Friday, July 15, 2011

The Boy who Lived

It was 2001 and for Christmas I received the first 4 books of Harry Potter from my parents. I was unfamiliar with it as I looked down on an illustration of a boy with round, black rimmed spectacles. "this is a kids book" I said to myself as I flipped it over "My parents still think I'm so young.." I smiled, delighted with the thought and thanked them muchly for the gift. The movie had come out the month before and I wasn't that interested but I'd read anything. I remember one time being so starved for words I read the wrapping on the toilet paper roll. I like to read.

The first book was thin, the skinniest of all 7 books. It was sweet and magical. I was addicted within moments. I had just finished a series of books in regards to the life of a boy named  David Pelzer as well as some Tory Hayden books. I was interested in understanding children's psychology and was working with troubled teens at the time even though I was just a young adult myself. The book started out sadly with Harry basically being victim to child abuse that reminded me of people I had read about in Tory Hayden's books as well as David Pelzer himself but then on a whim all revenge was taken and Harry's worlds turned from horrific to magical. I was captivated. I would sit on the heat registered by the front door of my parents house and wait for PB (my boyfriend at the time) to come pick-me up so we could play. He picked me up every day, from work or from home. I saw him every day. During this time Harry Potter was glued to my hands. I read out loud in the car so I could still continue on with the story but I wanted PB to be involved as well. I remember just flying through all 4 books in a matter of weeks. I would stay up all night reading them, bring them to work and read them on my lunch, leave work read them in the car with PB, go home and read them all night again. The 4th book which was by far the darkest of all them by that point was so exciting near the end I couldn't even read it fast enough. My eyes skimmed across the page at such a rate I'm sure I missed most of the story but I couldn't help it. I couldn't wait for the nano second it took for my eyes and mind to absorb the word. I had to find out what was next. At one point I put the book down and sat on it. PB looked up from his model ships and asked me what was wrong
"I don't want the book to end, it's too good. I can't let it end. I have to stop reading it." He smiled and told me to keep reading. So I did. Finished it. Cried and I reread it again that night.

I was obsessed.

2003, the 5th book came out. I bought it on my way out of the city. I was moving out to the west coast for a while. I remember picking it up the day before I left, I clung on to it as I said goodbye to PB. I was off to meet my friend Brian in Vancouver. I had loads of luggage, I remember telling Brian about Harry Potter in the taxi to the ferry terminal in Nanaimo. Walking onto the ferry I saw another man standing in front of me in the foot passenger area. This was when I met my friend David who to this day keeps me challenged and in check of myself honesty. This would be the last time I would hold this book for some time because Brian would start reading it that night. He read it feverishly the whole time we were on that little island. I think I finally read it a year later in preparation for the 6th book which was due out the following year.

2005 and book 6 was out. I don't remember reading it or even buying it. It was a weird time in my life. My whole life had changed by this point. I funny to me that I can't place the book in my life back then. I might have taken a while to buy it then it may have sat by my bed for some time. I may have taken it to Mexico with me too. I don't remember reading it but it's obvious that I did. WAIT! I have one memory, sitting in Maximes and reading the book. My coworker next to me said to me "Dumbledore dies at the end of it, I read the end while you were drawing up that ring for your client". I quiet shortly after and started managing the goldsmiths at Birks. That may have been the last straw at that place.

2007 the 7th and final book. I'm standing at midnight among thousands of people dressed as Hogwarts Students, witches, wizards, muggles and house elves. I had a plastic Harry Potter wand in my hand and my best friend by my side. We had a pint at the Leaky Cauldron and waited patiently with the other wizarding folk. I was there to buy my book. This book I savored. I read it slowly and with intention. I would sit by the river in my swim suit and read till the sun would go down. MS, my boyfriend at the time had found the whole collection of Harry Potter audio books and given them to me. I've listened to them many times. I have a memory of sitting in the kitchen with my roommate in front of me cutting veggies. He looked at me and said "Just so you know, ***** dies at the end" I stared at him in disbelief, he had read about it on Wikipedia.

In less than a decade I have experienced almost a decades of Harry life, at Hogwarts and saving the world. If you have only seen the movies you are missing the enchantment that is J.K. Rowling. Though the stories are enduring, it's her writing that makes it so. It's a kind of magic all its own. If you're read them or even listened to the audio books (which, by the way is the same narrator who did Pushing Daisy's, I flipped my lid when I heard his voice on that show for the first time) you'll know what I mean.

It would be unfair for there to be more stories of Harry. He's lived a hard life filled with angst and death. To bring him out of his retirement wouldn't be right. It's not sad to move past Harry Potter. Like other books which were loved during their time (Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Narnia, Shakespeare -- just to list a few) they never die. There is a satisfaction that comes at the end of the saga. It doesn't leave you in the lurch about anything. It's perfect so just let it be. Let it be.

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