Harry Potter Ponderings
I am moving soon. Part of that process has been to get rid of everything I own that doesn’t fit in my car. I am having a yard sale this weekend which will consist of some furniture, clothes, and many many books. Tonight’s task was to go through my five book shelves and additional piles and decide what stays and what goes.
Some of it was pretty easy. Most of my theology books are coming with me as well as anything relating to history in Greece, Rome or the rest of the Mediterranean. My kids books, my collection of presidential biographies and autobiographies and my comic books are all going. They were boxed up, loaded up and are ready to sell this weekend.
However, I stared at my collection of Harry Potter books for some time tonight, not sure what I should do with them.
I saw the last movie on Saturday. This was the first of the eight Harry Potter movies that I did not see at midnight. I will blame it on being in Florida and away from home, but there were theatres there too. I could have seen it, but I don’t think I was ready. I almost feel like this one snuck up on me. That is ridiculous of course. I have been counting down since fall 2010 for this movie. I knew exactly when it was coming out. But I just really wasn’t ready.
Finally on Saturday Logan and I went to see it at the Rave. My experience wasn’t unique. This movie is the culmination of many hours spent reading, watching, re-reading and re-watching the same characters since I was in seventh grade, just like everyone else my age. Like I said before, I had seen every movie at midnight, and since book three was at every midnight release party for the books.
I watched the movie and was pleased. Each scene happening as it should and me being just as pleased with its rendering as I was with any of the others. The movie finished and I was satisfied for sure. Even pleased.
Many stories have been done about people my age crying at the last film. Not because it was sad, but because they are sad. There is no sad ending. Harry defeats evil again for the last time and the witching world is restored to its rightful innocence. No major characters die and in the end you see that our core three characters are friends far beyond Hogwarts. The end of the movie is an upbeat one, but the end of Harry Potter itself is a sad one.
Many people interviewed for these stories on NPR and such will say things like, “I grew up with Harry Potter.” Or like my friend Dylan said tonight, “I have been reading Harry since I was 11.” I felt those things too, but also felt something a little deeper than that. Logan told me about a story she had read this week that articulated it a little better. The article said that to people my age, this was the end of our childhood. It was something that we had grown up with, had been alongside us all this time. As we grew up, Harry grew up. But now, Harry has stopped and we must keep going. The literary version of your parents selling the house you grew up in.
I don’t know what I want next from Harry Potter. I know that I can revisit my childhood to some extent at Universal Studios if I want.
I doubt that J.K. Rowling has the ability or desire to spend the rest of her life writing more books about this world (a la The Simarilian and tens of thousands of other pages that Tolkien wrote about Middle Earth and its surrounding lands). Though if she did, I would own the lot.
Logan and I were also talking about how lucky we were to be the Harry Potter Generation, the kids that aged as Harry aged. It is sad however that we won’t be able to give our kids that experience. You can’t give your kid one Harry Potter book a year, starting at 11 and expect them not to finish til they are 20. Furthermore, I know my kids are gong to see most if not all the movies at school by the time they are 13 anyway.
Richard Beck wrote an interesting and funny bit the other day about which Hogwarts House Jesus would have been in which, along with its wonderful comments, is worth reading.
In the end, I put the Potter books in a box to be sold. Maybe they will end up in the hands of a kid who has never read them before. That is the hope anyway. But practically, when you move off to do adult things, some things from your childhood get left behind.