Harry Potter – The End of an Era

Warner Bros.

Last night I went to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. As we have for each movie in the past, we were there opening night (regrettably not for the midnight showings), and sat in line for 3 hours in order to get a seat right at the back.
Let me start off by saying, this movie was amazing. In my opinion, it was the best movie in the series without a doubt. It was so good. I have always felt that though they were good, the movies never quite measured up to the books. This one came the closest. I always love the book better than the movie, and Deathly Hallows was my favourite in the series. This movie did the best job in the series of doing justice to the book. Most of the special, most important things in the book were represented in the movie. I cried in the movie during the parts that made me cry in the book. I thought that the trio, Dan Radcliffe in particular, have really grown into themselves and developed their acting skills. Ralph Finnes was superb as Lord Voldemort as usual, and Maggie Smith rocked Professor McGonagall even more than ever before. I cried at the end simply because it was the end.

Joe and I were talking on the way home from the movie last night. I was saying how privileged I felt to have been a part of the Harry Potter experience, almost right from the start. When I first started reading the books, Goblet of Fire (book 4) had just come out. I hadn’t really heard of this Harry Potter thing before that. I started with book one, and devoured two, three and four very quickly. I waited with the rest of the world for the rest of the books. I got so excited when they finally started making movies and showing them in the theatre. To me, the book releases were the most exciting, and I loved going to Chapters at midnight to be one of the first to get a copy. When Deathly Hallows was released, we were on vacation at the lake and I made Joe come with me and we drove all the way back into London to be there. I tried to pace myself but couldn’t, and spent the weekend being incredibly anti-social, reading by the pool, with everyone looking at me like I was an idiot as I blubbered my way through the chapter where Harry goes out to the forest.

At least when the books were done, there were still a few movies to look forward to. I think that’s why I was so emotional last night. Until now, there was always something more to look forward to. Now there’s nothing. It’s done. No more book releases. No more opening nights. Nothing new. I am looking forward to Pottermore, JK Rowling’s new website that will have tons of Potter content, as well as loads of new stuff. But it won’t be the same. It will never be the same.

That’s why I said that I felt so privileged to be a part of it. Someday, if Nicholas’ love of reading develops as I hope it does, he may read the Harry Potter books himself. Maybe he’ll want me to read them with him. Either way, he will definitely be exposed to the series. But he won’t experience the excitement that I have been fortunate enough to be a part of. He’ll be able to finish one book and pick up the next, without the agonizing wait. I know there may be other series, other phenomenons, but there will never be another Harry Potter. So many kids that never normally used to read have picked up books and read because of this series. So many adults that never read have done the same. It has made a worldwide impact like no other. All ages. Our group alone last night ranged in age from 29 to 66. And the range of the people at the theatre was larger even than that. Young or old, there is obviously something for everyone.

I am fortunate enough to have a friend that really gets it. Karen and I have been friends since high school, and she has been to the book releases with me, sat with me in line at the theatre, cried with me at the end. She and I texted back and forth all day yesterday because we were both so excited about the movie. She has read the books. She knows. Our significant others don’t. Her boyfriend has read some of the books. Joe hasn’t read any. They don’t get it. Not like we do. I’m so glad I have one person that understands. It may sound corny, but it’s true.

I can only hope that Nicholas will be caught up in a whirlwind that even slightly measures up to Harry Potter. I hope that he experiences the excitement for something like that. I will love to see the day when he drags me to Chapters at midnight (though I probably won’t need to be dragged) to get a first copy of a new book that is out. To see him excited about a book would make my day as a parent like few other things could.

So yesterday I said farewell to Harry Potter. Though I doubt it’s goodbye forever. I still have the books on my shelf, waiting to be re-read someday very soon. I still have the movie collection that will be complete when this one comes out on DVD. There is also the theme park that I need to get to soon. The magic of Harry Potter will never die, it will remain a classic and a joy for many generations to come. I can see myself sitting on a porch at age 70, retired, re-reading the series for the 100th time.

To all my fellow muggles who shed a tear last night as well, I get it, and am glad there are so many others that do.