For twelve years, Harry Potter has been a part of my life. I remember my grandmother buying me the first book when I was ten years old. At that time, I knew very little about the immense popularity of the book, and like many others, I had no clue that it would become such a cornerstone for my childhood. But that is exactly what Harry Potter became.
I remember being immediately enthralled by Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. The enchanting world that J.K. Rowling created was enough to whisk me away from the world I knew, and into something so much more magical. The Harry Potter series was more than just books to me: they were an escape. After a bad day at school or an argument with a friend, I could visit the wonderful place called Hogwarts.
The days before the release of a new book were always filled with anticipation. The nights of the midnight movie releases always exciting. And that is the precise location I found myself in last night from nine o'clock on. I found myself in a crowded theatre with a group of friends I had never met dressed as characters, marching around in plastic Harry Potter glasses and drawing fake lightening bolt scars on our foreheads. The end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two, much like that of every other book and movie, brought me to tears. But this time is was a different kind of tear that I cried. Before it had been tears of sadness at the death of a beloved character made easier by the knowledge that there would be more of the fight against good and evil. Last night, they were tears of goodbye as I looked at the characters I had grown to love sending their own children off to Hogwarts. I felt as though I was saying goodbye to a part of myself I would never truly get back.
The completion of the eighth and final film was a bittersweet moment for me, as I’m sure it was for many. You see for me, the end of the series wasn’t just the end of my magical trips to Hogwarts; it was the end of something that in so many ways, had been my childhood. After spending twelve years of my life reading and rereading the masterpieces Rowling had created, learning how many knuts there were to a sickle, what spells unlocked doors, and truly falling in love with the characters, it is hard for me to imagine a span of my life not looking forward to the next edition.
Looking back at my trip to the bookstore a decade ago, I am filled with delight that my grandmother picked up the small paperback copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, with the young black-haired boy diving for the snitch on the cover. Without these books my childhood would indeed have been very different. Looking into the years that lie ahead of me, there is no doubt in my mind that my copies of the fantastic story of Harry Potter will have a special place on the bookshelf, no matter where life takes me. And, hopefully, one day, my children will slide the old book of the shelf, open it, and immediately be swept away into the same magical world in which I had the honor and pleasure of being able to spend my childhood.