A week or so ago, I read this post about one writer's Harry Potter summer. It got me thinking about my own Harry Potter experiences. But then everyone else started writing and blogging about Harry Potter, and I didn't feel like my ideas were special anymore.
But doggone-it! I love Harry Potter! Not necessarily the movies (although they are entertaining), but the books. And what I love isn't so much that the books are the best things I have ever read (but they are pretty darn close), or that the fight between good or evil is superbly played (which it is), or that there is real, palpable emotion in those pages (who didn't cry when Dobby died? or through the 'Mirror of Erised' chapter?); it's what happened to the nation and to the world when Harry Potter was born.
You see, I remember Harry Potter as the first big book craze. It was like we were all asleep to reading and literature and Harry Potter shook us awake. It seemed that for the first time, people were excited to read. Kids started reading, adults starting reading, the whole world started reading. There was a feel of unity, a sense of solidarity, as we all read and breathed for the Boy Who Lived.
Once, just a day or two after Book 6 came out, I was flying back from New Orleans. I was frantic to get home to my new Harry Potter book, but I had to settle for Wuthering Heights for the duration of the flight. No one else decided to suffer as I had. Every row of that airplane was dotted with at least one Harry Potter book, whether it was The Half-Blood Prince or one from before. The flight was silent except for the constant turning of pages. They were all reading together--laughing, crying, cheering, gasping, delighting together. It was amazing.
The effect of Harry Potter has been far-reaching and far-felt. Millions have read or seen of his adventures and his triumphs, and we have all changed as a result. Because of Harry Potter, we have learned lessons about love and family and friendship. We have spent hours with books in our hands, we have explored mythical worlds, we have pretended and imagined, and magic has been worked in all of us. And even though the books have all been published and the movies have all premiered, I don't think the effect will ever actually be lost. For, how could we ever forget the boy who taught us to live?
What effect has Harry had on you?
And don't tell me you haven't always secretly wished to be a wizard.