Growing Up With 'Harry Potter': A tribute to the end of an era
SALT LAKE CITY — As the final "Harry Potter" movie is scheduled to be released, I have felt an unexpected sadness leading up to the date. It almost feels like I am losing a friend. To many people who have not read the books, the "Harry Potter" series may seem childish or nerdy. I, sadly, used to be one of these people. But ever since I discovered the books when I was 13, I too have been captivated by their magic. I was reading the books when they were first being released, and I have stuck with them to the end. I have literally grown up with not only the series but with Harry Potter, the character. These books initially gave me the passion I have for writing, which in turn led to pursuing a degree in creative writing. I can proudly and unashamedly say that I am 24, a wife and a mother of two, and an avid "Harry Potter" fan.
I discovered the magic of "Harry Potter" when I was in eighth grade. My mom and I were driving to Provo from Nevada to visit my grandparents when my mom took "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone" from her purse and handed to me. She said, “I picked up this book for you. I thought you might like it.” I remember my response because, for one thing, it was a rather bratty reply, and for another, I was about to eat my words.
“Mom, 'Harry Potter' is what the dorky kids read. It looks so stupid, and I don’t want people to think that I read it. That’s embarrassing!” I turned and stared out the window.
“Chelsea, just read the first chapter and see what happens," my mom said. "Humor me.”
While rolling my eyes, I very reluctantly took the book and looked at the cover. A geeky-looking boy with glasses, riding on a broomstick? Yeah, this is bound to be a good book, I thought with plenty of sarcasm.
I began reading the first chapter, snorting at the weird names (Dumbledore? McGonagall?), and scoffing at the pretend magical world. Yet, to my embarrassment, I approached the end of the chapter very intrigued.
“How is it so far?” my mom asked with a smile on her face.
“Umm, it’s alright, I guess,” I lied. I continued to the end of the first chapter and read, "To Harry Potter, the boy who lived!” I got goosebumps. I was hooked.
I almost finished "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone" by the time we reached Provo. I asked my mom if I could get the other books, and we found out my sister owned them but had never read them. I spent the next two weeks with my nose in a book. My family had to physically drag me into the kitchen to eat or spend time with them. I actually earned the name “Chelsea Potter” because all I would do was read those books.
After devouring the fourth book and begging my mom to take me to the bookstore to get the next one, we were told that the fifth book hadn’t even been written yet. You can imagine my devastation. There was nothing for it but to read all of them over again and again, and again.
I didn’t tell anyone at school about my summer with "Harry Potter." I was still too embarrassed that I was reading a children’s series about wizards, magic and muggles. But I soon found out that one of my good friends, Mary, liked "Harry Potter," too. A real person to talk about theories with! What’s going to happen? Will Harry have to fight Lord Voldemort (oops!) He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named? Will Harry ever date Cho? We kept our nerdy secret between ourselves.
Then we heard they were making a movie! I called Mary up and we made plans immediately to go it the first night it came out. It totally met our expectations.
“Hagrid is exactly how I imagined him,” Mary exclaimed.
“Harry, Ron and Hermione were awesome,” my 14-year-old self agreed.
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