My time with The Boy Who Lived, began in 2004 when my friends and I were hanging out on a lazy summer day. Trying to agree on a film to see, they all decided on Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Knowing absolutely nothing about the world of Harry Potter, I was completely in the dark. Anytime they mentioned “you know who” I bit my thumb and forefinger and whispered, “NO! I do not!”
It was a frustrating experience at first, and then Alan Rickman entered the picture, Gary Oldman showed up, there was time travel, these scary creatures that wanted to suck out your soul, and not to mention the werewolf. The film was fun and adventurous like a kids movie, but with something darker lingering under the surface. After this experience I went back and watched the first two films and anticipated the release of the fourth one. Not convinced enough to read the books, the films were plenty enjoyable. I had spent years giving all my friends a hard time for loving a “children’s” book; it just didn’t feel right to me.
After attending the midnight screening of the fourth film, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and seeing the introduction of Ralph Fiennes’ Lord Voldemort, I had to read the books. Starting with the third book and working my way to the sixth, because the seventh hadn’t been released yet, I eventually went back and breezed through the first two. I’ve tried for years now to convince the cynics around me that this story is GOOD! It’s really good, the older the characters get the more complex the struggles become, internally and externally, it is light and very heavy. This once Harry Potter cynic, became an HP fanatic.
After attending the midnight release of seventh book, I found myself holed up in my room, and with tears and sobs I finished the book in 10 hours. Harry Potter was at the start, for children, then for smart tweens and eventually the last novel was for adults. It would take an extremely cunning and intelligent child to fully grasp the depth of the how this story ends. While reading it, it felt exciting to be there for the last moments. I was there for the moment the world read this tale through to its end, for the first time. The Harry Potter saga is not without its flaws, but those that find them are nitpicking. The seventh installment is story telling of the best kind. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is meditative, and for me, as close to perfection as a story can come. Stephen King said of Harry Potter, “Harry Potter is about confronting fears, finding inner strength and doing what is right in the face of adversity…”, those themes are timeless and universal. King also said after the fifth books installment. “…Harry will take his place with Alice, Huck, Frodo and Dorothy, and this is one series not just for the decade, but for the ages.”
While watching the last installment in the film franchise, all those moments I had while reading the series rushed back to me. During a crucial and beautiful moment in the film, the young boy, probably 9 or 10, sitting down in front of me whispered, “I don’t get it, Mom.” Of course you don’t get it, kid, because this tale’s end is for grown-ups. After seven books, and eight films, I can tell you all about floo powder, Severus Snape, house elves, what happens when it turns out you may be a horcrux and why wizards don’t need flashlights.
I have enough Harry Potter knowledge to fill up Hermione’s little beaded bag. Even though it is unlikely they will see this, I want to say thank you David Yates, the cast and crew of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, for doing the story justice and letting me relive the epic finale one more time. I know I can read the story over , but seeing it come to life on the big screen for the last time, was a moment I relished, because art is something to treasure. Lastly, thank you J.K. Rowling for taking me into the world you created. With a sigh, I say goodbye to Harry and his friends, and when this world gets too dull or real, I will revisit the legend whenever I please.