I just finished watching the full recording of the live coverage of the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 premiere, and I’ve been thinking about my history with the books, films and how the series relates to me…
Over a decade ago my mum started reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone to me. I was an overactive child who couldn’t (and still can’t) concentrate on reading for too long, so it was quite a hassle for mum to try and help me read this book. We finished it, and then moved onto Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. But I wasn’t a strong reader, and I mucked around too much as my mum tried to read the book to me, so that was the last one we read together. I can still remember how I used to climb all over my bunk bed as she sat on the bottom bunk reading the book to me.
The films soon followed with the first coming out in 2001, with the scene where Hagrid enters on his flying motorcycle still staying with me to this day. Then I vividly remember seeing Chamber of Secrets with my grandparents, since we arrived rather late to the cinema – we entered just as the bars were yanked off of Harry’s bedroom window.
The next year, a friend of mine named Lauren challenged me to a race, to see who could finish the third installment of the Potter saga first. I got a good way through it, enjoying the book and competition of the race. But when she beat me I felt defeated and didn’t finish. Luckily the film came out a few weeks later (Since we’d picked up the book a tad late) and I was quite content watching the Potter saga unfold before me on the big screen.
When the fourth book came out, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, I was shocked by its size and knew I wouldn’t read it. I was a lazy child who suffered with a lack of motivation to read, and wasn’t a very strong reader either. So, I watched from Goblet of Fire ’till the Half-Blood Prince on the big screen, assuming that every plot point was carefully translated to the big screen. This of course was a silly assumption, since so much had to be cut out of the books to make them into films.
I did really enjoy the films though. The imagery in the films was so magical and inspirational. Goblet of Fire still remains my favourite film of the saga, simply due to the variety in the film. There were two new schools, a major sporting event, four completely different challenges in the Tri-Wizard Tournament and a grand death and birth scene – the film was filled with such a plentiful narrative and such a vast variety of imagery. I loved it!
Then with the Order of the Phoenix you could really sense that shift into the adult world. It was much darker and much more full on, and this atmosphere continued into Half-Blood Prince. I’m not sure if it’s due to the narrative of the books, or the change of director. But you could certainly see a shift in the visual style of the films in Order of the Phoenix, with the Potter world becoming much darker. I can remember seeing Half-Blood Prince with a friend named Emily, who I met at my drama class – we sat far too close to the screen. But it was fun hanging out.
Then last year, at the grand age of sixteen I had finally picked up the ability to read for more than an hour, and after watching (many, many times) the documentary of J.K. Rowling’s life as she wrote the last book (Which was included on the DVD for Half-Blood Prince) I was inspired to read the final book before seeing it on the big screen. But for this to be worthwhile I had to go back to the Goblet of Fire and read from there onwards, to learn of all the brilliant plot strands that unfortunately had to bed cut from the film. So I picked up the Goblet of Fire and a month or so later I finished Deathly Hallows, and I loved every single book!
I instantly became full of regret for not reading them as soon as they came out, and my admiration of J.K. Rowling grew enormously. Her ability to write such a complex narrative amazed me! Things that we first perceived as minor suddenly became of the utmost importance in later books, and the whole narrative has clues and links spread throughout the seven books that are so intricate and well thought out – it’s amazing! It all flowed so beautifully, and her characters were so different and interesting, with funny little quirks and appearances that made them memorable. Also, her writing was a pleasure to read and kept me hooked. If only I had the motivation to read at a younger age, I could have had the creative nourishment and inspiration these novels have given me much earlier in life. Alas, you can’t change the past. But I sure am glad that I finally managed to read all of the books, since they really are amazing!
And now, as the final Harry Potter film is due for release, with the premiere already over in London, I begin to relate Harry Potter to my life. It’s very sad to see this brilliant franchise end, since I’ve become very, very attached to it over the years. It’s been the only series that has made me want to read. Then the films have inspired me so much, really making me want to get into the exciting world of the film industry, and the actors themselves have become great inspirations to me, especially Emma Watson and her passion for knowledge. But I’m not only saying goodbye to Harry Potter. This is my final year of high school, a place I have grown and become at home in for five years, and I also say goodbye to my childhood, as I turn 18 this year.
It’s weird; I never found the thought of entering the adult world scary until this final year of my childhood. I always saw the adult world as an inevitable thing. But I never truly thought about it. Now I’m suddenly going to be thrown into an entirely new environment, gain a huge list of responsibilities and I don’t want to let go of my childhood. I can’t rely on my parents for everything, I’m not going to be sitting those familiar high school exams next year, I won’t be in my own home next year, nor will I have any of my friends around me at my new school. The whole framework of my childhood is going to be stripped away from me. I’ve been sad about the end of Harry Potter for a while now. But soon I’ll have to focus on the end of my childhood. I have a sudden appreciation for things I’ve taken for granted my entire childhood, so I’m really trying to make the most of these last few months of my childhood and attempt to brace myself for the impact of adulthood. Just as Harry Potter when forth to face Voldemort, leaving his friends, school and childhood behind him, I must too leave everything and go and face adulthood.
This was a blog I wanted to write just to get my thoughts down in text. It’s quite a self-indulgent blog, so I don’t expect many will read it. But if you do, thank you.