Sunday, October 10, 2010

Harry Potter Withdrawals

  • The sudden and brutal ending to what was a delightful romp with Harry and his friends
  • Reaching the end of the Harry Potter series after being solely devoted to them for weeks
  • Watching others bask in the joy of the Harry Potter series
  • Feelings of guilt and betrayal when considering what book to read next
  • A sense of loss and confusion
  • A painful, constricting feeling in your chest
  • A feeling that a beloved friend has left you
  • Reoccurring dreams that involve Voldemort or Draco Malfoy chasing you
  • The inability to stop envisioning particular scenes throughout the series
  • An intense sadness whenever you think of all those who died in the fight against Voldemort
  • A firm belief that Harry and his friends are still living out there in our world—we just can't see them
  • Discuss your feelings with another devoted fan; it is always best to let others know that you are suffering so that they can help you
  • Better yet, convert someone else to the series so that you can live vicariously through them
  • Write about the things you have learned or felt
  • Make up your own Harry Potter-themed game (I have a trivia and a scattergories game to my credit)
  • Play a Harry Potter-themed game that has already been made (my family has Harry Potter Clue and SceneIt, as well as a Quidditch card game that is lying around somewhere)
  • Read the "auxiliary" Harry Potter books: The Tales of Beedle the Bard, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and Quidditch Through the Ages to help you wean yourself away from Harry Potter's world
  • Find a new book to read. Don't worry—Harry won't feel like you betrayed him
  • Be active! Play outside, make something, or go somewhere
  • Time. Even if you have tried all of the above, only time can heal such gaping holes in your life

In case you haven't noticed, I finished the 7th Harry Potter book yesterday. I am a champion survivor of Harry Potter Withdrawals, but that doesn't mean that it isn't hard to let the books go when I finish them, even several read-throughs later. Particularly the 7th one—that is surely the most awesome book in the universe.

I try to pace myself when I read the books. I can't do anything nonstop anyway because I start feeling guilty about all of the other things I am neglecting. So this time 'round, I did most of my Harry Potter reading at night so that I could be free from the burden of guilt, allowing me to fully immerse myself in this wonderful world.

It is really easy to pace yourself when you know exactly where all of the intense parts are. I was able to plan the reading of the intense last pages of each book so that I could read them in the privacy of my own bedroom after everyone else had settled down for the night. This system worked very well until I got to the 7th book.

Usually by the time I get to the 6th book, I am ready to put Harry Potter aside and move on with my life. But, I have to see it to the end and I dive into the 7th book. As of the present time, the 7th book is the only book in the series that still makes my heart race and my foot tap in anticipation. And I failed at the whole pacing myself thing. I read the last 400 pages of the book in one day because I simply could not put it down; there was so much awesome stuff going on. I did take a few breaks—I watched the entire football game, and when I was a page and a half away from Fred dying, I put my bookmark in and went up to finish watching Iron Man 2 with my family. I just wasn't ready to say goodbye to Fred yet.

After I finished the 7th book for the first time, I started the whole series over again because the shock of being Harry Potter-less probably would have killed me at that point. So from that point on, I've always paid close attention to Fred and what makes him different from George. Many people say that they are the same person, but I strongly disagree. Fred is a lot meaner than George—particularly to Ron and other unfortunate younglings—but he also has a loving, compassionate heart. Underneath all of that fire and mischief, Fred was always the leader of the two twins, always the first to follow the right path, even though it was hard. George was always a split second behind Fred, but Fred was always the leader. Because of his undying loyalty to the good things of the world, he didn't think about the things he would have to sacrifice; he knew those things didn't matter. Life got pretty hard for him toward the end, but he was able to laugh with George through it all. And it was Fred who forgave Percy first. Needless to say, I love Fred a whole lot, and it was really hard to say goodbye to him this time.

Anyway . . . I've been thinking about which books are may favorite and have come up with the following order:
  1. Book 7
  2. Book 3
  3. Book 4
  4. Book 5
  5. Book 1
  6. Book 2
  7. Book 6
I'm still debating between whether the 2nd or 6th book should take the last spot, but I think the 6th one wins by a tiny hair. I have read books 6 and 7 five times, book 5 about six times, book 4 seven–eight times, books 2 and 3 eight–ten times, and book 1 about eight times. Reading the books this time wasn't as much of an adventure; it was more like being reunited with old friends. Except for the 7th book—that book had my heart racing almost as much as it did the first time.

Sigh. It is just so hard to move on with life after you finish something so good. I'm a little worried about how I'll handle the next week without Harry Potter, actually. Harry Potter has been my escape from my meaningless life for almost a month and it kept me from disappearing under a cloud of depression a couple of times. Now I'm going to have to adjust without it.

But God managed to teach me a couple of things along the way, so I think I'll be fine. :) And, as always, I can't help but marvel at the incredible world God has given us in addition to J.K. Rowling's fantasy world. I may wish that I could journey off to Hogwarts with my very own magic wand and trunkful of spellbooks, but I would take my life with the gospel over that fantasy life any day. It's always comforting to know that even though you're leaving a spectacular fantasy life behind, your real life—confusing and hard as it may be—is always worth returning to because it is . . . better.

So now that you all know just how big of a freak I am, I think I am going to be brave and try to go to bed without my Harry Potter bedtime story. Wish me luck.


  1. This is a little funny because I miss Harry Potter too. So I've been doing a movie marathon as I work on things around the house (watching one HP movie/day) since I can be somewhat productive that way and I'm convinced that I know enough about the magical world that I should be in it. And lack of magical abilities (plus) knowledge of magical world (equals) perfect candidate for Muggle Studies teacher at Hogwarts. I'll let you come visit me once I get there.

  2. Awesome. I want to sleep at Hogwarts though, not in Hogsmeade. And I can be your substitute teacher when you want to visit your husband or something, because as far as I know, none of the Hogwarts teachers are married . . .