I am quite willing and proud to confess that I am extraordinarily massive (literally and figuratively) Harry Potter nerd. I can’t think of any other subject that I get quite as animated about – and this is from a self-proclaimed cynic and a member of the upper echelons of the Council of Whinge. I can happily quote chunks of the book at will, recite all the incantations and correct mispronunciations like a good little nerd should. I tend to not even get wound up by the ‘haterz’ as I genuinely feel sorry that they have not had the same charming relationship with these books in the same way I have. It’s a pity.
The release of the books have studded my childhood, got me through teenage melodrama and served and punctuated university revision with pockets of joy and familiarity when it was most needed. I confess that it does BORE me when idiot literature nerds get stuffy about adults reading the books, conveniently forgetting that they were published over a decade. I first picked up The Philosopher’s Stone in my school library when I was 11 and Deathly Hallows, the last in the series, was published in 2007, when I was 20. An adult. Who gives a shit if you’ve got grey hair and you fancy a bit of fantasy escapism? The themes and subject matter that the whole series deals with are not any less relevant to a 50 year old than they are to a 10 year old.
But I digress.
The only thing that cushioned the blow of the release of the final book (apart from locking myself in my house, with 4 tubs of Phish Food and taking the phone off the hook) was the small matter of there still being films to come. There was comfort to be had in Radcliffe and co. eking out the magic for just that bit longer. The films are by no means perfect, but I never try to cast too critical an eye over them (although I DO cast an expert eye over Grint – I would do terrible/beautiful things to him) because they do a wonderful thing – they bring alive the magic of the books. Of course they’ll never quite match the images you conjure up in your imagination and it can be a pain when eagerly awaited subplots and scenes are cut/added, but I’ll overlook dodgy acting and sometimes-odd pacing to hear my favourite lines being delivered or get a glimpse inside a castle I’ve spent over a decade revisiting.
I’ve been to Hogwarts when loved ones have died and I didn’t fancy facing the real world. I’ve been there when relationships have ended and needed reminding of my existing friendships. I’ve paid a visit when I’ve just bloody well felt like it and I’m certainly planning on taking my kids.
Tonight, a massive chapter in my life will draw to a close and I feel no shame in admitting that I think I might spend the weekend mourning it.