I think I need to join a Harry Potter support group. It would do me some good to be around people who fully understand the grief I feel every time I finish the series, to talk me out of the crushing guilt that descends upon me when I crack open another book when Harry Potter is still reeling in my mind.
It's comforting, in a way, to know that after 6–10 re-reads, the Harry Potter series still has the power to stimulate such powerful emotions in me. The Quidditch Final in Prisoner of Azkaban still sends me soaring to Cloud 9, Sirius's death in Order of the Phoenix still breaks my heart, and Deathly Hallows still leaves a gaping hole in my soul when I finish reading it.
It always boggles my mind when I hear of people who gave up in the middle of the series because they were bored, or who haven't gotten around to reading the books yet. Don't they know that every sacrifice—whether it be sleep, money, time spent with family and friends, or PTO time—is worth it to feed your soul with this world that J.K. Rowling so exquisitely describes?
But I've come to the understanding that Harry Potter is my perfect series. That's not to say it doesn't affect thousands of devoted fans the way it affects me, but rather that its perfect blend of humor, lovable characters, and wonder is the exact right formula to touch me the way it does, to continue to entertain me after reading the books more than any sane person should. Harry Potter isn't this wonderful elixir to everyone, but it is for me, and for a lot of other people as well.
So I've checked off phase one of my Harry Potter Withdrawals recovery process: write about my feelings. Now it's time for the most painful step: pack the books away and read something else. I think I'll go easy on myself and start with The Tales of Beedle the Bard.