Harry Potter Withdrawal

I had packed up my dorm room at the end of my freshman year at Indiana University, and my roommate had already gone home for the summer. My sister had given me a book to sell online, but it hadn’t gone for the reserve price she wanted, so it was the only thing sitting on my desk. My dad had come down and taken almost all of my stuff back to Lafayette the weekend before, so I had literally nothing else in my room. I picked up the book and said, “Well, I’ll read the first chapter.” The next thing I knew, I was on chapter 6. The year was 2001. The book was Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I’ve been hooked ever since.

Now, only the first four books were out when I started reading the HP series. I borrowed the next three books from my friend Karen when I got back to Lafayette. Ask anyone who knows me…when I like a book, I can read very quickly. I finished those books within two days. Then I had to wait until 2003 for Order of the Phoenix. But thank God I had the movies to ease the pain!

The first HP film debuted in November 2001, only months after I had read the first book. I saw the movie six times in the theater. Yes, six times. I think I dragged my little sister, then 13 years old, to it about three times over my winter break. Thank you, Laura, for being so understanding. Then again, I was paying…so maybe she got a pretty good deal after all.

The second HP film came out in 2002, before book five. I didn’t see it six times, but I did “convince” my boyfriend (now husband), David, to see it with me. He took me to the movies and when we got there informed me we were seeing Jackass: The Movie. I had expressly told him I had zero interest in seeing that movie, but he took me anyway. I promptly returned to the ticket counter and pre-ordered two tickets for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. If I had to see Jackass, he had to see HP2.

The fifth book was finally released in the summer of 2003. I had stayed at college that summer to work at the food court and take some extra classes. Never has a work shift seemed so long as the day I got that book. I was literally bouncing up and down, eager to get home and read my book. I read it straight through, all 870 pages of it.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is both my favorite book and favorite movie of the HP series. The movie came out in 2004, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  It is still my favorite of the movies.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – the book – was released the summer of 2005. I was in Bermuda with my future husband, brother-in-law, and father-in-law. When were walking through the airport to go home, we passed bookstores with the book on display. But David wouldn’t let me buy it because I had a pre-ordered copy waiting for me at home. My future mother-in-law had picked up both my and my brother-in-law’s pre-orders. I was perfectly happy with having two copies, but apparently it wasn’t to be.

The last book was released in July 2007. I waited at the bookstore by my apartment at midnight for my pre-ordered copy. David and our friend Jim waited with me (thanks, guys!). I finished the book at 7:30 am that same morning. While I was sad it was the last book, I knew I had more movies to look forward to.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was released on July 15, 2009 (after being pushed back from its original release date of November 21, 2008).

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – the two-part feature – was released on November 19, 2010, and July 15th, 2011.

The whole point of this history is to demonstrate that Harry Potter was a large part of my life for a decade. A DECADE, people. After the last movie came out, I didn’t really know what to do.

I went to the Harry Potter theme park at Universal this past August with my sister, my mom, and my aunt. It was fantastic, but I think we were all in denial that the series was truly over.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 2 was released on DVD on November 11, 2011. I watched it that night.  When it ended, I just sat there.  There is nothing new coming out; the series is truly over. I didn’t know what I was going to do.  They will probably release several different versions of the books and DVDs because that is just what they do. (Star Wars is the prime example here.)

But…I will always have my books…and my movies…and my board games…and my throw blanket…. (You get the picture.) I can host Harry Potter wine and cheese parties for my fellow HP fans. I can go to the theme park. My children can have a Harry Potter nursery (shut up, David). All in all, I am grateful for the last decade.

Is there anyone else out there with similar feelings or experiences around the phenomena that is Harry Potter?  Let me know!

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