Harry Potter...the end of an era?

I took the plunge and went to see the last Harry Potter movie last night. I bought my cinema ticket in a spur of the moment decision on Friday while eating my lunch at work and while I was tempted to see the movie that very day, I decided against it for I felt tired and cranky. Saturday evening seemed like a much better idea + I really wanted to avoid sitting in a cinema surrounded by a bunch of over-excited children. That's just something I'm incredibly selfish about - I don't mind kids, school children or teenagers in the cinema as long as they're quiet. Usually they're not so I avoid them by choosing evening screenings of whichever movie I wish to see.

It all ends here...

I didn't feel strange walking into the cinema last night, in fact I was actually amused because the guy in the row behind me was desperately trying to explain his friend what Harry Potter was all about...I drowned his ramblings out pretty quickly. The movie was thoroughly enjoyable right from the first scene through to the very last one. I have to add that in the run-up to the release date I only allowed myself a handful of spoilers - something I generally do with anything I'm interested in. I'm not a big fan when it comes to spoilers or reviews. I'm the type of gal who likes to make her own mind up about things. Just because you don't like a movie or a book doesn't mean I have to. I'll happily listen to what you have to say afterwards but before? No, thank you!

I have to admit that the chance of a spoiler is pretty slim when it comes to the Harry Potter movies as I've read each of the books more than once so I know exactly what's going to happen but I didn't even want to see any movie stills...I can't even remember if I watched the trailer when it was released. Funny that considering that I'm a huge Harry Potter fan. I can spend hours browsing websites, reading fan fiction and I know that if I pick up one of the books right now chances that I'll put it down range between slim and non-existent. I remember when the fifth book came out, my dad actually had to use brute force to take it away from me when I sat down for lunch with my nose stuck between the pages and the spinach landed on my t-shirt instead of inside my mouth. Kind of controversial considering that my dad reads while eating but that's a whole different story altogether. 

When I left the cinema yesterday evening I naturally tweeted my excitement about having seen the movie and shared my thoughts on the movie with a handful of friends who'd already seen it. I was a smiles but when I pushed my phone back into my jeans pocket and picked up the pace, I felt utterly weird. I was in a little world of my own with sweet music making my walk back to the tram station more enjoyable but I didn't listen to a word of any of the songs my iPod playlist offered me. Instead my mind instantly drifted back to the movie and various scenes flashed through my mind in no particular order whatsoever. I tried to pick out my favourite one but that seemed impossible...I'll have to see the movie again to do that.

By the time I got to the train station my mind had moved on to a silent debate of the fact that the inevitable had finally caught up with me...no more Harry Potter. I didn't feel particularly sad about it but it felt odd. No more Harry Potter movie. No more excitement leading up to the release of a new movie. No more Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter on my screen. No more Tom Felton as Draco Malfoy. No more Snape. McGonagall. Gryfindor. Slytherin. Dumbledore. Hagrid. To name but only a few. When you get used to something it's difficult to let go...when it's a special treat it's even harder to do so. I know I'll never really let go for I have the books and I have the DVDs and my friends but next July just won't be the same again.

I vividly remember my first impression of Harry Potter...it was a silent "what kind of cr*p is that?" followed by the most convincing happy smile I could muster once I'd finished unwrapping the birthday gift my sister had presented me with. I thanked her and I hugged her, pretending to be eternally grateful for the thoughtful gift. When she left that afternoon, I dumped the book into a corner and forgot about it but silently wondered how on earth my sister decided that I could possibly be interested reading about a geeky boy wizard with idiotic step-parents and no friends. In my opinion my sister didn't know me at all...nevertheless when I received a letter from my sister some two weeks later inquiring about the book I replied with a white lie, telling her I'd enjoyed it every much and she'd done well. I just didn't feel that I could tell her how utterly disappointed I was with the gift.

German kids' book cover [Harry Potter & The Philosopher's Stone]

We soon dropped the subject and I went back to reading my favourite books by Enid Blyton, Astrid Lindgren and Stefan Wolf. Then one rainy Saturday afternoon the impossible happened...I ran out of books to read. Bar a lexicon or my school books there was absolutely nothing in my room left to read. I ran to my dad and complained. He laughed and told me to wait for my mum to come back home - surely she'd take me to the library to pick up some fresh reading material. I was outraged, I couldn't possibly wait that long and in my desperation I stomped my feet and told my dad that I needed something to read - now.

