Viewpoint: Harry Potter and the column of greatness


Check the mail. Search for a wand. Check the mail again. Where is that letter?

Many of you probably asked yourself that same question after your 12th birthday when your Hogwarts letter never arrived in the mail.

[media-credit name=”Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures” align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]
Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter.
I have loved Harry from the start when my third grade teacher read the first chapter of “The Sorcerer’s Stone” to us on library day. I read the first three books within a couple months after that.

I went to the first movie, “The Sorcerer’s Stone,” and sat in the front row of the tiny Soda Springs, Idaho, theater among most of my extended family Thanksgiving weekend. And even though Voldemort’s head attached to the back of Professor Quirrell’s head scared the heck out of me, and my grandma had nightmares about it for weeks, I still went two more times to the movie while it was still in theaters.

My friends and I all put up pictures of Oliver Wood, the Quidditch captain, in our lockers for the next two years. We thought we were in love.

My devastation at his absence in the next movies did not deter me from watching “The Prisoner of Azkaban” trailer every day in computer class with my friend because we could not contain our excitement.

In high school, it appealed to so many groups. The jocks, the nerds, the emos, the drama kids, the skaters — at least a couple of people in those cliques enjoyed the series, so it united people, despite status or group differences.

Rowling did a fantastic job of tying everything together and keeping readers puzzling the plot. The twists in each book kept us interested and wanting to know what would happen next. Not only are the books my favorite series, but the movies have been fun too. Fans just have to view them as a completely separate beast.

I mean what other story could have kept us guessing about a character like Snape’s true ties for so long? Is he good or is he bad? Should Dumbledore really trust him? He was talented at tricking us and keeping us guessing.

Harry Potter has provided a sort of water cooler sensation. It’s a culture. When everyone’s watching and reading the same thing, we all have something to talk about. We asked questions like when are Ron and Hermione ever going to get together?

It also gave us a chance to come up with theories like what if Professor McGonagall was in love with Dumbledore?

We all went through the experiences of Ron, Harry and Hermione at the same age levels as they did. When Ron and Harry’s voices were changing in “The Chamber of Secrets,” we were all going through the awkward junior high pubescent stage as well.

The characters are also relevant to us. Every one of us has felt like a goofy Ron with a friend like Harry who everyone loves and is great at everything. We’ve also felt the sting Hermione felt when Ron went off with Lavender in “The Half Blood Prince.”

The movies might not be as fantastic as the books, and yes, crazed fans have gone in full costume garb to other cult movies, but for some reason, dressing up as Hermione for the Harry Potter premiere does not feel as nerdy as dressing up as a Jedi for a “Star Wars” premiere. So many different groups of people have loved the series that it doesn’t seem as strange.

Now that it’s the final movie, we are all at a moving on stage in our lives. We don’t know what’s next, but neither do the characters. This last movie ties up the end of a beloved series we have gone through our childhood experiencing as our own culture.

So I could end with a cheesy pun like, “Thanks J.K. Rowling for keeping the magic alive or Harry Potter sure put a spell on me,” but I won’t because Harry Potter has brought too many good memories for me to do that. I have appreciated all the fun the Potter Phenomenon has given me, and I was in line for the 12:01 movie last night dressed as Fluffy the three-headed dog to view the conclusion to some of my favorite characters of all-time.

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