Eleven years ago, when I was five years old, I read Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone for the first time. I think it would be an accurate assessment to say I was enamored. Harry Potter was, if I remember correctly, one of the first "big" books I read- I was a reader, certainly, but this book made me feel like a grownup. Not only did it make me feel like a grownup, but it was the best damn book I had ever read. Like every other kid that read the book at that time, I was completely taken with the series. I remember buying a lot of books that talked extensively about pixies and werewolves and all these other strange mythical creatures that I had read about. Remembering it, it was kind of creepy and Wiccan-feeling, but I enjoyed it. I also had the pleasure of owning this. I shake my fist at the sky that I lost it, because that thing RULED. A few years down the road, I recall writing what I now realize was fan fiction- it involved Harry & Co. riding on some kind of magical gondola on their way to some kind of field trip. It didn't go very far.
Harry was quickly taking over my young life. If you haven't guessed, that picture is me, approximately aged 7, dressed as him for one Halloween (and many more Halloweens after that). That year, my 7th birthday present from one of my good friends then was a coupon entitling me to the VHS of Sorcerer's Stone when it came out. A very memorable present. A few years later, at the age of 9, I went to my first midnight book release for Order of the Phoenix. They were just the best things ever- spying the giant crates of books tucked away when you walked in the store, counting down the minutes until it could be yours. I relished them.
I fell out of Harry Potter around the year I started middle school. I can't fathom why- probably something about stupid peer pressure and stupid not wanting to look like a child or something my stupid young mind thought up. It's a giant regret. I hate thinking of the time when it wasn't in my life, by my own choice, but I do love finding little things from a long time ago that cement the fact that I was a 7 year old fangirl. I wish so much that I hadn't given it up then, but then I reread the series last year and the obsession spiraled back again (which I'm certainly happy for).
So now I'm writing this- I'm not really sure what on God's green Earth I have just written, but I just need to say stuff. The most important thing being:
Harry Potter is not ending.
Your childhood is not ending.
Nothing is ending.
I'm consistently astonished at what this series has accomplished, at how wildly devoted their fans are, but most of all, at this woman who has changed & saved so many lives with what she's written and the world she's created. Things like this don't just fizzle away when the final film is released. Nobody's going to be forgetting about Harry Potter. The series is a completely indelible mark- on literature, on film, on the whole damn world.
The quote we've been favoring for this coming occasion is spoken by Harry regarding Dumbledore. "He will only be gone when none are loyal to him." And I don't think anyone's going to get any less loyal.