Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Summer goes on and Harry Potter Mania

Wow, it's been awhile since I've been on here! Sorry, I hope some of you peeps are still out there!

I don't know about you, but I'm flipping my lid, ready for the last Harry Potter movie. In fact, since I wasn't able to attend the really cool "Potter Week" where you can watch every movie in the theater before the midnight premiere, I'm running one at home. I watched the first two last night, got through "Prisoner of Azkaban" this morning, and tonight it's on to "Goblet of Fire!"

I want to take a moment to look at how much these guys have grown up through the series:

How crazy is that? Watching a Behind the Scenes, Emma Watson said when she got the part at 9 years old, she was still losing baby teeth. Daniel Radcliffe said he was in the bath when he found out; his parents hadn't wanted him to audition.

Check these out as well:

Yeah, it's a bit of a difference.

I've loved Harry Potter since my sister introduced it to me. I remember soaring through the first book, and then when I saw the first movie--which happened when me, my sister, her husband, and their oldest daughter had just got back into town from Kansas City and barely made the evening show--I was blown away. I took to the books like a crackhead. And to this day, they remain a pure joy for me.

What drew me in was not only the great style of writing (it appeals to both kids and adults, which is an amazing draw by itself), but of course the characters. Young Harry, finding out he's a wizard, being held back by his wizard-hating Muggle aunt and uncle, developing a hero complex and being thrust into adventure after adventure. The others--Ron, Hermione, McGonagall, Hagrid, Moody, Tonks, Lupin, Snape, Fred, George, Mrs. Weasley, Ginny, Malfoy, Lucius, Voldemort--every one was just as fascinating as the next. I could identify a bit with every one.

I remember going to the bookstore at midnight for the release of "Order of the Phoenix," the fifth book. And then the sixth, "The Half-Blood Prince." By the time the last book came out, I was working at Waldenbooks, and worked the midnight release. We announced to everyone that if one person spoiled the book for anyone else, there would be hell to pay. Seeing those sealed up boxes for days, and not being able to open them, had been hell.

It was such a bittersweet moment when I got to read "Deathly Hallows." I was dying to know what happened, and sad that the journey was over. I remember holding my breath, racing through the book even though I wanted to go slow and savor it.

It takes me away to a great place, where magic is what most people imagine it to be, where friendship, loyalty and bravery go toe to toe with maliciousness, cruelty, and revenge. Each character is flawed. That's a great thing. And I know so many who have grown up with the characters as well.

Now, I have an even better relationship with the series: it's helping my autistic son tap into his imagination. Yesterday, out of the blue, he took my besom (broom) off the wall, and began riding it as we watched "The Sorcerer's Stone." He then became frantic to find a pair of glasses, and then pointed at his forehead. I promptly took my eyeliner and gave him a lightning bolt on his forehead. For over half an hour, he flew along with Harry as he played Quidditch--changing into a red shirt as we do not yet have a cloak for him--and it was marvelous to watch. He would recite along with the movie at parts, and it made my heart burst with joy.

As any parent of a special needs child knows, it can be damn hard to connect with your child, much less get into their imagination. The fact that Harry Potter is helping my son do just that, it goes beyond words for me.

So as I go along with my Potter-thon at home, preparing for the Double Dose of "Deathly Hallows Parts 1 and 2" on Thursday, I have to say: Thank you, J.K. Rowling. You created a world that is always going to live on. It is a place adults and children alike can love and escape into, and it brings people together (even if my husband hates it). Thank you for what you made. It is something I think all we writers and would-be writers aspire to do.

Share your thoughts! What does Harry Potter mean to you? What's your favorite Potter memory/quote/scene/character?

The twins have really grown on me. And looking at the fabulous James and Oliver Phelps, can you really wonder why? /laugh/ I loved the characters, thought Fred and George were great. The fact that the actors are not exactly hard on the eyes is a bonus.

So here's one more, because they're just so damn handsome: