Alyssa Rosenberg, Beloit's College Mindset List, childhood, Diagon Alley, Harry Potter, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Harvard, Hogwarts, Horcrux, Polyjuice Potion, Quidditch, The Atlantic, the Boy Who Lived, theater, Washingtonian
What shall life be like in July after “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” has been released? I dare not think about it.
I, like many of the millions who grew up with the series (I venture millions rather than just hundreds of thousands), along with later fans, excitedly invaded the theaters last night for the midnight premiere of Part 1 of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.”
For me, it was my first midnight premiere. The other six movies I’ve seen either in theaters after opening night or on DVD, but for the beginning of the end, I could hardly think of not being there as soon as possible. Because this was not simply the beginning of the end of a franchise, it was the beginning of the end of an era.
This is the era of a magical world in which so many of us vicariously lived. Our generation is one that talks of Diagon Alley, Hogwarts, Polyjuice Potion and Horcruxes as if they were as ordinary as Main Street, Harvard, OJ and cell phones (just think how many of us would go crazy/”die” without our phones).
As I wrote back in September, Harry Potter is “the unanimously-known, famous boy wizard that took not only the wizarding world by the storm, but also the literary and cinematic worlds, and forever changed our generation. Beloit’s College Mindset List 2012 said it perfectly, “Harry Potter could be a classmate, playing on their Quidditch team;” that is, the class of 2012 essentially grew up with him.
And that we did. Harry in the books was a couple of years older than us and he grew up a little bit slower on screen, but essentially we saw ourselves in him. Sure, most of us didn’t have his magical skills nor his dangerous yet fantastical adventures, but he reflected our dealings with teachers, teen angst, young love, and so many other strongholds of adolescence.”
This latest movie definitely had a lot of teen angst and young love incorporated into it. Let’s just say the sexual references are everywhere for those with keen ears. That said, when it wasn’t horribly awkward or uncomfortable, it did provide some comedic relief. I expect the concluding movie to be much darker. At least I hope.
It’s now been just over 12 hours since I finished watching Part 1 and I’m starting to feel some sort of postpartum depression, so to speak. I don’t think it was quite like this after I finished reading the last book, perhaps because I knew there would be the movies. But now, I’m scared of what it will be like after Part 2 has come out. And perhaps that fear is about more than just Harry Potter. When July comes around, I’ll finally be officially recognized as legal to do just about everything except rent a car from the big companies, and I’ll probably be in New York (hopefully!), or some other city, being an adult. And perhaps that’s part of my fear.
This is all truly nearing the end. Like Alyssa Rosenberg at the Washingtonian, writing here for The Atlantic (my favorite magazine), I too will find it hard to say goodbye. One commenter wrote: “I suppose I’ll pass along Harry Potter just as my dad passed along “the Hobbit.” You can’t help but be jealous of someone reading either of these series for the first time.” Those words rang so true.
I truly believe that Harry Potter has made an important difference in many childhoods and lives in general and it will have an enduring impact. And so the Boy Who Lived will continue to live on as we pass what is perhaps the most influential series of our generation onto our progeny.