Saturday, July 16, 2011

Looking Back: A Harry Potter Retrospective

Where do I begin?  There are so many things I want to talk to you about!!  Like my big move!  Or my new job!  Or those devils at Netflix raising prices on their plans (you will rue the day…you will rue the day…).  There are so many things that have happened over the months.  But today, I wanna talk about Harry Potter.

I know, I know.  It’s such a cliché.  Such an obligatory post.  EVERYONE is doing Harry Potter posts.  Well, are THEY mentioning the ORIGINAL Harry Potter from the horror movie classic, Troll????  I didn’t think so.

Wait…hold on a second…


Okay, so I’m not actually going to talk about Troll.  I haven’t even seen it…yet.  I plan to.  Oh, I plan to.  But not right away.  I’ve had Fight Club for two months from Netflix and I STILL haven’t seen that one.  No, today I wanna talk about the magic of an era ending.  Today I wanna talk about catching lightning in a bottle.  Today I want to talk about the rarity of such a unifying global phenomenon.

I remember when I got my first Harry Potter.  My dad bought me a copy of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.  I don’t really have any memories before that, but I’m fairly certain he was trying to steal my mom’s thunder.  It happened a lot when I was growing up.  So I read it, or at least part of it, and then for Christmas, I received a whole bunch more of the books.  I received Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, or “Philosopher’s Stone” for those of you not living under the red, white, and blue…

 …unless you’re in England in which case you are.  BUT you’re not under the stars and stripes are you???

…well Australia is, BUT…wait…oh, whatever.  Screw it.

Anyway, I got Sorcerer’s Stone, Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban, and Goblet of Fire all from various relatives to ensure that I had the whole set (at the time).  It was a freakin’ good Christmas.  I read them all voraciously and when the hullabaloo of “Ban it and burn it!” began sweeping the country, well…I was perplexed.

I tried to point out to several people that C.S. Lewis AND J.R.R. Tolkien were both Christians—and Tolkien ESPECIALLY featured wizards in his work.  C’mon.  You know who I mean.
Long beard.  Old and wise.  Played a mentor to the small, naïve main character.  Mmm?  MMM??

[Naw, no similarities here.  Now I get it.  They don’t trust Dumbledore because they don’t want their kids to begin practicing bad lifestyle smoking...]

Anyway, eventually most of the naysayers either read the books and shut up because they realized how wrong they were, or they were pushed to the fringe background, like people who like Sucker Punch and those who claim that Michael Bay is a good director.  Anyway, things were bliss for a time.  Eventually, a pattern formed for how I would handle these things:

By the 7th book, I was so ecstatic for it, and so fearful of spoilers, that I basically unplugged myself from the internet for 3 days before the book came out and vowed to check nary a Facebook post nor an e-mail until I had finished the book.  When I finished the book, however, I realized that the series was over.  There was nothing left to say.  What was I supposed to do now?  And that’s when it hit me that this thing that I’d been around since I was 11 years old was over.  I literally grew up with Harry Potter—both the book and movie form.

So now, here I am again, standing at the precipice of the end of an era.  This really will be the closing of a door.  Once I see this movie, there will be nothing left for Harry to give me.  The journey will be told.  This is significant in a way that’s almost unprecedented in literature.  The Potter books became so popular that they delivered them to book stores in ARMORED CARS.  That’s some serious business. 

They were a hit GLOBALLY.  This isn’t like when some little something blows us Americans on our keisters and we freak out and gawk and people in other countries stare at us like the obnoxious little sibling.  This was something that Mom, Dad, 5 year old brother, 22 year old college brother, and 13 year old sister could sit down at the table and talk about legitimately and in mindshatteringly different ways.  They could talk philosophy, they could talk morals, or they could just get caught up in the moment and theorize what they thought would happen next. 

Even people who would normally NEVER speak to each other can find common ground through the Potter books.  It created a form of bonding that’s never been seen before or since.

So, while those few people on the fringe that either haven’t been swept up in the craze, somehow missed the frenzy, or are somehow critical of the books scoff at us and jeer at the media storm that has been dominating airwaves these past few weeks, we can stand back for a minute, as a united global community, and mourn the passing of one of the most influential eras in our history.  There will probably never be another Harry Potter.  We’ve witnessed something monumental.  What I hope that stays, besides the feeling that reading these stories gives, is the bonding, the feeling of kinship, that feeling of togetherness.  Harry Potter wasn’t just a series of books.  He brought people together and created friendships from seemingly nowhere, like magic.  What more could you want?


  1. Your cartoons in this one are absolutely awesome! They capture so well what every fan was feeling at that time! :-)


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