm going to shed more tears this week (heck, I started crying just writing this post). I know I'm going to sob so hard I can't breathe watching the movie.

But I also know that J.K. Rowling's right. Hogwarts will always be there to welcome me home.


Liz. R said...

The premiere was so emotional, JKR's speech almost made me cry... I'm with you on the last movie, I know I'm going to cry like a baby! Can't believe HP is nearly over...but so excited for DH part 2!