My Harry Potter story begins in 2003. I was a new reading teacher and the world of young adult literature was all a-buzz with words of Harry Potter. So as a good reading teacher I thought I should read the Harry Potter books. I picked up the first book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, but after 6 months and only 150 pages read, I discarded it for Madeleine Albright's Madam Secretary: A Memoir.
The years passed and I saw the hype mount over and over again as new books and movies were released. I listened patiently as my friends participated in conversations I thought were being conducted in a foreign language: animagi, auror, death eaters, dementors, hippogriffs, muggles, OWLs, parselmouth, portkeys, quidditch, squibs, unforgivable curses, veelas. (For a complete Harry Potter glossary, click HERE). Seriously, I didn't get it.
A couple months ago I was at a get-together when my friends again began speaking this unknown language. I rolled my eyes and tuned out. Then I heard words that hit close to home: "I tried to read the first book, but I didn't like it."
"Me too," I replied, excited that I had something to contribute.
She then continued, "So I started with the third book, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I figured I had seen the first two movies so I'd be okay to start with the third book and now I love the books!!"
Great, I thought - another convert. She, and several of my other friends, adamantly told me I'd like the third book. "It's when it really starts getting good," they kept saying. I was extremely skeptical. How good can a series be if you have to read (or skip) the first 650 pages for it to "start getting good."
However, I had an entire summer in front of me so I decided I'd take up their challenge. I had seen the first two movies so I decided to start with the third book. I got through it. I didn't quite see what all the hubbub was about, but at least I had learned more about this secret language.
It took me awhile to pick up the fourth book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, but about 10 days after finishing the third book, I started the fourth. This book I quickly got through and really enjoyed. It was no longer a chore or a quest to read, but something I wanted to do.
Again, upon finishing it, it took me a few days to start the fifth book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. By then the fifth movie was out and although a few weeks previously I had no intention of seeing it, I really wanted to finish the book so I could rush off to the movie theatre and see how the book had been adapted to film. Because I was out of town for about a month, it took me a long time to finish the fifth book, but I did. I liked it and I liked the movie. I thought the portrayals of Professor Umbridge and Luna Lovegood were fantastic!!
Again, for some reason, it was difficult to start the sixth book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. (I don't know what it is about starting them). Although it was difficult to start, it was not difficult to finish. I finished it and immediately picked up the final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. In a short 72 hours I had finished the final two books. Upon finishing the books I now see what all the fuss was about. I loved them and felt a little mourning knowing that the saga was over and that I would no longer read anything new about these characters I'd grown to love (and some despise).
I loved that "The Boy Who Lived" lived, that Snape was a hero (I always held out hope for him), that Dumbledore wasn't perfect, that Neville came into his own, and although it was heart-breaking to read that one of my favorite characters, Lupin, died, it was heart-warming to read that the loyal professors and many students defended Hogwarts and stood up to all that was evil.
Therefore, I apologize for all the snide Harry Potter remarks I've made throughout the years and declare myself a convert.