Today, Harry Potter (the character) turned 30 (and J K Rowling just turned 45)! To celebrate, I am going to do some Potter posts for the week.
I have one favor to ask you. All week I will be sharing how Harry Potter has impacted me, and Friday I want to share the impact it has had on others. If you want to participate, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me how the book has impacted you! Thanks!
Tomorrow: Fun quiz
Monday: Top Moments
Tuesday: Wizard Rock
Thursday: Books vs Movies
This is all very last minute, but I thought it would be fun to think about the series! So onto today’s post.
I am one of those annoying people who takes some satisfaction in the fact that I read the first two books before Harry Potter became a phenomenon in the United States. My mom and I were both known by all of the librarians since she was a teacher and I got out at least twelve books every time I was there. They had gotten a lot of buzz about the first two books in a series about “an orphan who finds out he is a very famous wizard”. They told us about it and I got them both out that day. A few days later I was back, asking when the next one would come out. My mom also read them and loved them right away. Luckily, we didn’t have to wait long for Prisoner of Azkaban, and read it right away.
I was in love with the series right away. I was twelve when I was reading it, so I really felt like I could understand the characters and some things they were going through, other than the magic! We bought the first three books because I kept rereading them and speculating about what would happen next.
I still remember the day Goblet of Fire came out. Amazon had set up that if you pre-ordered the book, you would get it the day it was released. I spent all day waiting for the mail truck to come. At age 13, I had never been so excited for any release. The mail truck finally got to our house while my mom was in the backyard so I ran out and got the package. My mom heard the truck also and had come out to the front. I tried to to rush past her, but we ended up playfully wrestled for the book. Since I read so fast, my mom ended up letting me read it first. I only stopped reading to eat dinner. I stayed up until after midnight to finish it (and for me then, it was really late!).
By the time Order of the Phoenix came out, I had just started looking into the online fandom. I read theories and started chatting with some people online about the books. A lot of my friends also read and loved the books, so we would spend time talking about them. My mom and I continued to bond over our loved for Harry, Ron, and Hermione.
I graduated from high school in 2005, and was rewarded about a month later with Half Blood Prince. By this time, I was going to Mugglenet and The Leaky Cauldron daily and trying to find everything I could and talk to as many people as I could about the books. I spent the next two years immersing myself into the community, making friends, and trying to figure out what would happen in the final book. I also started listening to wizard rock (music about Harry Potter, more later this week) and making friends online based just on Harry Potter. It was just amazing.
I didn’t get to go to a midnight release party because I was finishing up a summer job in Washington DC (literally, it was our last night with students). When all the kids were gone, I headed to the airport and bought my copy. I was at the airport really really early because I was forced to take the last shuttle provided by work, but it ended up being a blessing. I finished reading the book ten minutes into the drive home from the airport. I cried so many times during that book. It was so interesting being at an airport that day. I would said 1 in 3 people either had or were reading the book. When I was sitting for a couple hours by my gate, there we four of us in a row reading it. I saw one start tearing up and tried to see if they were further than I was. It felt like all these strangers were a part of a community sharing our final hours with this great series.
Since then, I have become even more involved in the community. I have gotten into wizard rock more (and gone to several concerts). I went to a conference. I am planning on going to another conference. I met people from around the world who I talk to and are some of the most amazing people I have ever met. I have seen creativity that i could not imagine and have discussed issues with rooms full of strangers. I have broken down at the end of an event and made a room full of people cry (sorry guys).
I look forward to talking to you all more about Harry Potter and everything!