Sunday, July 24, 2011

The End of an Era

"Don’t you ever wonder what
Will happen when it ends
How can we let go of the
Ones who we call friends
And I know, it’s only a story, but
For so many it’s more than that
It’s a world, all on its own where we
Want to put on the sorting hat

I will miss the train ride in
And the pranks pulled by the twins
And though it’s no where I have been
I’ll keep on smiling from the times I had with them

Could there ever be again
Another one like this
One that’s brought us together and
Started its own music movement

Soon we will see it closed
The final chapter exposed
It’s an end of an era
And I’m seeing clearer
That nothing will ever be the same"

- End of an Era by Oliver Boyd and the Remembralls

This song, if you haven't heard it, find it on YouTube. It sums up how I've been feeling over the past couple of weeks, culminating in my going to see the last Harry Potter film with my sisters.

Harry Potter has been such a big part of my life. I remember how I was first introduced to the series. I was in 5th grade, and I was home sick from school. In my house we don't just use medicine to get better, we also use books, so my Mom came home with a big bag of books for me. One of them was a book with a boy on a broomstick on the front. I had never heard of it. My mom had heard about it on NPR, so she bought it for me. I was hesitant at first, but once I started I couldn't put it down. I was a Harry Potter enthusiast from that moment on. I dressed up as Harry for Halloween that year and all of the people handing out candy thought I was a witch with a big scar.

Harry Potter is so much more than just great books, though great books they most certainly are. They have created a fandom, a community of enthusiasts. I can now listen to songs about the characters I love (Wizard Rock, you should find some if you haven't heard any yet, such as the band from the song above, or Ministry of Magic, to name a few), as well as watch the movies and listen to the beautiful soundtracks (though, the books will always win in my heart.)

This series has meant so much to me. It's something that I started with my mom, and read to my youngest sister. Now that my mom is gone, having the series come to an end has become really difficult. I cried so much during that last film, especially when Harry is in the forest and he gets to see the ones he loves before he goes on to face his death. Even thinking about it makes me tear up. It's been such a big part of my life for so long, that I'm going to miss it now that it's over.

I also love that the characters are so identifiable. I immediately felt a connection to Hermione, and to this day I still have people tell me that I remind them of her, which always makes me smile. Rowling made it ok for girls to be more than supermodels. Having brains and not being afraid to use them is a quality she gave Hermione, and I will remain eternally grateful that she has created such a great female character for girls to look up to.

The only thing I can think to comfort myself is that one day I will get to share these books that have meant so much to me with my children. I am a proud member of the Harry Potter generation, and it makes me a little sad to know that my children will not get to experience these books as I did, because I think having to wait made reading them so much more rewarding. And I got to grow up with the series. I started reading in 5th grade, but the series didn't come to its end until I was in college. I remember thinking as a 5th grader that I would be "old" when the last book came out, and I knew I would still be just as excited.

And I was. And I still am. I read at least one of them every year. And reading the entire series annually may become a tradition.