Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Accio that box of tissues.

Spoiler Alert: This post contains details from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.

Photo via Pinterest.

So, I know I'm not finished with my Africa posts yet, but I finally saw the final Harry Potter film last night, and I just have to post now while it's still fresh in my mind.

Yes, I am a Harry Potter nerd. Not the kind who had exorbitant amounts of Harry Potter paraphernalia or who actually expected to receive a Hogwarts letter on my 11th birthday (I was always painfully practical, even as a child), but I literally grew up with Harry Potter and all his adventures.

My mom somehow found the book back when it was first released in the U.S. and brought it home for my brother and me from an airport. I remember us reading the back of the book and thinking: "Gee, Mom, a book about a wizard boy. How awesome." Little did we know then what this book would lead to....

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was the first book my mom ever read aloud to my brother. As he got older, we would take turns on who got read the newest book first, racing through it in two or three days so the other person could read it and we could discuss together. As we got even older, my brother realized I was the faster reader, so I always got to read them first. Yay for me!

We also saw all the movies together, even if that meant sacrificing the opening weekend experience. Two years ago, I used my day off from my summer job to see Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince with him in Berkeley. Last year, we both waited until Thanksgiving break (a painful five days) to see the first installment of the Deathly Hallows.

That is, until this year. As you know, I was in Rwanda on July 15, and I was pretty torn up about it.

And my brother said he wouldn't wait me for me ... not this time.

So my roommates and I spent one afternoon watching YouTube videos of Harry Potter parodies, even though they each took about an hour to load. Here's my favorite (and I must credit the title of my post to this song):

My one (major) beef with this video: I'm sure "remember 2001" sounded better than "remember 1997," but that's when we found out he was The Chosen One. (Or actually 1998, here in the U.S.) Gah.

And finally, after all this ridiculousness (embarrassing example: While in Kenya, I was telling my mom about my mixed feelings about seeing the last Harry Potter movie, and I quoted the Half-Blood Prince when Hermione asks Harry how it feels when he sees Ginny with Dean, and he says "It feels like this, Hermione; it feels like this," and I legit started to tear up just thinking about it! My mom thought I was crazy....), I went to see the movie Monday night with my little brother and one of his good friends, Riley.

They had already seen it together at the midnight premiere, but Riley brought along her Harry Potter glasses for me to wear and Michael got some popcorn for us. And then it began. I was so excited tweeting about it that I missed The Dark Knight Rises trailer, which was apparently really exciting. One guy even came in just to see the trailer and then left right away. Hmm...

I held it together pretty well for the first half of the movie. But then Neville led Harry through the secret passageway into the Room of Requirement, and I was overcome with emotion. My brother gave me a weird look, as nothing sad had happened, and I looked at him through my tears and squeaked, "I'm just so happy!" (Cue Michael's "my sister's a freak" face.) It was all downhill from there. The look on Ginny's face when she saw Harry had returned to Hogwarts = tears. Professor McGonagall "protecting" Harry from Snape in the Great Hall = tears. Snape's memories in the Pensieve = lots and lots of tears (definitely the most emotional part of the movie, for me). And then, leaving the theater and realizing it's really the end of Harry Potter = more tears (to the utter embarrassment of Michael and Riley, of course).

I remember racing through the seventh book as usual back in high school but slowing down when I got to the last few pages because I knew it would soon all be over. At least then, I still had the movies to look forward to. Now I have nothing.

But I am so grateful my mom found the Sorceror's Stone before the American media kicked in and children everywhere became obsessed with the story. I was one of those obnoxious children who wanted to conform to the non-conformists, and I know if I hadn't read the first book before the franchise became popular, I never would have developed such an appreciation for it. Example: I refused to read Twilight for years on principle because I was sick of hearing everyone talk about how great it was. (I finally read them all. They're not that great.) So thank you, J.K. Rowling, for being such a large part of my childhood and now my young adulthood. Hogwarts will always be my home!

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