Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The End of an Era

I, like so many others, find myself a little verklempt with the close of the Harry Potter movies.  The end of the movies didn't make me cry nearly as hard as the ending of the books, but sitting in that quiet theater yesterday I certainly wiped away a few tears.

The first book was published in 1998 when I was all of fourteen.  I'll be twenty-eight in a couple weeks, which means I've lived half my life with Harry Potter.  I remember not wanting to read the series at first, because everyone was SO into them and I was at an age when I didn't want to do what everyone else was doing (I fancied myself a rebel then - eye roll to that silly teenage girl).

Then a good friend, as well as a librarian who provided a safe sanctuary for me in my teen years, forced me to begin the series. And I fell in love with the story, the concept, the characters, the idea of a school for wizards.  Much has been said about the darkness of the books, but to me they are about so much more: loss, love, friendship, family - the motivations that keep us moving though we would really like to give up.  I cannot wait to read this series to my children so that through the magic of words they can learn that love has the ability to bring you through even the darkest of times.

The final book was published my first year at the bookstore.  The store hosted a midnight party which was crazy, but so much fun too.  I remember the boxes of books piled in the back waiting to be opened, the sheer mind numbing insanity of standing at a register ringing up the same book over and over for those who hadn't pre-paid.  I read it quickly, so quickly I couldn't recall much when I went back to read it for a second time.  And on that second read I found chocolate smeared across some of the pages, which made the book seem more mine somehow.

I went to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 and 2 by myself.  Part 1 came at a rough time in my life: I was sad, we were trying to conceive again, it was winter.  Part 2 finds me in a completely different place.  I had Bennett with me this time, so even though I was alone I was not entirely so.  He kicked and rolled and made it difficult for me to make it all the way through without having to leave for a bathroom break.

Near the end of the novel (and this is in the movie too) just before Dumbledore leaves Harry he says, "Do not pity the dead, Harry.  Pity the living, and above all, those who live without love."  That is the ultimate line for me in this series because I have lived and experienced it.

It was months before I could move beyond worrying about and missing my daughter to focusing on me and my needs.  She is fine, she is not here in any tangible sense and therefore does not need me or my worry.  I, on the other hand, as well as my husband, my family and friends need me, even this changed me, the after May 14th, 2010 me.  I must be present and live even though I would like to stop time on the day Charlotte died and be with her forever.  I am sad because Charlotte will never grow up, but while she was here with us she knew only love and knowing that provides peace and comfort.

I want to tell the me who went to the first part of the final movie back in December that the pain will ease, that soon there will be someone to look forward to, that there is much love in our lives which is quietly and slowly healing the broken mess Charlotte left behind.

And if I could go back to my fourteen year old self I would tell her that life will be much harder in the future, (so, really, enough with the angsty library loitering) that though it is painful high school truly is a mere moment in time, that before she knows it fourteen years will have passed and she'll be reflecting on a series of books which she picked up with great reluctance and came to love.  And in fourteen short years, I would tell her, you will look back and see that - so far - you have lived a life most unexpected, tinged with sorrow, but overall blessed and beautiful.


  1. Beautiful post and so true!!!

  2. I love this post! I love all of the Harry Potter series. I didn't start reading them until after The Goblet of Fire came out and I was hooked from the moment I started reading them.

    However, I wad re-reading the series and ironically was working on the Goblet of Fire when I had Bailey. And I haven't picked it back up since. In fact the bookmark is in the exact same spot it was 1 year and 2 1/2 months ago. I couldn't bring myself to get up and go watch the 1st part of the Deathly Hallows when it was in theaters, but I fully intend on going to watch part 2 this weekend, and I look forward to it.

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  4. I've never read any of the books or seen any of the films, but I feel a connection because large parts of the final two films were shot on location in my local forrest where I walk my dog! I kept away from the filming but saw a lot of the equipment and stuff around. Maybe I'll watch/read them all some day. (Although I've got the books and films of 'Lord of the Rings' waiting, so it'll be a while before I need anything else!)

    I'm glad you enjoyed them, and found some helpful meanings. I love it when that happens.

  5. @ Jackie: Oh my goodness, if I were you I would have been hiding in the trees trying to get a glimpse of Ron, Hermione and Harry!

  6. I bawled and bawled for so many reasons. I didn't get into the series until book 5, but then I was in it to win it. Dumbledore's words stuck out to me watching the movie as well. It felt good to laugh at the end when they were all old and to leave on a positive note.

  7. LOL there was a lot of security around, I don't think getting close was an option! There were quite a lot of weird sounds and lights coming from the woods after dark though, I couldn't see it from my house but my friend could from hers. Since I was only ever there with my dog it was easier to keep away.... can you imagine the embarassment if she'd run into shot and stolen some prop or other? She does like to retrieve things... Besides which although I find fiming interesting, I'm not really bothered about film stars and famous people. (unless they're particularly good looking of course - yes, I am that shallow!!)

  8. I cried my eyes out at the end of Deathly Hallows Part One when it came out last November. Because when Harry is holding Dobby...he looks like a baby. And that just about did me in.

    I waited a long time to read the books too. They were all out when my husband and I purchased the entire collection. I enjoyed them immensely. I read them all again when I was on bed rest with Aidan. So I will now always associate the books with him. I like that.


thank you!


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