Friday, November 19

Harry Potter and the Devoted Fan

Now that my post-audition high has worn off a little bit, I'm sad to have missed out on a Harry Potter midnight, the first time I've not been there since the very first one they ever did. To console myself, I've decided to write out my addiction for all the world to see.

My experience begins in the 6th grade with my fabulous English teacher Sherri Ryan. She came into our class and said Scholastic had just sent this new book to the school and she was going to read it aloud to us. Being an amazingly theatrical person, every character had its own voice and that book came to life more effectively in our classroom than I think even the movies have been able to achieve. It was truly magical. As we neared the end (I’d say it took about a month to get through), people began borrowing the book and taking it home to finish because we were so impatient! I was one of those. The ending shocked and thrilled me and I couldn’t wait to hear Mrs. Ryan depict such a climax. She did not disappoint.

From that point on, there was this small cult of students at my little school who were as obsessed with Harry Potter as the rest of the world would be years later. As for Chamber of Secrets, however, we didn’t really realize they were going to be an entire series. When my mom came home from a trip to Minnesota with the 2nd Harry Potter book she had found in a local children’s bookstore, I was ecstatic. I read it slowly and savored every word (which is funny because it’s probably my least favorite of the series).

By the time we got to the Prisoner of Azkaban, the hype was beginning but hadn’t quite settled in, so there was no midnight release but we still stood in a pretty long line the day it came out. It came out on a school night and I was in 7th grade. We got it around 8pm and I read the entire book that night except for the last chapter because I knew my parents would be mad if they knew I stayed up to read the whole thing.

Goblet of Fire brought the first midnight release! It came out over the summer so we were on our family trip to the beach. My dad took me to the Gulf Shores Walmart and I didn’t put the book down the rest of our vacation (despite being severely judged by everyone else). I finished it in the car ride home and only then realized I had missed most of our beach trip.

I’ll be honest and say I don’t remember too many specifics about Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince releases. By the time those came out, Harry Potter had exploded into full-blown mania and my sister had started reading them as well. We went to the big Barnes and Noble midnight parties for both of these and up until last year’s getting-married-so-I-have-to-simplify cleaning, I still had the little plastic wands and whatnot that I had made at these.

I got Deathly Hallows in Kansas when a group of us took a trip to see my friend Tater. I had warned them that a HP release was not conducive to time for us to be together but they said they could handle it and thought I could too. Wrong. I never put it down. I got ahead of the rest of them and was banned from the room when I would get emotional over a part nobody else had yet read. Not to say that I didn’t sit in the room and contribute to conversations. I even still went out whenever we had something to do (and would actually leave the book in the car – go me!) but I had almost finished the final installment before we even got in the car to go home. Sorry guys.

As much as I adore the movies (and have loved growing up with Daniel Radcliffe), they haven't attached themselves to my soul quite like Rowling's books managed to do. I am quite looking forward to seeing this latest installment on Saturday with my family but until then, I'll continue with the origin of my love - Chapter: The Wedding.

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