He offered me one of his crime novels along with some hot chocolate but none of them enticed me even just remotely so I stalked off into the living room in a huff. In my desperation I began to browse the bookshelves in the living room in hope to find something to read. I found Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet but felt like puking half way down the first page. I continued my search and stumbled across various Polish children's books that my mum used to read to me. I tried to read a few but got frustrated with not knowing the correct pronunciation of all the words so I gave that up to. I had no interest in television and I'm pretty sure we didn't have a computer back then.

My desperation to find something to read had reached it's limit at this stage and I was close to tears. I went back to my dad for some of that chocolate and he suggested that we could watch a Bud Spencer movie or maybe I'd prefer Jackie Chan? I refused it all and deflated I returned to my room to resume sulking. I have to add here that growing up I was (still am) the type of person that when I want to read, there's nothing else that will really excite me. So yeah, I despondently paced up and down in my room, opened the window, closed it again and eventually sat down at my desk to colour a mandala. Halfway through, I caught sight of the book my sister had given to me and as if in trance I reached out for it. I gave a weary sigh and reading the back of the book I tried to refresh my mind what the book was all about. I was convinced that it could only be bad but since there was nothing else to read left in the house I gave it a try.

I still remember how I settled on the bed and opened the book somewhere in the middle to smell it. I've a strange habit - I love the smell of a book. Somehow the better it smells, the better a book it is. Yes, I'm strange. Yes, you may leave a comment to tell me that I'm weird. It is true though. A good book always smells good. The smell of the printed paper, the scent of the fresh, untouched, unread pages...it's a dream come true for a book addict like me. So yeah, I got comfy and started on the first chapter. The next thing I remember is my mum coming into the room to switch on the lamp on my nightstand, chiding me that I'd ruin my eyes if I continued reading in the dark. I apologised without looking up and declined my mum's offer to have a slice of bread for dinner. She rolled her eyes but left a plate of fruit in the room for me to nosh on. At 10pm my dad stood in the doorway telling me it was time to sleep and that I could continue reading tomorrow. I begged and pleaded and rolling his eyes, my dad went off to watch the boxing. At 11.30pm my dad wouldn't accept any further excuses and when he resorted to threatening that he would take the book away, I grudgingly got ready for bed.

The following morning I didn't even bother to climb out of bed to brush my teeth. All I did was switch the lamp on my nightstand on and pick up the book. I finished it that afternoon and was most upset to find out that nothing had been resolved and that this was in fact a series, not a standalone book. To say I was excited to find a reference to two more books at the beginning of the book would be understatement. I tortured (read: continuous begging) my parents into getting me the other two books and succeeded in my quest before the end of the week. My parents just couldn't find a fault with me wanting to read so I got the second and the third book from them and for a few days I was over the moon.

A new Harry Potter fan was born that week and I've never looked back since. I devoured the books, one after the other and after finishing one I started reading it all over again. It was like a drug...I just couldn't let go. Then I found out about the movies and pleaded with my dad to get me the first movie. He did but it took more than a week for me to convince him. Then came the forth book and the second movie and so on and so forth...until the release of the sixth book which I read in English. My quest to get my dad to go the bookshop at midnight was unsuccessful but we got it first thing in the morning and that was my day sorted...thank you J.K. Rowling!

I've met some truly awesome people through Harry Potter and I really hope that I will continue to do so. I hope I will get the chance to spend a rainy day on the couch with one of my friends, watching one movie after the other, with the novel in hand. I hope that if I ever have children they will enjoy the books as much as I did. I'm truly grateful for the movies, I've enjoyed every single one of them and through them I got introduced to some fantastic actors such as Alan Rickman. Thank you, Daniel Radcliffe. I could not have asked for a better Harry Potter. Thank you, Tom Felton. You are the one and only Draco Malfoy for me. Thank you to my sister for being right after all.

It's been one heck of a journey. I've had a blast from day one. I'm not sad (I lie!) - I guess it's time to grow up a little now. Harry Potter shaped my life and I'm grateful for the people, the memories, the books, the movies...in short, just about everything. If you're not a fan yourself, you will hopefully at the very least be able to admit that even you have a similar treasure that means the world to you.