Thursday, 7 July 2011

'Whether it's by page or screen, Hogwarts will always welcome you home.'

I’m typing this and watching Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 Premiere Special. And I’ve already watched the last 15 minutes of the live stream. And my cheeks are barely dry.

But why the hell am I crying?! It seems absolutely ridiculous, as deep down I’m repulsed by what a huge franchise the whole thing has become, and I thank God that I’m not JK Rowling. A question, then: what does Harry Potter mean to me?

I first read Harry Potter quite tentively – and only because my brother was reading it. Soon, of course, I was absolutely absorbed in the world of Harry Potter. There were moments when, if my life got too hard, I would dive in Harry Potter, in my own head – a quiet girl of Gryffindor/Ravenclaw – and imagine a wizarding community on the Isle of Wight.

Since picking up the books, I have made a point of re-reading the entire series every summer. I read The Prisoner of Azkaban in between scooping ice creams. As every book came out, I had to wait an agonizing night for my brother to finish them before me. I can remember staying up all night waiting for Nick to finish Deathly soon as he put it outside my bedroom door I was on it. Unfortunately, my last summer wasn’t my best, and I didn’t read Harry Potter, and that's one of the reasons that last summer was so crap, because it was something I really used to look forward to - to beat my personal bests at how long I took to read them, the morbid lists I created, titled, 'People who die in Deathly Hallows'. And, not so morbid, 'Alliterative names'. I love making lists.

Then again, I am terrified of re-reading them, because, although impossible it seems, I must have learnt something about writing since coming to university. Immersive – but good writing? I’m not so sure. But – maybe I don’t give a shit about the writing. I bet I would still get that absoloute gleeful, heart racing feeling as various twists appear, as the books conclude.

The question still remains – what does Harry Potter mean to me?

Sure, it’s probably affected people a lot more than it has me. It keeps on being mentioned that Harry Potter encouraged people to read. I’ve never really had a problem with this, but that is probably the one thing I envy about JK Rowling.  It’s allowed people to really dive into their imaginations, to even lose themselves. Sometimes, too much.

But to me? Harry Potter was obviously a huge part of my childhood. I belong to a Potter generation. As the films have developed, I have grown up knowing the cast are the same age as me, though of course they are impossibly untouchable. I envy Emma Watson because she is clever and beautiful. She’s so famous, one of the richest young women ever, and she’s the same age as me. That’s all I can really think of...although Harry Potter hasn’t really affected my life, it’s affected somebody else’s, and they are the same age as me, yet live a completely different life. It just shows that in life theres so many different options, so many paths, that everything is open to you. All you have to do is dream it. 

Does it seem strange that it's all coming to an end? I know that really it'll never come to an end, and as JK said, the title of this post, 'Whether it's by page or screen, Hogwarts will always welcome you home.' That's what really made me cry.  It'll probably hit me hard when I watch the final film in the cinema. I remember finishing the final book and thinking - that's it. That's done. When I watched LOTR 3, having being so absorbed in that world, that seemed incredibly hard... I was devastated that it was over. That excitement is building again with the Hobbit. With HP I don't think this will be possible, but that isn't a bad thing. JK has got all the Pottermore stuff coming up, which will keep people in tune, which will keep the money rolling.

I think that JK Rowling has created an amazing world from which so much can be grown. All those stories untold. It’s like she’s really telling the world to imagine. That’s what this kind of thing can do – that’s the message they can tell, and ultimately, what I would like to express in my writing.

I can’t imagine what life would be like without Harry Potter. More mundane, perhaps?

Not so...sigh, I apologise for the cliché...magical.

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