Sunday, July 10, 2011

There has been a flurry of media coverage related to the forthcoming Harry Potter film, the last in a series tied to J.K. Rowling's amazing books.  Of all that I've seen, I especially enjoyed the piece in the Wall Street Journal this weekend because it reminded me of all the joy the books have brought to my boys and me.

I originally bought a set of the first four books as a gift for my niece.  But turns out that she already had them, so I put them away for a time when my kids would be old enough for them.  My older son discovered my stash when we moved to a new home when he was about four years old.  He recognized them right away and asked me to read them to him, which I did.  We both fell in love with Rowling's creations immediately.

I've probably read the first five books in the series four or five times out loud.  My older son adored them and I have memories of being all kinds of places -- at home, on planes, in restaurants -- as I read to him.  We had already been through these books several times before we saw the first movie on dvd.  We enjoyed the movies -- certainly they couldn't possibly include all the charming and intricate details of the books, especially as the tomes got longer and longer -- but I thought they were a fair representation.  We actually went to see one of the later movies with a child who hadn't read any of the books and I remember feeling sorry for him -- he had missed so much!

For a long time, Harry Potter was something special that my older son and I shared.  We even went to our local Barnes & Noble for one of those midnight parties the night that the last book came out.  It was a magical evening -- we saw dozens of his school friends there, plus teachers and other folks we knew who wanted in on the experience.  We even won a basket full of HP paraphrenalia -- a wand, glasses and such -- in a special giveaway promotion -- such fun!

For many years, my younger son wasn't interested in Harry Potter.  He watched the movies with his brother, of course, but he never really wanted me to read them to him.  And then at some point, he started to read them to himself and got hooked.  So it was him that I took twice to see the 7th movie (the 2nd time we saw the opening sequence in 3D) -- my older son was towards the end of middle school at that point and wasn't so interested.

Like many others, I feel as if an era is ending with the release of the 8th movie.  I'll see it, of course, but perhaps not the first day, as with so many of the others.  I'll miss the magic!

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