I don’t quite remember reading Harry Potter for the first time. I do remember that I started with the fourth book and then spent all the money I got for my birthday that year on the first three. I pleaded with my dad to buy the fifth book the day it arrived in the stores and spent a sunny weekend at the beach living that enthralling new school year at Hogwarts. I remember being in London when the sixth book was published; queuing in front of the six-storey Waterstone’s at Piccadilly Circus in the middle of the night. I spent the next two days in Hyde Park with hundreds of others reading those pages we’d all been waiting so long for. When the final book was out I was hesitant; each page read brought me ultimately closer to the last page, the last sentence and the end of a great companion. With the movies it was quite similar. My mom would go to the premier with me, watching the preceding movies beforehand; and even though I have carried on that tradition with a friend now, I remember those nights as really special. The ‘thing’ that made the books so unique was the likeability of all the characters, I think. Harry Potter was the hero of the series, true, but every other character was equally enjoyable. The bookwormishness of Hermione, the great funny palishness of Ron, the weirdness of Luna, the greasy hairiness and misunderstandability of Snape, the grandfatherly warmth but also slight annoyance of Dumbledore, every character had his neat features and flaws.
Now, with the final movie out in the open, it is like finishing the last book. I don’t really want to let go just now, but I also want to watch; I want to know how it ends; basically I do want it to end. Here’s for inner conflict.
As a reminder of the times, I had plastered a giant cut-out head of Ron Weasley on the wall of my last flat. He was a hit at most parties and a magnet for hilarious photo shoots. Now the flat is not mine anymore and “Giant-Ron-Head” has moved on as well. The movie is out and when, in a few months, the DVD is out, we’ll have to say our final, definite, irrevocable and last Goodbyes to this wonderful experience we all (well, almost all) shared. Let’s not name our children after all the dead characters of the books, but rather keep them on our book shelves; grabbing them every once in a while and dissolving into Hogwarts, eating Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans and Chocolate Frogs (actually possible) and waiting for a tiny tap on the window glass although knowing that a), it’s far too late and b), it’s simply not possible. Sadly.