Harry Potter was a majorly influential chunk of my childhood
We must have been about 9 and 10 (and 10) on a visit to Charly's parents in Eugene. Read: 6 hour drive to hang out in the chilly mold spore infested basement with The Jetsons and a dollhouse with no dolls. Ok it wasn't really that bad but the cold basement will always be a vivid memory. Grandma and Grandpa Van gave us each a book in a series that was getting popular fast. Since there were 3 books and 3 kids, we each got the one that matched our birth order, meaning I was thrown right into the action of Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets.
I was in the middle of a world I had never imagined. It helped me conquer ridiculous fears. I was afraid of everything as a little girl and I felt brave if I was able to read about giant serpents who turned people to stone and werewolves with no self control. (How cool is that comic??)
I have heard some people say that they don't like how "dark" the story gets as it progresses. When watching the first half of the 7th movie I realized that I'd honestly forgotten that Harry even lived in the cupboard under the stairs. Although the plot thickens, becomes complicated, and in the end seems nothing like the simple book that it all began with, isn't that like life? As we read along with Harry and Co. growing up his challenges must get deeper and complex. And just how boring would 7 years of same old school get?
Perhaps it is because I grew up with Harry and had to wait for each book release that the story became age appropriate with me. My 10 year old sister read the whole series within a month and I think although she may have enjoyed them and the thrill of such an accomplishment she missed so much material that will make more sense in 10 years.
We didn't just read the books though, we lived them. Kristin and I made spell books and school uniforms (although they were nothing as cute as that apron), wrote editions of The Daily Prophet, and even made our own concoctions of butterbeer.
Summer of 2007 I was working at Border's when The Deathly Hallows was released and the party was a lovely moment of my summer. We all dressed up as Hogwarts students and other characters. I fancied myself a Luna Lovegood dopleganger, radish earrings and all! Wouldn't you know it that the pictures from that night also died in the computer crash of 2010? Hopefully I can dig up all of these nerdalicious goodies that have disappeared.
I truly believe that a tiny idea sparked in JK Rowling's head has changed a generation. And it won't stop with us. Her writing is exquisite and captivating, a true piece of literature that will be classic and relevant years to come. As this little poster says, Harry Potter is a gateway drug to hard literature. It teaches those who find no enjoyment in reading that it can be an adventure and a lifelong journey that will become a necessary addiction.