Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A long time coming

I'm sure you're all wondering why I haven't said a word about Harry Potter over the past few weeks, especially considering that the final movie comes out in just a few days. The 7th movie inspired a weeks worth of HP-related posts, which culminated in a long, entertaining wait in line with a host of other college students, many of whom had to wake up early for classes and janitorial jobs the next day. (I, being unemployed at the time, didn't have to worry about that). I had spent months reading everything I could about the upcoming movie and watching every trailer and interview that came out. By the time I was finally sitting in the theater at 12:19 or whatever, I was starting to feel the effects of an intense adrenaline rush, i.e., headache and wired jitteriness.

I'm not feeling any of that now. Sure, I'm excited to see the movie, but I think that is largely because I am seeing it at 3 in the morning with my mom and sisters in a D-Box theater. Talk about crazy awesomeness.

I also exercised better discipline as PR for this movie started coming out, mostly because I wanted to experience the movie without knowing about all the little changes beforehand. (I couldn't entirely screen myself though; Mugglenet.com is my home page on my laptop, and it's hard not to scan the headlines and pictures when they're popping out right in front of you.) However, I'm thinking that this wasn't such a brilliant plan, because reading up on movie tidbits greatly contributes to my angst to see the movie, and seeing the movie with no warning of changes beforehand may have a negative affect on my first viewing of the movie. And with this being the awesome conclusion to it all, I don't want that to happen.

The main reason for the lack of insane, health-questioning excitement I usually feel, though, is that this ending has been a long time coming; the real ride ended 4 years ago. I said good-bye to Harry Potter (sort of) when the 7th book came out, and everything since then, while partially filling the void inside of me and allowing me to live in denial a little bit longer, has been a bit anti-climatical.

I've been to my fair share of midnight releases (both for the books and the movies), but the hours leading up to the release of the final Harry Potter instalment will sit forever in my memory: sitting on the warm blacktop surrounded by fans and Harry Potter paraphernalia, watching fans reenact Dumbledore's death, listening to fans discuss their theories on what the 7th book would entail, reveling in the static electricity in the air that came from thousands of very eager fans, and talking hard with Shannan all night while Kin did all she could to remain conscious (she eventually gave up and went back to my car to sleep while Shannan and I waited for midnight to roll around). That night was special on a lot of levels, and while I think the final movie will induce some of those emotions, it will be nothing like that night.

When midnight finally rolled around and the first lucky fans were able to lay their hands on that precious book, I almost had this feeling that the world had just changed. My world, at least, had changed, and so did the world of many other decade-long Harry Potter fans. People walked out of the store with their noses planted into the books, and rather than going home, many fans plopped down on the ground or leaned up against their cars to start reading. There was an odd hush around these people, as if they were holding something sacred that demanded respect. That didn't stop some of us still waiting in line from asking how many pages it was or even barreling out of line to simply touch the book.

If I were to make a list of the top 10 best moments of my life, holding the 7th Harry Potter book in my hands for the first time would definitely make the list--probably even the top 5. Even if I had falling in love, getting married, and having my first child to add to that list, Harry Potter would still be at the bottom of that list somewhere. Moments like that are supremely bittersweet: the joy that comes from knowing that you are about to embark on a new exciting journey is almost overpowered by the sadness you feel because of what you had to leave behind to get that new adventure. I almost couldn't bring myself to read the book at all that night because the familiar comfort of being inside an active, changing Harry Potter world was just that strong. It had been a huge part of my adolescence, and I ached to think that that part of my life would be ending.

But of course, I couldn't just sit there while the world changed around me. Despite my attempts to take my time, I finished the book in 2 days no sweat, even with the open and close shifts and worked at Domino's. At least I had the comfort of knowing that I could read the entire series over again after I read "All was well" on the last page.

So I don't think that the final movie of the Harry Potter franchise will leave me reeling with major life changes, but I think I'll feel something of those emotions again this weekend as I participate in another closing chapter.

But, alas, it is past time to move on, I think. Maybe in another 30 years or so we'll get another "Jimmer" of the book industry, and I'll be able to experience a ride like this all over again. You never know.

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