Saturday, July 16, 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, or, Why My Childhood is Over

First of all I have to say that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 was the best movie of them all in my opinion. It's the only movie that has completely exceeded my expectations. Sure, there are parts that I might have changed, but as far as movie interpretations go, it was amazing. There was constant action, but it didn't get boring. They were good about showing all the characters and what was going on. The death scenes were sad, but not so much that it distracted from the rest of the movie. There were some funny parts. It was amazing, and it's one of the only movies ever that I have been willing to pay again to see in theaters.

This post is not just gushing about HP 7.2, though. This is about the role the Harry Potter books played in my own life. I read the first book when I was eleven, almost twelve. My sixth grade reading teacher decided that Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone would be a good read for us, and I will forever be thankful to her for that. I don't know where she is or what she's doing, but Ms. Bee, I owe you one.

Anyway, around chapter 3 or 4 I was fully invested in Harry and his future. I got annoyed when people mispronounced the characters' names. I was personally offended when somebody belittled Harry or hurt his feelings. I was nervous and excited for him, I was happy when he made new friends, I was relieved when he got Sorted into Gryffindor.

I grew up with Harry, Ron, and Hermione. Starting with Goblet of Fire, I was at every midnight showing of every movie and every midnight launch of every new book. I read the books as soon as I got home and didn't stop until I finished, sometimes as long as 30 hours later with no sleep and little food. I was devoted to Harry because he could be there for me in a way only a fictional character can. Fictional characters are solid and unchanging. Every time I open Sorcerer's Stone to page 148, there he is, hopping on a broom and figuring out for the first time that there IS something he was naturally good at, there was actually a place he fit in after all. Harry's dependable and honest. He doesn't always make rational decisions, he gets angry, he gets embarrassed. That's life. He's misunderstood, but not as much as he thinks he is.

When I started reading those books, I was a kid in every way. I went from kid to adult pretty quickly, because while most kids use middle school as the transition period, I pretty much stayed a child until I got to high school. I watched cartoons, enjoyed "Overall Day" and inside jokes involving Cheerios with my friends. We made food sculptures in the cafeteria at school. We didn't care about our hair, makeup, or being popular. Then came high school, and new friends who were older, and a whole lot more responsibility. My sister left, I got my driver's license, I had a boyfriend (the one I'm going to marry in just a few months). Then in college, my grandmother died, my sister got married, I picked a new major, I got back with my old high school boyfriend. Things changed a lot, but Harry stayed the same. New books and movies were still coming out, so I still had things to look forward to the way a little kid looks forward to Christmas. I felt like a 6-year-old every time something new came out.

That's over now. No more new Harry Potter books or movies. The days of staying up for 30 straight hours to read an 800-page book in one sitting are done. The days of waiting an hour in line to get into a theater for a midnight showing are done. Friday morning, at about 2:15 a.m., when the credits started rolling, I said goodbye for good to that excitement, the innocence, and the childlike wonder that only Harry could give me. My only comfort comes from the fact that he's not gone; he just won't change with me anymore. Harry is stuck in time, and I keep going on. But when I need him, I just have to pick up a book or put on a DVD and he'll be there, solid as always, just like he always has been.

Topic for next post: Why the title, "Ambiguously Ambitious."

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