I really don’t know what has started this, but lately I am falling back into my Harry Potter obsession. I have a new goal for this year: re-read all seven books. Anyone that follows me on Pinterest has probably noticed a whole bunch of random pins, even a board dedicated to the HP fandom. Every time one of the movies is on, my husband and I watch it for a least a little bit (he is a movies only fan but I love him anyway lol). There is a connection I feel with these books, this world that I don’t really have with any other.
I actually started reading the books when Goblet of Fire was being released. I was sixteen vacationing in Florida with my parents, brother, and aunt and we kept noticing huge signs in store advertising this book. I had never heard of them before. My aunt was actually working part time at Boarders at the time so I asked her about it. She said it was this huge children’s book about a wizard. They were even having a release party at her store.
I remember the exact moment on this trip when I decided that I wanted to read these books. In Disney World, I saw a display of the books in the gift shop for the Tower of Terror ride. I picked up Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and just was lazily flipping the pages. A little boy, not much older that maybe seven saw me. He walked right up and told me what a good book it was and that I should read it. I thanked him and asked my aunt to get me a copy of the first book with her discount so I could see what this was all about.
While they may not admit to it, my mom and brother teased me a little for wanting to read a “kid book.” I just said I wanted to know what the big deal was. My aunt assured me that she had seen people of all ages reading the book.
I fell in love with this fantastic world and story pretty quickly. I was not – nor am I still – the biggest fantasy fan. There was something about Harry and Hogwarts that was so different that I found myself lost in this world. I gave the book to my brother and he also quickly devoured it. He passed it on to my mom. We became fans then and there. I will admit my brother read the next three much quicker than I did. I even remember having to buy Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix while we were in Alaska on another vacation in 2003 because he could not wait to get home to get a copy. He read it in just a few days and I was grateful he had bought so that I got to read it, too.
My favorite book in the series still is Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Sirius Black is my favorite character in the series. I remember my shock while reading Goblet of Fire at the end when Voldermort returned and Cedric was killed for no reason. Of course, I was crushed in Order of the Phoenix when the character who was killed was my favorite. Half-Blood Prince made me question everything I thought I knew about characters, especially Snape, my third favorite character after the twins. I remember sharing theories with fans and reading message boards and even dabbling in some Fanfiction writing to figure out where it was going. The Deathly Hallows was a blur of tears from the moment Dobby sacrificed himself for Harry until the last page. Losing Fred was such a shock I reread the page at least three times hoping it wasn’t true. I could not read but a few lines at a time when Harry was walking into the forest to meet his death willingly. And Neville standing up to Voldermort. And the end. (And let’s not forget doing it all again in the movies – after seeing part 1 and completely losing it, I think my husband, who was my boyfriend at the time, did not know what to do with me and was truly concerned.)
My brother and I shared a special bond in this. We went to midnight release parties for Half-Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows. We each had to buy our own copies. I remember racing home after buying the books and staying up to begin reading until we could no longer keep our eyes open (he always finished before me). These books also made my brother a reader again. He stopped reading in middle school. When he discovered Harry Potter, he reread them over and over and over again, stating they were the only books he would ever read. I am happy to say he is a very avid reader now and I know it is thanks for Harry Potter. While we have different tastes, we share titles we have read with one another and still find some we have in common.
I actually had to go to my brother’s to get a copy of a couple books so I can reread them this year. As he grabbed Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone from his book shelf, I stated I was pretty sure that was my book. He said no, he had claimed it from me so now it was his. It really is that first copy my aunt bought for me back in 2001. The binding is coming apart from being passed around and reread so many times. It seems perfect that this book would be in that shape; it is a visual symbol for how much we loved and still love this story.
The books and movies took up 10 years of my life and have shaped me into the reader I am today. I look forward to revisiting this world once again.
Are you a Harry Potter fan as well? What book or series stands out in your mind as making you the reader you are today?