Friday, November 19, 2010

how harry potter revealed my inner geek.

My collection

I don’t remember exactly when I first picked up a Harry Potter book – the first of the series came out when I was just beginning middle school, and I’m sure I wasn’t getting into it that early. I do know that by high school, I had at least some interest, and that the release of the first movie that year launched me into my first-ever fandom.

Never in my life had I nerded out over anything. After splitting my personality between ‘cool kid’ and ‘G&T student’ in middle school, the former part of me drifted away as I embraced my social awkwardness, shyness, and tendency to obsess over things. As a freshman in high school, I befriended a group of people who were extremely intelligent and half of whom were very interested in literature, which only served as encouragement to become enthralled with a book series.

It was with these girls that I began to love Harry Potter. I remember driving to the movies nearly right after school in senior year – stopping at home only to change into regular clothes – to see the release of the third movie. In July of the summer between high school and college, we waited in line at the midnight release of the sixth book. Even once we had all gone our separate ways in college, we met up to see the fifth movie, enthusiastic as ever.

As luck would have it, or maybe circumstance, the friends I made in college also had an affinity for the series. It helped that I was drawn to those people; I found that if they, too, had a certain love for the series, then they were my type of people. It was comforting, in a way.

One of my most cherished memories is going to see the fourth movie at the end of the fall semester in freshman year. The friends I had made and I planned to see the movie the night it came out, and Katie, my roommate at the time, invited a classmate of hers. Spoiler alert: that mystery classmate turned out to be Melissa, we hit it off immediately, and she’s now one of my closest friends. All thanks to Harry Potter. (That’s not dramatic at all. You know what is dramatic, though? This picture.)

This photo will never not amuse me. And I mean, seriously, we knew each other for maybe a half hour at this point.

The excitement I have for the final set of movies is indescribable, but at the same time, I am incredibly sad to see it end. It means no more anticipation, no more waiting outside of a Barnes and Noble at midnight or pre-ordering tickets weeks in advance, filling theaters with gaggles of costumed audience members. It also means that one more piece of my adolescence is being tucked away, only to be rehashed in occasional references by friends and weekend-long movie marathons.

But two things are for sure – one, that I’ll always remember the message of the books, that love is the most powerful thing in the world; and two, whenever I hear the first notes of the movie’s theme song play, I will not be able to stop a smile from crossing my face.