“This boy will be famous. There won’t be a child in our world that won’t know his name. There will be books about him, he will be a legend.”
Of course, Professor McGonagall was talking about the Wizarding World. Little did she know it would be the entire world, muggles and all, who fell in love with The Boy Who Lived.
I suppose I was a little behind the curve. I didn’t start reading the Harry Potter series until I was in the fourth grade and there were already three books. But Merlin’s beard, did I make up for my late start by quickly becoming the unofficial Rogers Elementary Harry Potter guru. I was completely obsessed. My friends and I nicknamed ourselves Moony, Crookshanks, Padfoot and Prongs (I was Prongs. And yes we replaced Wormtail with Crookshanks because who on earth would want to be Wormtail?). We wrote notes to each other in code and talked about broomsticks and wands. I even created a very elaborate, several-page Marauder’s Map, which I think I still have somewhere.
There’s a reason J.K. Rowling is now probably the most well-known author alive. Her books have transported billions of children and adults into the world of Harry Potter. A world where good and evil battle it out and friendship conquers all. A world that has prompted themed birthday parties, complete with butterbeer and cauldron cakes, millions of book reports, countless works of online fan fiction and Youtube endeavors, eight incredibly accurate, enchanting films, and one Orlando theme park that I am dying to go to.
Since the beginning, when I was about 10 years old, I think I’ve read all the books at least three times, spent hours writing my own Potter-related stories, including a complete history of Lord Voldemort’s life (So maybe I’m a Slytherin at heart. Don’t hold it against me. I’m also just truly fascinated by the character.), and dressed up for nearly every midnight book and movie premiere.
So imagine my excitement as I drove four and a half hours last Thursday, through a monsoon, to see the final film installment, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.” I was bouncing in my seat. My new roommate Donna had already sent me two videos of herself playing Harry Potter songs on the piano (I think we’ll get along just fine.). Oh, not to mention my excitement at getting to wear my Luna Lovegood costume to the premiere, where everyone would think it was totally cool that I had a lion on my head made of construction paper, instead of thinking I was a total weirdo.
At long last, I found myself in a very long line of fans waiting in front of the Vestavia Hills Rave in Birmingham, Ala., with my friends Harry, Hermione and Emma Watson. I mean… Lawson, Donna and Katie. And of course about two hundred other people dressed in various wizarding garb and character costumes. I was home.
After snapping some lovely photos of some of my favorite costumes (see gallery below), I finally got to go into the theatre and upon giving the usher my ticket, received the coolest pair of 3D glasses ever—they were Harry Potter glasses! Needless to say, nobody was recycling those. We took some more photos while we waited for the previews to start, then sat fidgeting through some very cool “Batman: The Dark Knight Rises” and “Captain America: The First Avenger” trailers.
Then, when Lord Voldemort’s (Yes, I said his name.) face appeared, sneering and noseless as ever, we almost weren’t even sure the movie had started. Really, they just threw us right in. But that was perfect, because we didn’t want to wait any longer for the action anyway. I won’t give anything away, but the next two hours and five minutes were an emotional dragon ride; excitement, laughter, fear and heartbreak all rolled into one whirling dervish of a film. People laughed and cheered out loud, and I heard more than a few sniffles—and contributed a few myself. I will say the movie was incredibly accurate to the book, about as much as anyone could hope for anyway, and that all of you who are excitement about Molly Weasley’s big moment will not be disappointed.
And then it was over.
It was like a band of dementors had sucked some of the happiness out of the theatre. No one really wanted to leave. I saw blank stares in the lobby as Potter fanatics who, like me, had spent half their lives waiting for the next book, then waiting for the next movie, realized there was nothing left to wait for. It was like our childhoods were over.
While I drove 45 more minutes to get from the theatre back to my apartment in Tuscaloosa, where I spent the rest of the weekend watching “A Very Potter Musical” and “A Very Potter Sequel” on Youtube and packing to move in between talking about Harry Potter with my friends, I looked up at the full moon (What are the chances? Of course I thought of Professor Lupin.), wondering what would come next. I didn’t even want the radio on, preferring to devote my thoughts to all those years of waiting to see what would happen next at Hogwarts. It was certainly a bittersweet ending to a truly magical journey—but the journey isn’t over! If you don’t know what I mean, just take a gander at http://www.Pottermore.com! You will nerd out, I promise. All those years of some of our favorite books in the entire universe will always be remembered. These are books and films that will no doubt be shared with generations. And that’s what made the end such a happy moment. The knowledge that it’s never truly over, because as a very wise Hogwarts headmaster once said, “Words are our most inexhaustible source of magic, capable of both inflicting injury and remedying it.”
And the words of J.K. Rowling have certainly worked their magic across the entire globe, and will continue to do so for centuries to come.