I’m torn: go down to the Book 7 festivities or not? I thought that going down to the bookstore at midnight would be fun and something my fellow Potter-crazy friends and I could do together.
But now? Now, physician I’m paranoid.
Paranoid that someone is going to not respect my desire to conclude the story in my own way: with my own eyes and imagination. Paranoid that someone is going to yell out the ending because some jerkface somewhere decided to leak Book 7 online.
Now, caries not everyone understands my love for this series. As I sit here in my homemade “Dumbledore’s Army” t-shirt I can understand that it is something I have become increasingly passionate about over the last couple years and is, skincare perhaps, a little out of hand.
The first time I read Harry Potter I was living in Scotland for six months – although technically the first time I read it I was having an extremely long stop over at Gatwick airport either getting back to or going away from Scotland. The details about that, and so many other things from that time, are very hazy. I had heard about the books – Books 1 & 2 were already in paperback – and, being a lover of children’s literature I picked up The Philosopher’s Stone to while away the time between flights. I can pretty much say I was hooked from that moment on. I expected it to be fun but I didn’t expect it to be so… well… good. I couldn’t wait to read the next one, which I quickly did – but then the waiting began. There was no way I could afford to buy Book 3 in hardcover so I had to wait to return to Canada and read my nephew’s copy.
Now, I guess for some things it is true: waiting did make my heart grow fonder. And it just so happens that every book, at least since Goblet of Fire, has come out in July right around the time of my nephew’s birthday. So every birthday since then I have bought him a copy and then harassed him to read it quickly so I could get my hands on it. (Obviously for Book 7 there will be no waiting, this year the nephew and I go together to pick up our books.)
Book 4 came out shortly after I moved back to Canada. My life between Books 4 & 5 wasn’t so great: I broke up with a long-term boyfriend, had a bit of a nervous breakdown, moved in and out of my sister’s place numerous times, started and quit numerous jobs. I was your typical post-University nightmare.
For me, everything stops with the lead-up to a new Potter book. I have been calling it the literary event of the century and it really is – at least thus far. In the lead up to a new book I have to reread all the previous books and get so engrossed I often forget to eat and ignore pretty much everything and anyone around me. Luckily I was reacquainted with a wonderful friend prior to the release of Book 5. He must be wonderful because, besides being terribly cute and a good kisser, he stayed with me after a family trip to the cottage that fell in the middle of the Book 5 release and didn’t even complain when I completely ignored him for two days to read it. We were married between Books 5 & 6 and I went back to school to become a journalist. Now, whenever I have an overwhelming need to reread the series, he will make sure food appears beside the couch occasionally so I don’t fade away.
It is hard to quantify all of the changes that have come about because of reading Harry Potter. For example, I changed career paths and went from wanting to be an actress to being an environmental journalist and writer. I also decided that having a ramshackle house full of redheaded children is much more important than having a fancy and/or clean home. Maybe they are both due to reading the series – and maybe not. What I do know is that my life, since that fateful day at the airport has improved 10-fold and the series has just gotten better and better. As I finish writing this I am getting ready to pick up my copy of Book 7 at midnight. As Harry himself knows, a person can’t hide herself away from her friends just because there are evil people in the world. One has to keep living. And reading.
I wrote this essay for Since Harry, a website that asks you how your life has changed in the 10-years since the book has come out. Check it out and take the survey.